Homemade Deodorant Trial

There is a ton of information on the web regarding trying homemade deodorant. Here is my experience with it.

Why try homemade deodorant?

Because I’ve struggled for years to find the “right” deodorant. Because I’ve tried “natural” ones and they never made the cut. Because I don’t like the idea of slathering chemicals on my skin constantly. Because I am a product slut. Recovering, that is.

Armpit Profile

Commonly used: Dove, Secret, Arm & Hammer, Sure. Tried Tom’s; gave me itchy rash. Tried it again; same thing.

Sweaty, but not overly sweaty.

Concerned with odor, but it hasn’t cramped my lifestyle.

Shave? Occasionally. Winters, rarely. My pits are sensitive and I’m not a priss about having clean-shaven pits.

Homemade Deodorant Recipe Used

This is the recipe I started with. It is a common-found recipe on the internet. Search long and hard and you’ll find all kinds of variations and recommendations.

5 Tbsp. coconut oil
1/4 c. cornstarch (alternative – arrowroot powder)
1/4 c. baking soda
Optional: Essential oils. I couldn’t quite tell you the percentages because it was not precise.

The CCO (coconut oil) has a low melting point, so if you make this in summer, you might not have to even put it in the microwave. I made it after the temperature in my house was above the melting point, so I needed to put in in the microwave, briefly.

Homemade Deodorant

I stored mine in a small lotion container after frantically searching for something, anything to keep it in.

Homemade Deodorant


Read more

Strings Concert

Tonight the twins had a strings concert. It isn’t the first strings concert I’ve been to, but it is the first one they have performed at as old middle schoolers. I didn’t really have to push them to sign up for strings in middle school, it was rather a natural transition. They haven’t practiced at home, but they have not complained and asked to drop the course. I guess it is a happy medium.

See, I don’t command that the kids play, practice and hone an instrument, but I do prefer them to try it for a few years through school. OK, I forced them all to play strings in 4th-5th, and be in a music course in middle school.  All of the kids have played in strings for at least two years. So far, none have continued on much longer than that. Generally after strings, they are given a choral or band choice to try (middle school). After that, I don’t push it anymore. So, they were exposed for a period of time. If they come back to it, great. If they don’t… not so great. But I’m not going to ground them over it right now.

The twins are my only instrument players at this time, although Lootie is asking for an Ocarina for Christmas (HUGE Zelda fan, gets obsessed with and runs on obsessions every few years [learning Chinese, ghost-hunting…]) I was quite happy to go watch the twins play. Part of it was just feeding off their own enthusiasm. Sal has been talking about it since strings started, counting down the days in a rather casual but persistent manner. Franny was just excited to be up there playing in front of an audience.

As the day grew close, the boys started to plan their mode of attack, since their schedule was pretty tight. First indoor soccer game was the same day, directly preceding the concert. Both events were of major importance to the boys. The game, because they finally got to play on a team together; the concert because it is a performance for goodness sake. The plan was to pack their clothes, play their game (hopefully not get sweaty and stinky, even thought hey knew they would), jet cross town to school, and be ready to play at 7pm.

Story of our lives.

The request from the strings teacher was black pants, white shirt. Easy enough. Franny had a pair of black dress pants, Sal… well, I picked him up a pair of pants at Savers a few days ago and mom hemmed them up on short request. I left it to their responsibility to put their outfits together, make sure they had everything, and pile in the car for the game.

Here is what we ended up with:

Sal (black pants, plaid shirt)

Franny (all black)

Whaddaya do? I was hoping there would be more screwball kids in the mix, but no. All white shirts, black bottoms. Except for one girl who wore tennis-shoe, knee-high laced boots that were black and white, and the rest of her clothing was gray. I could have been upset, but I wasn’t. We were there. They were playing. Having fun. Life goes on.

Sal, I noticed, didn’t look at the sheet music once and played all by memory (that’s how I was/am). I didn’t ask him, but I do wonder if he reads the sheet music or plays by ear. I could read, in a pinch, but playing by ear was my mode of learning. Franny, for sure, reads the music. He smiled and chatted with friends– at appropriate times — and did a little head-banging when they played, “We Will Rock You” at the end. They both got to bring their instruments home, something I did not expect. I requested a concert and a few tips. They played songs in their boxes. What a pleasant night.

I tend to get stressed out over things like this– what time will we get there, what about their messy hair, are they wearing the right clothes, will they play OK, can they leave early like the rest of the 6th graders, ohmysweedgoodness Sal is wearing plaid, should I be forcing them into lessons… on and on I can worry about all sorts of things. Last night I tried to just live in the moment, enjoy my quirky little freaks, and not obsess/worry about anything else; just enjoy.

It worked, for the most part.

Bread Machine Bread

For you visual folk, I’ll throw out a couple pictures. But I’ll have you know, I took them with my phone. On purpose. Because I can. And because, frankly, I’m a somewhat die-hard, old-school blogger who likes her blogs a little rough around the edges. I’ve tired of the magazine-like blogs with nearly professional photos with templates that cost as much as my monthly mortgage, and narcissism so thick I have to wipe my screen off when I’m done. I’ma keep it real with my ghetto-photos today.

Every now and then I dust off the old bread machine and revisit the art of making bread in a machine. Most recently I was prompted by the need to whip up some pizza crusts, fast. Being short on time, and NOT wanting a frantic situation to turn into a $30-dollar take-out evening, I ran down to get my machine, thinking I could throw the ingredients in, run to do my kid pick up, and come home to quick make some pizzas. Even though it didn’t work out perfectly, it did turn back on the lightbulb regarding the machine, and its usefulness in the kitchen.

I can’t claim to have mastered bread making, to have a “favorite” recipe, or to say that I’ve made a switchover from store-bought to homemade. But I can say that I dabble in it, experimenting, contemplating. I’ve made bread in the machine enough to know I’m not wild about bread machine bread. Granted, my machine is over a decade old. There may be a whole new generation of machines that bake up a more pleasing loaf but my 2-lb. Oster 5834… not so much.

(If you’ve picked up an Oster 5834 at a thrift shop [or are dusting it off from storage] and need for the manual for the Oster 5834 bread machine, you can download it here: Oster 5834 Breadmaker Manual.

Replacement Parts: Sunbeam / Oster Breadmaker Paddle, Bread Pan, and Instruction Book – if you don’t want to download it here for free.

Order of adding ingrediants to your breadmaker: FIRST-liquid ingredients, SECOND-dry ingredients, LAST-yeast.

Loaf Size: 1.5-2 lb.)

So anyway, now that I have all my links and information handy for me for the next time I forget…

What I like least about bread machines is the bread they bake. What I like most about bread machines is the dough they make. So, basically what I love about bread machines is that it is like having your own little apprentice in the kitchen with you. I can plop in the water, oil, flour, salt and yeast in– and forget it! Sort of. I like to peer through the window and watch it knead, and sometimes it needs a little more flour, or liquid. But, for the most part – you set it and let it work while you move on to other things. Love it.

So, last night at… oh, about 10pm I decided to throw a loaf in the machine and try a new recipe. No clue why I waited right up until I was about to go tuck in an read, but I can’t claim everything I do makes sense. I think I just wanted to feel like I was being productive. I like to have something going at night, “working” while I’m getting ready for bed (load of laundry, beans in the crockpot, etc.). Last night it was bread. After adding the ingredients, and then spying on it for a while, I puttered around the house, waiting for Frank (working OT 2nd shift) to get home. I wanted to stay up long enough to warm up his dinner (chorizo tacos), say “hi” and then throw myself down the stairs and slide under the covers.

But I kept worrying about the bread. I mean, it would be done at 1am and shouldn’t I be taking it out of the machine when it is done baking? What would happen if I didn’t? At 12:30am the machine had 49 minutes left on the timer. I, however, only had about 5 min. left in me. Frank was already burning midnight oil after working two shifts, and having to be back to work again at 7am. He was showering and then throwing himself into bed, too. I couldn’t quite bully him into staying up and waiting on my bread (which he would have, if he didn’t have to get up a few hours later).

I was pretty sure that my anxiety over my bread would keep me awake that extra 49 minutes anyway. So I read a few pages of The Help (my bookclub pick), and find my eyes falling heavy. Bowzer snuggles up to me, increasing the cozy factor. My heated blanket starts to kick in. The smell of warm, homemade bread baking drifts through the house.

Twenty minutes. Twenty? The glass of wine I drank while googling recipes is calling me to nighty-night. I know that even if the buzzer on my oven was blaring through the house right now, I’d pull the covers higher up on my chin, roll over and start to drool. There was no way I was going to come out from under those covers, traipse upstairs and remove that bread from the machine in twenty minutes.

This morning I found the bread, sitting on the cutting board, underneath the towel that I had left out. Paddle, stuck in the bottom. Frank must have took it out before he left for work.

I broke out my bread slicer (a wooden contraption found at Goodwill for $2) and cut Lootie a slice. He ate it with butter and jam. Drove the kids to school, came home, sliced off a hunk for myself, fried up some eggs and prepared to feast. Not bad. Better, had it been cooked up in the oven I’m betting (and that’s what I’ll try next). But for the little effort it took, hey, I’m OK with that. The recipe I used is called “Best Bread Machine Bread” on Allrecipes.com. Try it and see what you think. If you want. The fun part about it is that it defies everything you’ve had beaten into your head regarding making bread in the machine: LIQUID, DRY, YEAST. LIQUID, DRY, YEAST, LIQUID, DRY, YEAST!!! This recipe has you put the liquid, yeast and sugar in first, let it sit 10 minutes, and then add the flour and yeast. Worked fine, my kitchen is still intact. Bread was decent, but my final decision on the recipe won’t come until I make bake it in the oven.

My breakfast, with the bread, toasted.

Bowzer, hoping he’s included in this whole breakfast-eating fun. There’s no hiding his massive under bite and snaggle-tooth. I love him anyway.

Bread Maker Pizza Crust

#1 Happy Holidailies!

Once again, I’m blogging daily from December 6 to January 5. Live with it. They’re using a slightly different system this year and I hope I can get the hang of it before the end of the Holidailies run, but who is to say. I don’t think I like it already, but maybe it will grow on me.

OK so pizza crusts in the bread maker– or rather, momma hasn’t done much of meal-planning since Thanksgiving and she’s flying by the seat of her pants. That’s probably more appropriate.

Wednesday I made a quick run to Costco while Sal was at goalie practice, and I worked hard not to buy for the sake of buying, but to be thoughtful in what I needed. Of coarse, that means I needed to recall just what it was I needed. Need, need, need. Noodle bowls. Ham. Shredded cheddar cheese… gum, sour cream, Sobe. I didn’t so much need the peeled baby carrots, come to find. But I picked up a HUGE bag anyway (sigh). I’ve been spreadsheeting it out to see what really IS a deal and what IS NOT a deal at Costco. So far it looks like I’m getting decent deals. Just don’t buy the vinegar there. Not a deal.

As I was walking the isles, I decided that I would be making pizzas. The huge bag of shredded mozzarella was calling me to make some pizzas and possibly a casserole. In the cart it went (I did end up making crockpot lasagna and I WILL post the recipe this week).

Back to the pizzas. Now that wrestling season has started (and winter soccer trainings, indoor soccer leagues), life has swung back into crazy gear again. The plus is that Frank coaches and all 3 younger boys are in wrestling at the same time. The not-so-plus is that Dante is just finishing up wrestling (for high-school, they use the same mats as the youth wrestlers), and needs to come home just as Frank is arriving with the boys for their mat time. That means I have to go pick up Dante. Before the youth wrestling started, I’d have dinner ready to go when Dante got home (ravished), and we’d all sit down to eat. Now that we’re on different schedules, it isn’t so easy. It’s only 2 days a week, though, that that happens, so I can’t complain.

Basically what I’m saying is, even though all the boys are occupied, it isn’t a real down-and-dirty “work time” for me because I’m running around in between cooking dinner. Last week on one of those days, I thought I’d be all Ms. Smarty Prepared and start a pizza crust in the breadmaker before I left, come home and start up some pizzas. That would have all been find and dandy had I not set the bread to “Quick Bake” instead of the “Dough” setting.

I didn’t actually realize that was the problem, not right away. I thought that maybe there was simply something wrong with my bread maker. I mean, it is a little bit on the older side. But I had made calzone dough in it not too long ago, so I couldn’t figure what went wrong and why my bread maker was so warm. The kids munched on the “bread” and said it was good (they were just hungry). I turned into Maniac Mom, panicking, stressing, hyper-cooking. Refusing to change directions. We were having pizza if it killed me. And it nearly did.

I worked on mixing up a dough that didn’t need to rise or be beaten, thinking that at least they could start on that, and if nothing else worked, their bellies would be satisfied. But, in tandem, I also put another batch of dough in the machine. Well, that’s not true. I intended to put a batch in, while the kids hovered, squawked and asked questions that my brain had to work to answer. Everyone asking me questions and getting in my way makes my head start to sputter and blow smoke. The distractions caused me to add the ingredients to the machine in a fashion that would have rendered yeast-less dough. I had to toss that batch.

Next attempt went fine, although I realized I screwed up the other no rise/beat dough, adding double the yeast. At this point I was about ready to glug down some spiked eggnog and go lay in a snowbank somewhere. Forget dinner.

The first pizza to arrive on the table was the no-knead. Pepperoni and banana peppers. No picture.

Second pizza was another no-knead (still waiting on the bread machine to finish its job). Italian sausage and banana peppers.

Third pizza was with the “regular” knead-and-rise dough, though I didn’t quite let it rise all the way because we were hungry and I was sick of playing pizza-maker. I used half the dough on 1 pizza and the rest I put in the fridge.

They were all OK, but I prefer the knead-and-rise dough. Frank liked the sausage and pepper one, but got horrid heartburn from it. Sal liked everything. They must have all liked the pizzas enough because what they didn’t eat for dinner, they ate the next day. Every time I make homemade pizzas I wonder why I don’t do it more often. Story of my life.

I made a breakfast pizza with the remaining dough. It was also a hit.

Again, Bowzer wondered when he would get his.

Don’t judge us because we don’t take our dog to the groomers. All the boys have long hair at some point.