Thursday, May 15

Simple DIY Teeth Whitening Tray

I've been on a DIY (read: cheap & easy) kick lately. Add that to my "more natural" (read: fewer unpronounceable ingredients) kick, and my hippy roots are showing wildly. 

My newest health/beauty obsession is an easy peasy, quick & painless, cheap & natural teeth whitening tray. 
You know, like the ones that cost a minimum of $15, but usually $40, and up to several hundred dollars elsewhere. 

Wilson adult size athletic mouth guard: $0.97
Arm & Hammer 16 oz baking soda: $0.92
Walgreens brand hydrogen peroxide: $1.19
(Rubber ducky not included.)

For a grand total of $3.08. No coupons even, which I bet you could find if you we're looking.  

And, as promised, it's super easy to whip up a batch of tooth whitening paste. 

Initially, you have to "boil & bite" the mouth guard to mold it to your teeth. I even had to snip off some of the back and some of the top (around molars and gums) before I fitted it to my mouth. That takes an entire minute and a half. 

Next, in a teeny bowl or cup, mix 1 tsp of the baking soda with 1/2 a tsp of the peroxide until pasty. 

Schmear it in your new custom-fit mouth guard and pop that sucker in. 

Leave on your teeth for 5-10 minutes, and entertain yourself by scaring the bejeebees out of your children as you pretend to have rabies, what with all the foaming at the mouth you're doing. 

Remove tray, spit, rinse, repeat every three days or so. 

So fresh. 
And also so clean, clean. 

(Keep in mind, I'm a writer, not a dentist. This is intended for use on a healthy grill. If you have any questions, call a professional.) 

Wednesday, January 29

Five Great Ways to Use Coconut Oil

Listen, we need to talk about something. Do you have enough coconut oil in your life? You probably don't. I didn't, until a few days and an exhaustive Pinterest search ago. 

I have some deep-seated hippy tendencies. I've made my own laundry detergent, and sometimes I don't shower. Ok, so those are just two weird hippy things, but still. 
Recently, I've been on a "more natural" (as opposed to a strict "all natural") kick. Instead of harsh chemical carpet cleaners, I've been using baking soda + vinegar. Instead of (again, super harsh and chemical-ly) bathroom cleaners, I've been using hydrogen peroxide and tea tree oil and baking soda. They are all easy switches, and an easy Google/Pinterest search away. 

My latest find is coconut oil. Honest to goodness, I hate all things coconut-related. Just the very thought of shredded coconut makes me gaggy. But once I read some of the benefits of coconut oil (and, you know, didn't gag), I'm a coconut convert. 

For those of you who are skeptical, or just now embracing your hippy side, here are five easy and effective ways to use coconut oil. 

(First, there are several kinds of oil to choose from. Best bet is one with a label that mentions being organic, virgin or extra virgin, and cold-expeller pressed. Make sure it mentions a "chemical-free extraction process" and that it is *un*refined. I bought my jar at a local health-food store for about $12.00)

1) Use instead of shaving cream. 
Coconut oil at room-temperature is a solid, but melts very easily in your hands or in the shower. Smoooove all over your legs and use just like you would shaving cream. You will end up silky soft. Yay!

2) Use as massage oil/cuticle oil
Coconut oil makes a lovely (and lovely-smelling) massage/cuticle rub. It's packed with antioxidants and vitamin E, and it's even safe to use on babies for a sweet after-bath massage!

3) Use as eye makeup remover
Sure, you can stick to your (chemical-ly!!) manufactured eye makeup remover, or you can go au naturĂ©l! Dab a little coconut oil on a cotton ball, and rub over those luscious lashes of yours. Makeup comes off quickly and the oil leaves your lashes healthier and stronger than before! 

4) Use to boost your smoothies 
It seems as if ingesting some coconut oil on the daily has a bazillion benefits. Adding just two tablespoons to your morning smoothie can boost energy levels, amp up your metabolism, aid in digestion, and even alleviate some allergy symptoms! 

Number five is actually my number one favorite way to use coconut oil:

5) Replace your (CHEMICAL!) facial moisturizer entirely
I have super-sensitive skin, prone to being both oily and dry (lucky me!), and now that I'm 30, I get to enjoy both acne and wrinkles! Ugh. I've been a Clinique 3-step devotee for a hundred years, but I'm weaning myself almost entirely off the store-bought stuff. I wash my face now with Dickenson's Witch Hazel cleanser, and follow up with a coconut oil moisturizer. 
Scooping up a teeny tiny baby pea-sized amount of the oil and letting it melt on your fingertips will do just fine. Spread and smooth a light layer all over your face and neck, then marvel at the wonder of super soft skin! 
Seriously, I've been on this coconut oil facial regimen for about a week now, and I'm beyond amazed at how soft and smooth and evenly-toned my skin is. 

There are dozens of ways to use coconut oil in your everyday life. Check it out for yourself, them come back and thank me later. :)

What are some of your favorite DIY natural remedies? 

Monday, January 27

#DestructoTot & Me

Everywhere we go, it happens all the time. People *literally* gasp and do double-takes. 
"She looks just like you!"
"She's your mini-me!"

I don't see it as often as strangers do, but when it's there, it's undeniable. 

That's me on the left, around three. And B3 on the right, right before she turned five. 

Someone said something about a small clone?

Friday, November 22

Middle-Grade Adventure Book Review (By a Middle-Grader!): Travels with Gannon & Wyatt

As any casual reader of chasing my Bees can tell, we are a seriously bookish family. When my lovely friends at the Clever Girls Collective had an opportunity to review a middle-grade adventure book series, I hopped right on board. 

Greenleaf Book Group has published two Travels with Gannon & Wyatt books so far: an adventure in Botswana, and one in the Great Bear Rainforest. In January, 2014, the latest book, featuring real-life twins, will be published- Gannon & Wyatt in Egypt!

All three of my Bees enjoyed the Travels books. My 9-year old read them outloud to his 4-year old sister, and their middle sister, a 7-year old emerging reader, read all three books on her own. I asked my son, a fourth-grader, to write his own review of the Gannon & Wyatt series. Like a true word nerd, he jumped at the chance to evangelize for his new favorite books. (He's a certified genius child, but he's crap with spelling. I'm typing his report exactly as he wrote it. Because I think it's adorable. I'm such a weird mom.)

Travels with Gannon & Wyatt, by The Boy
Gannon and Wyatt: Egypt is an adventure about two boys who travel to Egipt. While there there, they and two other kids go to search for Queen Cleopatra's tomb. While only three got to see it.
Overall, the Adventures with Gannon and Wyatt series is a thrilling adventure! My personal thought is that Patti Wheeler and Keith Hemstreet should make more books. I also hope that the REAL Gannon and Wyatt also keep going on adventures!! Last but not least:

So, we're working on his essay skills.
But, it was clear from my kids' enthusiasm (and the resulting conversations about when we are going to the rainforest), the Travels series is a hit.

Want to learn more? Check out Gannon & Wyatt's Facebook page- they're giving away three Kindle Fires this month!

In conjunction with the Clever Girls and Greenleaf Books, I get to give away a set of all three Travels books! Including the not-yet-published Egypt adventure! Just visit chasing my Bees on Facebook and leave a comment about your dream adventure to win! I'll choose a winner (based on a random number draw) on November 25.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Wednesday, October 16

Myers-Briggs is my homie

I've always been a test geek.
Seventeen, YM, and later, Glamour and the almighty Cosmo's quiz sections were my first-reads each month.

Are you a good kisser?
Discover what your signature scent should be!
What does your wardrobe say about you?

They would get pretty ridiculous...

Is your friend cheating on you with another BFF?
Determine your odds of marrying a guy named Roger!
How to tell if you are a tree in six easy questions!

I loved the "Spiritual Gifts" test they gave us in youth group at church (I scored high on mercy and encouragement). I am a sucker for a Scantron. The Love Languages was my jam (affirmation and QT are my jam, specifically).

So it was no surprise that when my best friend was completing her Master's degree in psychology, I leapt at the chance to do a formal Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. The MBTI is a fairly complex assessment, based on the Jungian theory of personality.
According to the MBTI, there are sixteen types of personalities that fall into four separate categories.

It's all wildly interesting to me- to answer a few questions and learn more about myself. It's probably a psychological condition in itself that I have to be told who and what and how I am, rather than knowing it intrinsically.

Through the years, my perfume and clothing preferences have change, but one thing has remained constant- I'm an ENFP.

I created that pin a few months ago (well, I added the red letters and arrow- go me!), and I love seeing it pop up all over my Pinterest!

I've got "extraverted intuition with introverted feeling."
I'm super emotional. I get excited easily. I'm a dreamer, a motivator. I talk a lot. I talk animatedly.
I have great ideas, but I'm not always great on the follow-through. ("Ha!" says the book I've been writing for seven years.)
I really like people, and reeeeeeally want people to like me.

I'm such a classic ENFP, that my dear friend Audreya totally called me out on it, without previous discussion. She's an INTJ, just like my husband. It's like we're a case study in opposites attracting- me with those two.

I'm looking forward to finding out where my three kiddos fall on the MBTI. Will they be more free-spirited like me, or more logical and organized like their daddy? Either way, they're full up on awesome already, so it can't turn out too badly.

Have you taken the Myers-Briggs test? Did you go, "Oh, that's totally me!" or did you feel it was off?