Sensational Soft Scrub....Homemade

I think it's amazing that cleaning products can be made at home; not only are they less expensive in the long run, you also know what's going in them so they're healthier for your family and wonderfully green to boot!

My most recent love is this homemade soft scrub. I'm telling you it works AMAZINGLY and smells wonderful. Antibacterial due to the tea tree and lavender essential oils and whitening because of the baking soda - no need for ajax or comet with bleach ever again.

Here's what you'll need:

2 cups baking soda
1/2 cup Dr. Bronner's liquid castile soap (I used peppermint)
10 drops tea tree oil
15 drops lavender essential oil
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp distilled white vinegar

In a large bowl, mix together the soda, castile soap, oils and water

The consistency will be like glossy cream cheese frosting. Once combined, add the vinegar. It will bubble up as it reacts with the soda - not to worry. Just make sure you don't add it until after you've mixed up the other ingredients or you'll get sludge and you want frosting.

Once everything is all mixed together, pour the scrub into a container. I used a wide-mouth mason jar and it's easy for me to get my hand through the opening. I just scoop it out and put on my sponge as needed. Another possibility is to use an empty squeeze bottle as your container. And if it gets a bit dry, just add a little water and shake it up.

It's silly...how excited I am about this stuff but I just think it's incredible. It's worked great on everything I've used it on so far: sinks, tubs, stove tops, toilets....I'm tellin' you! It's now a staple for me when I clean along with the all-purpose spray you see next to it in the picture below.

For that you'll need:

1/4 cup lemon juice (pulp and seeds strained out)
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1 cup water
tea tree oil (optional)
lavender essential oil (optional)
1 tsp castile soap (optional)

While the oils and soap are optional here, I like to add them because it cuts the smell of the vinegar and adds antibacterial properties. Works great on counters, cabinets floors, trash cans; basically, wherever you'd use a store bought product.

Use these for yourself or give them as a hostess or housewarming gift with some natural sponges or cotton cleaning towels. Cute labels can be found here and more recipes here. My next endeavor? Liquid laundry soap and felted dryer balls!

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Lavender Vanilla Soda

As much as I love love love to get crafty, I'm a foodie from the top of my head to the tips of my painted little toes, and when I stumble on something new, clever, delicious....I get practically giddy with excitement. Such was the case yesterday when I had my first sip of lavender soda.

In a word, it was...enchanting; not too sweet with just a hint of dusty herbaceousness on the tongue; delicate nasturtium petals floating around amongst the bubbles. I was instantly taken and new I wanted to try recreating it at home.

I figured it was just a matter of a flavored simple syrup which I made using filtered water, organic sugar and food-grade lavender bruised a bit with the back of knife to release the oils.

I changed it up and added a couple of vanilla beans when making the syrup and then strained it all through a fine mesh sieve and set it aside to cool to room temp.

Once it was ready, I put a couple of tablespoons in glass with lots of ice, and finished it off with a generous splash of San Pellegrino and the tops of a few fresh lavender flowers.

Can you imagine serving glasses of this at a bridal or baby shower? Or just hanging out with the girls having snacks and chatting it up? I love that I know what's in it and I can control the sweetness. Plus...my boys really like it and think it's fun to drink out of fancy glasses.

The perfect summer elixir to make and give!

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