Orange Eucalyptus Bath Salts

Based on a simple recipe from Vintage Remedies new YouTube Channel, I concocted my own bath salts or foot soak this afternoon to give as a gift to a newly pregnant friend.  I went with an Orange Eucalyptus theme, but if you want the original recipe, see the video at the bottom of the post.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup Mediterranean Course Sea Salt
  • Dried Orange Peel from one orange
  • 5-6 Tbs Chamomile
  • 1-2 Tbs Calendula
  • 1 Tbs Coconut Oil
  • 6-8 drops Sweet Orange Oil
  • 2 drops Eucalyptus Oil

First up, I needed dried orange peels.  To do this, I peeled three organic oranges, broke up the pieces of peel into sort of similar sized pieces and spread them out on a cookie sheet.

For this recipe, you only need the peel from about one orange.

Note: if you dry orange peel to eat, you want to scrape out as much of the white from the back of the peel as you can as this tastes bitter.  But for my purposes, which is bath salts, I skipped this step.

Set the oven on 150 or 170, whatever your lowest setting is, and then leave for about 2 hours, but check it frequently to make sure it doesn’t get burnt.

When dry, the pieces will have shrunk and shriveled and be brittle.  Make sure they’re completely brittle and dry before adding to your salts.

Meanwhile, take about a tablespoon of coconut oil and add essential oils to it. I added 2 drops of Eucalyptus (seriously, only two, otherwise it will overpower everything!) and about 6-8 drops of Sweet Orange Oil.  Mix well to blend essential oils throughout the coconut oil.

Then, add 2/3 of a cup of course Mediterranean Sea Salt and mix mix mix until the oil disappears into the salt.

Add 5-6 tablespoons of Chamomile flowers and a sprinkling of Calendula petals for color.

Then when your orange peels are dry, throw a small handful in and mix.

You get this beautifulness:

Pour into pint-sized mason jar or other 2 cup glass container, label and enjoy!

and don’t forget to click here and vote on next week’s giveaway!

Bum Salve

So a couple of days ago I suddenly realized that Eli and I both had an unwelcome guest in the form of a sudden yeast overgrowth 😛 He never developed white patches in his mouth but he got a new form of diaper rash (and we’d just gotten rid of the one caused by his milk sensitivity!) and my nipples got all irritated, inflamed and so forth all over night it seemed. Looking back, there were warning signs, mainly in the form of bright pink nipples, and I should have listened to my lactation consultant more closely 2 weeks ago when she said it looked like thrush could be causing that, but at the time, there were no other symptoms.

Fortunately thanks to her saying that and sending me home with pictures of what thrush irritation looked like on a baby’s bum and a mama’s nipples, I figured it out right away and attacked it with coconut oil.

Coconut oil is a wonderful thing, full of anti-fungal fighting properties. It’s a solid at room temp, but melts at 76 degrees, making it easy to apply to the skin.  I started with straight, unrefined organic coconut oil (you can get it at the grocery store) and put it on my nipples and his bum.  Then I made him a full bum salve to promote healing faster and we started seeing results in less than 24 hours.  the salve incorporates the healing qualities of chamomile and olive oil with the softening, sealing effects of beeswax.  Chamomile is soothing and anti-inflammatory and promotes healing, while olive oil is very moisturizing and beneficial to the skin.  Beeswax brings it all together and also helps seal in the moisture and forms an even better barrier than the oils alone, allowing the skin to heal and protecting it from moisture and, in this case, poop.

This salve is safe to use on cloth diapers, at least on cotton pre-folds. I’ve been skipping using this on my inserts as I wasn’t sure the synthetics would hold up well.  But after several days, my cotton prefolds (speaking of which, I majorly love these heavy duty unbleached prefolds! They are so absorbent and so far, leak less than disposables :-P), are still as super absorbent as ever, so looks like we’re good to go.

And, even though I called this “bum salve,” you can totally use it on your nipples too 😉

So here’s how to make the Bum Salve:

First you need to infuse some olive oil with chamomile.  There are several ways to do this.  The long way is to fill a pint-sized mason jar half full of chamomile blossoms, fill with olive oil (Extra virgin, cold-pressed organic has the best properties and the longest shelf life), and put it in a dark cupboard for 6 weeks, then strain.  This way gives you almost 2 cups of infused oil.  The fast way (and I haven’t actually determined which way gives you the most benefit) is to pre-heat your oven to 300, fill an oven proof dish with a half cup of chamomile blossoms, cover with a half cup of olive oil, turn the oven off, and put the mixture in the heat for about 4 hours, then strain.  To strain, I line a mesh strainer with cheesecloth to catch the smallest bits and strain into a glass bowl or large measuring cup. I prefer the measuring cup, because then I have a pour spout to redistribute later.

Always use sterilized containers to create and store your oils.  (Your dishwasher is fine unless it is very old).

Now, you only need a little of the chamomile oil for this recipe, but the rest makes a good massage oil for you or baby, or you can make other recipes with it.

Bum Salve (makes about 4 oz)

  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp chamomile oil (see above)
  • 1 tbsp beeswax
  • 1/8 teaspoon vitamin E oil (optional, acts as a preservative)

I used my measuring cup double boiler (measuring cup with the ingredients in it set in a small saucepan of water, see this post for pics of what that looks like) to heat the coconut oil, chamomile oil and beeswax together on medium heat until the beeswax melts.  Then remove from heat, take measuring cup out of the pan, dry the outside (you don’t want water in your mixture, it could introduce bacteria) and add the vitamin E oil.  Stir and pour into sterile containers.

Where to find ingredients:

You should be able to find the oils in any grocery store.  As always, I got my herbs and Vitamin E oil from Mountain Rose Herbs.

Nourishing Herbal Tea-DIY

So as I ease my way back into doing anything other than feeding and diaper changes–and of course, staring at Eli (that’s a very important job! er, hobby?)–I bring you a post on a nourishing, calming tea that I just concocted for myself that’s safe while breastfeeding, but won’t increase your milk supply (I’ll post a mother’s milk tea recipe later). And it’s pretty in a glass jar! Bonus!

Completely off the topic of tea, I love my Moby wrap (well, wraps actually, I got two of these lovelies) because in the morning it’s the only way I get anything done. For some reason, I can’t put him down even asleep until the afternoon, but I can Moby him and keep marching…

Here’s a very impromptu pic of me in all my blogging baby wearing glory. So impromptu that I didn’t even pull my shirt all the way down and it appears to be more of my hand towel than of me and Eli… (keeping it real).

But I digress… back to the tea… It’s lovely to help anyone relax, but especially nice to sit down with your little one and enjoy meal time!

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup Nettle leaf
  • 3/4 cup Chamomile flowers
  • 1/4 cup Dandelion leaf
  • 1/4 cup Oatstraw
  • 1/4 cup Red Raspberry leaf

I mix it all together in a big tupperware container or mixing bowl.  If you don’t want to put it in a jar, the tupperware container gives you the option of simply snapping a lid on it.

This amount, however, will fill a quart-sized mason jar about 2/3 of the way.  For an easy transfer to the jar, simply grab a sheet of plain, blank printer paper, roll it loosely width-wise, and stick it in the top of the jar.  A funnel works too if you happen to have one. Funny thing, I do have a wide mouth funnel for filling these jars, I just didn’t think of it… and I no longer have the “my brain is pregnant” excuse either… though I hear sleep deprivation is a good one at times. 😉

Then to brew, I just scoop some with the larger side of my tea ball, but it holds right about a tablespoon and a half, or a heaping tablespoon.  Brew covered in an 8 oz mug for 15-20 minutes.

And it makes a pleasant-tasting, amber-colored tea. I stirred in a bit of honey for sweetness. Smells great too!

Another option would be to brew it as an infusion. For infusions, I put a 1/4 cup of herbs in a 16 oz mason jar, fill with boiling water, stir and leave for 4-8 hours. Then I strain the tea into a quart size jar and add ice, cranberry juice and sometimes sparkling water.  Very refreshing and yummy!