Last night I watched as my small son stood solemnly at the communion rail and received ashes on his forehead. Of course, he doesn’t yet know what it all means, but then, sometimes I don’t know what it all means either.

Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

I don’t want to remember that he is dust, that this beautiful child I brought into the world is dust and frailty.

Like me.

I don’t want to be dust either. I want to be… more.

And as I sit here in the twilight of an impossibly warm February day, this first day of Lent, it’s hard to think of dust.

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Easy Lip Balm

So in addition to the hand salve I made the other night, I also followed a recipe from Mountain Rose Herbs and made up a batch of Peppermint Cocoa Lip balm. It smells good enough to eat and is amazing on the lips now that I’ve been using it for a few days. And the guinea pigs friends I gave it to to test it have been giving it good reviews as well!

I plan to give some of this away, plus the recipe makes enough to fill ten lip balm tubes, so you can either save empty ones and re-use, or get these pretty translucent ones from Mountain Rose Herbs as well. I plan to re-use the ones I use for myself, but these are the most convenient in terms of giving the lip balm away. If you prefer small tins they also carry those, but I don’t like having to stick my finger in the lip balm in the middle of the day if my hands aren’t clean.

I’m re-posting their recipe here because the directions need a bit of clarification.  You can find the original here, second recipe down.


1 Tablespoon Cocoa Butter
2 Tablespoons Sweet Almond Oil
1 Tablespoon Avocado Oil
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Beeswax
12-15 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
A few drops of Vitamin E Oil (optional, but recommended)

Step 1: Coarsely chop the beeswax or use beeswax pastilles. Place Beeswax, Cocoa Butter, Sweet Almond Oil and Avocado in a small pot or glass Pyrex measuring cup and gently heat (I interpreted this as getting the water to a simmer on medium to medium high instead of on high) in the top of a double boiler until the beeswax and butters have melted.

In the pic below, you see the butter and oils melting together in a measuring cup set in a small metal bowl that is over a simmering pan of water, my “double boiler.” This set up works so well (the metal bowl over a sauce pan) that I don’t see the need to every buy an actual double boiler!

Step 2: Once melted, remove from the stovetop and add essential oils and Vitamin E Oil.  To achieve this, I lowered the measuring cup straight into the simmering water for perhaps a minute tops because the beeswax wasn’t getting quite hot enough. It doesn’t seem to have affected the outcome.

Step 3: Immediately pour the mixture into lip balm containers. You can purchase lip balm tubes and jars, or you can reuse glass or plastic containers. Allow to cool completely before placing caps onto the lip balm containers. Your lip balm is finished! You can now add labels, ribbons, twine, or any other decorative elements. Makes approximately 1.5 oz of lip balm, enough to fill 10 lip balm tubes, 6 of our 1/4 oz plastic jars, or 3 1/2 oz tins or plastic jars.

And there you have it! This whole process took less than 20 minutes from start to finish, with about another 15 minutes or so (I didn’t really time it) to have the lip balm cool, but it cools pretty fast and you have simple, all organic lip balm and you know exactly what went into it.  Plus it’s yummy, a great gift, and satisfying to make.


Hand Salve

So in my quest to be more organic and to know what’s in the stuff I use and eat and such (plus I’m still on this super creative kick where I just want to make stuff!), I decided to make my own hand salve today.  I had made a big order from Mountain Rose Herbs and the stuff all got here this week. It’s pricey to do at once, but much less per container of finished product.  Also on the list is home-made deodorant (I’ll post on that after I’ve used it for a while and see how it actually works!), and lip balm, which I made tonight too, but I’ll post it tomorrow.

I got this recipe from A Sonoma Garden, but tweaked it a little bit cause I didn’t have a scale to weigh the ingredients, so I went with parts and measured it with measuring spoons and added lavender to it cause I like the smell…

  • 4 Tbsp Shea Butter
  • 1 Tbsp Avocado Oil
  • 1/4 tsp Vitamin E Oil
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp Essential Lavender Oil (adjust to fragrance preference)

Step 1: Place Shea butter and avocado oil in a measuring cup and heat on medium low heat in a small sauce pan full of water until butter and oil melt (easy double boiler). Stir occasionally.

See, not melted.

Starting to melt…


See? It looks like melted butter… oh wait… shea butter anyone?? 😛

Step 2: Stir in Vitamin E Oil and Lavender Oil.

Step 3: Pour into small bowl and place in sink that has several inches of ice water in it.

Step 4: As it cools, whip it to a meringue-like consistency.

Step 5: Smooth into containers of your choice.  I got the containers from Mountain Rose Herbs as well.

Ta Da! It’s awesome.  And I “licked” the bowl by scraping the last little bits off the sides with the spatula and rubbed them straight on my big ol’ preggo belly 😀 (with the spatula) Husband was amused.