Friday, February 15, 2013

Soap Cupcake Giveaway!!

Enter to win a Dark Chocolate soap cupcake on my Facebook page. All you have to do is go to the giveaway page and either friend Ladybug Soapworks on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, or tweet about the giveaway. Or you can do all 3 and get entered into the giveaway 3 times!!! Easy peasy, right?!

You can win one of these babies!

*This giveaway is in no way affiliated, administered or endorsed by Facebook. Giveaway ends at midnight on Wednesday, February 20th. Winner will be notified by email by 2/22/2013 and will need to respond within 48 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be chosen. Giveaway open only to people in the USA (sorry)!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ingredient Spotlight: Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender essential oil is one of the most popular and well known essential oils. It is generally known to calm and relax the body to the point that it is often used to promote sleep. Did you know that it is also antibacterial and helps burns to heal faster and without scaring? Lavender oil is also one of the safest essential oils and can be used to treat children’s minor cuts and scrapes. Many essential oils are not safe to use on children.

© Beisea | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

Lavender essential oil comes from over 20 different species and they can be grouped into 3 main varieties. 

1.   True lavender. Lavandula angustifolia, L. officinalis, and L. vera are commonly known as common lavender or English lavender. These plants feature narrow leaves, short, crooked stems, and barrel-shaped flowers. The flower gives off a sweet, floral scent that sooths, calms, and relaxes.

2.   Spike lavender essential oil. L. spica and L. latifolia are coarser plants, with broader leaves than true lavender (L. officinalis). While these varieties yields up to three times the amount of essential oil as true lavender, the scent is less highly prized. The oil from spike lavender flowers is more akin to a combination of eucalyptus and lavender. 

3.   Lavandin essential oil.L. hybrida is a sterile hybrid plant that results from the cross-pollination of English lavender and spike lavender. This oil is more camphorous than L. angustifolia and has similar, but less pronounced, therapeutic properties. It can be included in formulations intended for pain relief or disinfection. Compared to true lavender plants, these plants have larger leaves, longer stems, and larger flowers that are pointed at the tip. Lavandin produces more oil than true lavender; however, the scent is quite different from true lavender. Lavandin tends to have a woody scent with a hint of a spicy-green, camphor aroma. While Lavandin does have therapeutic properties, it is not be used as a substitute for true lavender since the therapeutic properties differ. 

Lavender Oil is often the first essential oil that is used to help recover from burns. Here is an interesting tidbit: This amazing property of lavender essential oil was first discovered by René-Maurice Gattefossé in 1910. The following is a tale traditionally told about his discovery:

“In 1910 French chemist and scholar René-Maurice Gattefossé discovered the virtues of the essential oil of lavender. Gattefossé badly burned his hand during an experiment in a perfumery plant and plunged his hand into the nearest tub of liquid, which just happened to be lavender essential oil. He was later amazed at how quickly his burn healed and with very little scarring. This started a fascination with essential oils and inspired him to experiment with them during the First World War on soldiers in the military hospitals.”

While there is some truth to this tale, the real story as told by Gattefossé himself, in his book Aromathérapie: Les Huiles Essentielles Hormones Végétales (buy here translated into English), states:

“The external application of small quantities of esences rapidly stops the spread of gangrenous sores. In my personal experience, after a laboratory explosion covered me with burning substances which I extinguished by rolling on a grassy lawn, both my hands were covered with a rapidly developing gas gangrene. Just one rinse with lavender essence stopped “the gasification of the tissue”. This treatment was followed by profuse sweating, and healing began the next day (July 1910).”

Ladybug Soapworks Lavender Soap

Ladybug Soapworks uses lavender essential oil in our lavender soap, lavender bath salts, lavender roll-on perfume oil, and lavender bath oil. Try some of these products to experience the calming and relaxing properties of lavender oil.

For more information see:  - Great website with lots of information on essential oils. Good site with the true story of how René-Maurice Gattefossé found the burn healing properties of lavender.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Top 5 Cleaning Tip Links

    My unemployment time has been filled with trying to my business in gear, cleaning, painting trim in my house, and cooking! So you will see a lot of this coming into my posts. This weeks "Top 5" list is filled with cleaning tips that I have come across recently and just love.
    1. Rain-x to keep glass shower door soap scrum free! This might also be great to do on the out side of windows. here
    2. Spring cleaning tips at a bowl full of lemons. It is almost time to start thinking about this!
    3. Non-toxic bathroom cleaning plus links to recipes for making many of your own cleaning solutions at Chiot's Run.
    4. I have been trying to get a lot of house painting done before I have to go back to working full-time and cleaning my paint brushes is always a dreaded pain. So this tip from the Creek Line House titled "the Easiest, Laziest Way to Clean Your Paintbrushes" should help!
    5. Green cleaning tips using common household items over at

    PS. Don't forget to clean the pets!

    Okay, I just thought this was too cute and I needed to post it! Meow

      Monday, February 11, 2013

      The most beautiful flower treasury

      My Geranium rose soap has been featured in a beautiful Etsy treasury. Check it out below or here. If you like it, you can comment on the link and it may get to the front page of Etsy! You can pick up some of this pretty soap here. I love having people select my products to go into their treasuries and I feel like they all turn out so beautiful. Have you made a treasury on Etsy? I still have not, but I probably should try to put one together someday.


      Saturday, February 9, 2013

      Nemo Attacks! Snow Overload!

      Well, the Blizzard Nemo has come and gone and left about 3 ft of snow behind. We have drifts over 6 ft tall and no place to put the snow from our drive way. We spend hours shoveling the sidewalks (note to self never buy a corner lot house again as you have twice as much sidewalk to shovel!) and still need to figure out how to do the driveway. Our road still is not plowed and may not be plowed until tomorrow.  Pretty crazy! Here are some pictures for you all! Enjoy!

      Snow Angel!

      We have walls leading up to the house.

      Dylan action shot.

      The only reason you can tell there is a road here is cause the stop sign!

      Maybe I should make some soap with the snow! Like a wintery peppermint....

      Thursday, February 7, 2013

      Ingredient Spotlight: Neem oil

      If you don't know anything about Neem oil, I can assure you that the first time you encounter the oil it will make a strong impression. Strong in the sense that it has a very powerful odor! Boy does this oil stink! If you can get past the smell though, Neem has some wonderful properties and has been used in Ayurvedic (Indian) medicine for over 2000 years! In India, the tree is often referred to as the "Sacred Tree" and the "Panacea for all diseases". Obviously, this tree has made a huge impact on their culture. Neem oil is a liquid vegetable oil that is pressed from the fruit and seeds of the Neem tree (Azadirachta indica) which is originally from India.

      Neem tree with fruit.

      Neem oil or a tea made from the leaves can be drunk, but it has a bitter taste, which is often a signal of medicinal properties. In Ayurvedic medicine, Neem is used as a blood purifier and is also heavily used to treat skin disease and irritations, fever. Small twigs were traditionally used to clean teeth like a toothbrush.

      Neem is also known to be an all natural pesticide and can be simply sprayed on plants that need protection from pests, but is not harmful to mammals, birds, earthworms, and if not sprayed directly on their food source, butterflies, honeybees, and ladybugs.

      I use Neem oil in my sensitive skin soap that I have specifically formulated to be gentle irritated skin. This soap works great for me when I have eczema flair-ups.

      Have you encountered Neem oil?  What do you think of it?

      Tuesday, February 5, 2013

      Lentil and brown rice casserole recipe

      Since I have not been working outside of my home for the past month, I have been spending more time cooking dinners. This next recipe is a modification from a recipe in the Vegetarian cookbook pictured below.

      The inspiration!
      1 1/4 cup red lentils
      1 cup brown rice
      6 cups vegetable broth 
      3 cloves of garlic
      3 small leeks
      1 red bell pepper
      1/2 can baby corn
      about 4 oz fresh green beans 
      head of broccoli florets
      28 oz can of diced tomatoes

      1. Add the lentils, rice, and vegetable broth to a large pot. Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes.

      2. Cut the vegetables up into small to medium sized pieces.

      Sliced and diced!

      3. Add the cut vegetables, spices, and canned tomato to the pot and boil for abut 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

      4. Garnish with some fresh basil and serve it up! It will continue to thicken over time.  Mine started out like a soup and ended up being a thick casserole.

      Now I found that once it becomes really thick that it tastes nice if you shred some cheese on the top and mix it in.  But then again there isn't much that I don't like when covered in cheese!

      Monday, February 4, 2013

      Bulk Whole Wheat Pancake Recipe

      I mentioned in my last post that I had plans to mix up some bulk pancake mix. I tend to eat only whole wheat products and most whole wheat pancakes tend to be hard and thin. I found this great recipe in the Martha Stewart magazine (see original here) a few years ago and have been making it since as my only pancake recipe. It produces nice, fluffy pancakes that are thick, soft, and delicious. The wheat germ just helps to round out the flavor perfectly.

      1.25 cups Whole wheat flour
      0.25 cups Wheat germ
      2 Tbsp Sugar
      1.5 tsp Baking powder
      0.5 tsp Baking soda
      1 tsp Salt

      1.5 cups Buttermilk
      0.25 cups Vegetable oil
      2 Eggs, lightly beaten

      Combine and mix dry ingredients.
      Add wet ingredients to the dry and mix.
      All to rest for 10 minutes.
      Cook on griddle.

      For the bulk batch that I made, I multiplied the dry ingredient volumes by 5 and mixed them together. I then placed the mixed dry ingredients into a storage container. When I go to make pancakes next, all I have to do is measure out 1.5 cups and 3 tbsp of the dry mix and add to it the wet ingredients as listed above. This might make it quick enough that I get back into making them every Sunday! If you are like me and never have buttermilk, you can easily substitute any type of cow's milk (skim-whole) with a bit of lemon or lime juice added. If you make this with low-fat buttermilk the calories, fat, etc should be correct in the photo below.


      Saturday, February 2, 2013

      My 5 favorite links of the week

      I am spending way too much time on Pinterest, but I am finding so many great projects to do on everyone's boards! I think all of these links come from Pinterest finds. So here is my list of top five links for the week. 
      1. Homemade baking mixes at Fake-it-frugal. I plan to make these plus a bulk pancake mix and homemade instant oatmeal! This will save money and time!
      2. Make your own microwave popcorn at Frugal Living NW. I spend way too much money on microwave popcorn.
      3. Homemade pizza crust at Annies eats. I want to make up a big batch of this and freeze it to have on hand for quick dinners.
      4. Homemade chocolate sauce at Small notebook. This looks like it would be good on ice cream and in alcoholic drinks as well as to make chocolate milk.
      5. Make your own instant oatmeal at Amy Loves Her Life. I plan to make this and store it in a jar instead of individual bags. I will probably modify it a bit to cut down on the sugar and replace some with stevia (I think they have a brown sugar version!). I'll let you know what I come up with!
      Picture from

      As you can see my mind must be on food! I will be going back to work soon and I really want to get the kitchen prepped for quick homemade dinners. I have really enjoyed cooking good food while I have been at home, but once I start working again it will be hard to find the time. So, I am hoping to stock up my pantry and freezer with prepared or quick to prepare foods so I can continue to eat well!