Making your own soy aromatherapy candles is a fun, eco-friendly way to spend an afternoon. You play with wax, scent and colour for a while, and voila! You have beautiful eco-friendly Christmas candles! You can keep some for yourself, and give the rest to friends and family as a Xmas present.
Soy candles have been emerging as a viable alternative to the standard wax choices. Soy candles are made out of 100% natural soy wax without any additives. Candles made of soy wax will have a wonderful aroma without having to add any type of fragrance. Experienced soy candle makers can mix the soy wax in several ways that will give the natural scent a bit of a difference thus giving the scent a fainter or more powerful aroma.
Beeswax is another popular candle making wax. While it may be a little more expensive, it offers many wonder benefits. It has a natural sweet aroma, a beautiful natural colour, and burns, brighter, longer and cleaner than many other candles. When a beeswax candle is burning it fills the room with a gentle, fragrant honey odour while removing airborne irritants such as dust, pollen and moulds.
To make candles you need wicks. Candle wicks come in many materials and can be purchased with tabs on the end so they are easier to use when making candles. When buying a wick you need something that will burn cleanly. Many people prefer cotton or hemp wicks. Others say that the wick material is dependent on the type of wax you will be using.
The last item needed to make candles is a candle holder. After you have the wax, wick and candle holder, you have all the essentials of the basic candle recipe.
So let’s get started. Here is a 5-steps guide of how to make Christmas candles.
- First, heat the wax until melted. Beeswax needs to be melted in a double double-saucepan.
- Let the wax cool to about 140F, then add your essential oil blend of your choice. Best Christmas Essences are cinnamon, orange and pine. Stir to blend in the oils.
- Now Pour the wax into your chosen containers – use heat-prove containers like glass ones. It’s better to pre-heat the containers a bit in the oven.
- Slowly pour the wax into your containers. Try not to splash – you want a slow, even pour to avoid creating air pockets. Leave to cool.
- Trim the wick to 1/4″ (0.5cm.)
Here we go – you’ve done your perfect Christmas scented candles. And which is most important – they are eco-friendly.
November 21, 2009
Aloe Vera has a long association with herbal medicine, although it is not known when its medical applications were first discovered. Aloe vera extracts have antibacterial and antifungal activities. It, actually, has got many properties, and to relieve eczema symptoms by moisturising and reducing the itchiness is just one of them.
In today’s days eczema in babies and small children is extremely common. It worries us as parents, but in many cases we feel unable to help much. The child’s skin gets inflamed and itchy, which makes the poor thing so miserable! The common mistake many parents make while trying to cure baby eczema is that they rely mainly on prescribed medications that only suppress the symptoms but won’t eliminate the underlying cause. There is always a lying problem underneath, no matter food allergy or other external or internal trigger. And infants are most prone to eczema because their immune system and digestive system are still developing. It is difficult to find out the reason usually, but what we can do is to try to avoid medicines fill of chemicals, which may trigger even more severe allergies, eczema and even asthma, and to find a natural treatment for the little sunshine.
It is true that skin care is an essential part in baby eczema treatment, but proper nutrition (baby’s and mother’s if breastfeeding) is also important as this is the only way to naturally strengthen the skin barrier, eliminate allergies and boost the immune system.
So How to Use Aloe Vera to Treat your Child’s Eczema
Aloe Vera is a miracle plant – it can sooth itching, moisturize skin, and reduce inflammation, associated with eczema.
As far as possible, you should use Aloe fresh from the plant, but remember it oxidises quickly upon exposure to air. If you cannot get Aloe fresh but only as a product, then be sure you get one that is as close to the natural plant as possible. Research or organic and 100% natural products online or check at your local health store.
If you apply Aloe topically, the fluids in Aloe Vera form a thin film on the surface of your baby’s skin. The juice will hydrate and moisture the skin. It will also help prevent from bacterial infection – common in cracked and dry eczema skin – due to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Aloe Vera has the ability to penetrate to the inner layers of the skin, supplying moisture directly to the underlying tissue.
Another way to benefit from Aloe Vera properties is to be taken internally. So you can give it to your child (6 months +) as a juice – either before breakfast or before going to bed. Dr. Peter Atherton in one of his studies revealed that Aloe Vera works wonders on boosting child’s immune system. And by doing that it heals eczema.
Find other ways to treat eczema naturally.
October 19, 2009
Babies and children require empathy and respect for their feelings to help them learn to feel safe and secure. Attachment Parenting is all about forming and nurturing strong connections between parents and their children. Attachment Parenting challenges us as parents to treat our children with respect and kindness, and to develop our relationship with them the way we’d like them to relate to others.
According to attachment theory, the child forms a strong emotional bond with parents during childhood with lifelong consequences. Sensitive and emotionally available parenting helps the child to form a secure attachment style. Less sensitive and emotionally available parenting or neglect of the child’s needs may result in insecure forms of attachment style, which is a risk factor for many mental health problems.
Starting from the very beginning, you can build the foundation of trust and empathy by understanding and responding appropriately to the needs of your newborn baby. Babies communicate their needs in many ways including body movements, facial expressions, and crying. Building a strong attachment with a baby involves not only responding consistently to his physical needs, but spending enjoyable time interacting with him and thus meeting his emotional needs as well. So in these early days it is very important to respond to your child with sensitivity.
Attachment Parenting Principles
1. Attachment Parenting starts from the birth. So try forming an early connection to your child, using the first hours after birth to bond with your newborn, having your baby “room in” with you after a hospital birth, and enjoying the skin-to-skin contact – the most gentle and memorable first mother-and-baby hug.
2. Respond quickly to your baby’s cries and know that you can’t “spoil” her by feeding, kissing and holding her whenever she needs you to. This is biological and emotional need for the baby to get your attention and be soothed. What is more natural that following your mother instincts?
3. Breastfeed exclusively and on baby’s demand for at least 6 months followed by the weaning of solids when your child is ready combined with continued nursing. Be aware that it is natural and normal for children to be breastfed for well over one year.
4. Promote closeness and physical connection by wearing your baby in a sling.
5. Separation fears? – Intense fears of separation will naturally subside as the child matures. It may take considerably longer for more sensitive children to be comfortable in the care of non-parental adults. Follow the child’s cues and do not force children to accept strangers or expect them to overcome stranger/separation anxiety before they’re ready.
6. Use gentle discipline techniques. You need to make clear difference between discipline and punishment and to avoid physical or shame-inducing punishment.
7. Try to be flexible when it comes to parenting techniques – we are all human beings, learning every day. You should know that what worked last week might not work this week, and that your child is different from the others. Putting some extra effort to understand and educate yourself about parenting and a battle half-won.
8. Understand that real “quality time” with your kid is every second spent in cuddling, reading, playing, learning or just being together, and not short frantic bursts of “fun” activities.
9. Nurturing is of vast importance in your child! Those early years at the day care might be a necessity for some families or single parents, but if you can afford it, spent at least the first two years raising your child at home. Be a proud to be “stay-at-home-mother” and consider it the most important thing you could possibly do right now. You want to raise your children yourself, not hand them over to someone else to do the job. Your career will be still there for you in a couple of year’s time.
10. Go out of the timed regime and leave your baby to lead you in his own routine. Understand, following and meet your child’s needs. Know that your child has his own schedule for physical, emotional and social development, toilet learning and independence issues rather than trying to force him into an “expected” time frame. Understand that by meeting your child’s needs during infancy and toddlerhood you are encouraging the development of a healthy, happy, independent person.
October 14, 2009
Toddlers love to do crafts, and this is great for their development! Besides, crafting with your kids can be fun for the whole family! With Halloween coming up, get inspired and try some easy Hallowing craft ideas.
PUMPKIN ON A STICK
What You Need
Large White Paper Plate
Black Construction Paper
How to Make It
- Paint the Paper Plate Orange and let dry.
- Cut out a mouth, nose and eyes from Black Construction Paper.
- Once Orange paint has dried, glue the mouth, nose and eyes on to pumpkin plate face.
- Fold one tab forward and one tab back and attach it to the bag.
What You Need
orange and black (or yellow) construction paper
small scraps of green paper
How to Make It
- Simply cut pumpkin shapes from the orange paper, and black triangles, circles and semi-circles or smiling mouth shapes from the black construction paper. Cut stem shapes and leaf shapes from the green paper.
- If your children are old enough to use safety scissors, encourage them to cut their own shapes.
- Sit with the children and show them how the different shapes can be used to make different faces on the pumpkins.
- Hand over the glue sticks and let your kids make you some bright Halloween decorations for your fridge or windows.
What You Need
White school glue
Felt, buttons, pom-poms, etc (all optional)
How to Make it
- Place a piece of waxed paper on a flat surface.
- Squeeze glue from the bottle into the shape of a ghost.
- Place wiggle eyes into the glue.
- If you would like to decorate your ghost, use felt, buttons, pom-poms or whatever you like to add character. We made a simple bow tie from green felt and added mini pom-poms for buttons.
- Set aside in an out-of-reach area to dry overnight. Note: Expect for them to take all night – and possibly a few hours more – to dry completely.
- Once dry the ghosts will look like they blend into the waxed paper. Carefully peel them paper and use them as decorations around the house.
October 1, 2009
Apples: Apples have long been thought to be a healthy food, indeed many of us grew up hearing that they kept the doctor away! It is now known that apples contain the phytonutrient quercitin, which prevents the oxidation (damage) of LDL cholesterol thus lowering the risk of damage to our arteries and in turn, the risk of heart disease. They also contain pectin, a soluble fibre that seems to be very effective in lowering levels of blood cholesterol. Pectin also binds to heavy metals in our body, such as lead, and removes them from the gut. Ideal baby first food when cooked and pureed.
Avocados: Pound for pound avocados provide more heart healthy monounsaturated fat, fibre, vitamin E, folic acid and potassium than any other fruits. As if this was not enough, they are also the number one fruit source of beta-sitosterol, a substance that can reduce total cholesterol. They also supersede other fruits in the antioxidant lutein, which, in studies has shown to protect people from cataracts. Lutein has also been linked with protecting your cardiovascular system and preventing prostate cancer. Avocados are very easily digested, which makes them ideal for people that have problems digesting fatty foods.
Bananas: Bananas are slightly higher in energy than other fruits but the calories come mainly from carbohydrate; excellent for refuelling before, during or after exercise. Great first baby food, too; just mashed them well and add some of the baby milk to get the right consistence.
Bananas contain phytochemicals known as antioxidants. These antioxidants protect cells in the body against damage from free radicals that can cause heart disease and cancer.
Bananas are also jam-packed with potassium that helps lower blood pressure, and vitamin B6 for healthy skin and hair.
Blueberries, Cranberries and Blackcurrants: They not only look and taste great but blueberries contain antioxidants known as anthocyanidins, some of the strongest antidotes to oxidative stress, which many scientists believe to be the cause of aging in humans. They are great immune-stimulants. Also they are not real berries, so you can introduce them in your baby’s diet as soon as 8-9 months.
Broccoli: If the other foods here are “super” foods then broccoli should be a “mega-super” food. Researchers are finding a wealth of healthy compounds in this vegetable, which include two power anti-cancer substances, sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol. Sulforaphane destroys any carcinogenic compounds that you have ingested and then it creates enzymes that eat up any carcinogens left over from that reaction. Broccoli is also a good source of beta-carotene and potassium, which helps lower your risk of heart disease. Many therapists suggest eating broccoli at least three times a week and now we know why.
Garlic: Numerous clinical trials have shown garlic to be an excellent cancer fighter – studies suggest that it has the ability to prevent development of cancers of the breast, colon, skin, prostate, stomach and oesophagus. Garlic also helps stimulate the immune system by encouraging the growth of natural killer cells, which directly attack cancer cells. It also has the ability to kill the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, a major cause of ulcers and stomach cancer. Introduce garlic to baby’s diet slowly and wait until he/she is at least 12 months old.
Pumpkin: Pumpkins and squash are packed full of beta carotene (only carrots and sweet potatoes have more) and are the number one source of alpha carotene, a cancer inhibitor potentially more powerful than beta-carotene. They also provide vitamins B5, C, E, potassium, calcium and fibre. And don’t throw out the seeds, as they are an excellent source of zinc, essential fatty acids, and are a great source of plant protein. Cooked and mashed pumpkins are great first food for babies! And they love them because of their natural sweet taste.
Salmon: One of the best oily fish providing an excellent source of Omega 3. Omega 3 fatty acids have been linked with protecting against breast and other cancers and relieving autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. Omega 3 is also essential for a brain as well as heart health, and has been linked with accelerated learning and attention span in children and helping mental functions in the elderly. Other oily fish include herring, tuna and mackerel.
Whole Grains: Several epidemiological studies show that people who consume large amounts of whole grains every day have a lower risk of heart disease. Whole grains include brown rice, millet, oats and wholegrain bread. Population research also suggests that whole grains help prevent colon, breast and prostate cancer. The complex carbohydrates and fibre slow the release of blood sugar providing a great slow energy source. Fibre can also help to prevent constipation, encourages the growth of “friendly “bacteria in the gut, and aids the removal of toxins from the body.
Yogurt: Yogurt is an easily absorbed source of calcium. It’s also a useful milk substitute for people who can’t digest large amounts of the milk sugar, lactose.
Yogurt has long been credited with a range of therapeutic benefits, many of which involve the health of the large intestine and the relief of gastrointestinal upsets.
The bacteria Lactobacillus GG, added to some yoghurt, are not digested, and reach the large intestine intact where they top up the other friendly bacteria living there.
Read more about how to fight Swine Flu naturally and what to include in Natural First Aid Kit.
September 25, 2009