5 (Almost) Free Ways to Say Goodbye to Dry Winter Hair

We all have a bad hair day now and then. But winter winds can make it feel like you’re having a bad hair season! From hat-head to split ends, from dry to frizzy, harsh winters can wreak havoc on your hair. If you spend a lot of time outside, the icy rain, snow, and winter winds can cause your hair to tangle or become brittle and dry. Spend your days inside? The constant dry heat can also do real damage to your tresses. So before Jack Frost starts nipping at your ponytail, here are five tips that will have you saying goodbye to dry winter hair before it starts. And I’ll bet you already have these remedies in your kitchen – meaning these frugal tips are really freebies!

Extra Moisture

As the seasons’ change and that all-too-familiar nip in the air starts to descend, it’s time to add a little extra moisture for your hair. Look for shampoos that infused with naturally hydrating oils such as almond oil or shea butter and are labeled ‘moisture-rich.’ Or, add a few drops of almond oil to your favorite conditioner and shake to combine. Massage the conditioner into your scalp, and keep it on your hair for up to five minutes. For extra moisture, pop a shower cap on to take maximum advantage of the shower’s heat, help your hair absorb the extra moisture.

Cool Rinse

A cool rinse can be a lot to ask, especially when it’s cold outside. But resist your urge to crank up the temperature. A cool water rinse boosts shine and helps keep valuable oils where they belong – on your scalp.

Skip the Dry Heat

Whenever possible, choose a combination of towel and air drying of your hair instead of using a hairdryer. The dry heat of your hairdryer can cause extra damage to hair that’s already beginning to lose its moisture.

Raid the kitchen for moisturizing hair conditioners like coconut oil

Leave-In Conditioner

As your hair begins to dry, use a small amount of leave-in conditioner for extra moisture. Coconut oil (about the size of a dime for shoulder length hair) or avocado oil is also great to use, squeezing it into the ends of your hair for extra emphasis. Coconut and avocado oil are also great for controlling dry, flyaway hair, all too common during the colder months.

Weekly Treatment

Every week, pamper your hair with a homemade oil mask. Warm a tablespoon of coconut, almond, avocado, or olive oil in the microwave or on the stovetop. After checking to make sure the oil isn’t too hot to handle, massage it throughout your hair. Start at your scalp and work it all the way to the ends. Next, tuck your hair under a shower cap, or wrap in cling film and a towel on top, turban style. The added heat from the towel will help your hair absorb the natural oil. Leave one for an hour, then wash your hair as usual. You’ll love how your hair feels after this treatment.
Do you have a favorite tip for saying goodbye to dry winter hair, and hello to soft, supple, shiny curls all winter long? Let me know in the comments below.

4 Products That You Should Always DIY if You Care About Your Health and Your Wallet

Who doesn’t like a few extra coins in their pocket at the end of the week? Saving money is always an excellent reason to DIY, but it’s not the only reason. In some cases, the cost of not making it from scratch is a lot more than just money. While that bottle of face cream from the dollar store might be easy on your bank account in the immediate, your health and the environment are paying the price for all that “convenience.” And it really isn’t so convenient when you consider how easy it is to make at home.

Deodorants

In addition to frequently being testing on animals for unwanted skin reactions, aluminum-based antiperspirants and deodorants have been linked to a rise in breast cancer rates around the world. Our bodies need to sweat; it’s how we eliminate toxins. To block that natural process, to keep those toxins inside of us, is just plain dangerous. The simplest and most efficient way to keep unwelcome odors at bay is to dip moist fingertips into a small bowl of baking soda and apply it to the underarm area. That’s it: no mixing, no recipe, just baking soda. Its natural properties will keep you smelling fresh.

Feeling creative? You can always add two to three drops of your favorite essential oil and mix for a fun fragrance.

Create your a truly original scent in minutes

Perfume

Speaking of fragrances, many of the synthetic chemicals found in fragrances, including expensive big-name brands, have been linked to hormone disruption and even cancer. Parabens, found in many fragrances, are also found in pesticides. You wouldn’t spray pesticides on your skin daily, why do it with your perfume? Use distilled water (200 ml) with a few drops of essential oil and a tablespoon of vodka instead. Shake before using it.

Sinusitis Remedy

If the changing seasons have you sniffling, you may be thinking a trip to the doctor is your only course of action for relief. And if your symptoms last more than a few days, that may be in order. But if you’re in the initial stages of discomfort, why not try to save yourself from a course of damaging antibiotics or worse, a steroidal nasal spray. Bring a kettle of water to a steady boil and carefully pour it into a heatproof bowl. Add two drops of tea tree oil. Bend forward over the bowl and cover your head with a towel. Breathe deeply. The antibacterial properties of the tea tree oil will help combat any unfriendly bacteria, and the steam will keep your nasal passages moist and feeling healthy.

Wash and reuse old cosmetic or cream jars, or use small mason jars for your homemade eye cream

Eye Cream

We all know that the eyes are the window to the soul. But did you realize that the delicate under-eye skin is a gateway to your bloodstream? Whatever you put on your skin will be absorbed by your skin. So why are you taking chances? Put three tablespoons of coconut oil into a clean container. If the coconut oil is solid, you can submerge your jar in a bowl of hot water until it liquefies. Add to the coconut oil the contents of three vitamin E capsules, or 1/2 teaspoon vitamin E oil. Mix well and allow the oils to solidify once again. It’s now ready to use. No refrigeration is needed.

5 Steps to Raising Money-Smart Kids

Money-smart adults don’t always start out as money-smart kids.  

How many of us think back to our childhood and wish we had been taught about money? Too many young adults graduate from college without the slightest idea of how to manage their money or their debt. Most can’t even balance their bank account. 

But now that you’re ‘all grown up’ and mastered money & debt, you want to pass that knowledge on to your kids. And these five steps will have you raising frugal, money-smart kids who become frugal, money-smart adults in no time.

Bring Your Children To The Bank With You

Whenever you go to the bank to deposit money or pay bills, bring the children along. You’ll be giving them a real-life illustration of what it means to “save money.” For extra impact, share with your kids how good it is to save for a “rainy day.” And don’t forget to let them know that saving makes you feel happy. Children learn from us, even when we don’t realize it. 

Use a Mason Jar Instead of a Piggy Bank

Seeing their money increase or decrease can be a powerful tool for raising money-smart kids

We might reflect fondly on our youth, putting pennies in a piggy bank, but you’ll do your child greater benefit by using a clear glass mason jar for saving. A see-through jar gives your child a powerful visual of their money. Every time they make a deposit, they can see the difference. Yesterday they might have had two quarters, and today they have two quarters and three nickels. If they spend a quarter, it’s easier for them to understand they have less. 

Good Things Are Worth The Wait 

The next time you feel like making an impulse purchase tell your child you plan on waiting for a few days to be extra sure you want it. Show your children that even though you may want something today, you may not feel the same need tomorrow. Curbing impulse purchasing in your children is something that will benefit them throughout their lives.

Give An Allowance

An allowance is one of the best things you can do for your children if you want to teach them to be money-smart. When your child wants something, have them purchase it with their own money. When that money is gone, they will soon understand what it means to have no more money until the next allowance comes around. And by reducing your child’s need to ask you for money all the time, you help to develop their individual sense of financial responsibility.

Image by wei zhu

Cash Versus Credit

Rather than making a big purchase on plastic, tell your children that although you really want this item, you don’t have enough money for it right now. Let them in on your plan to save money towards the purchase of the item. When the time comes, make the purchase together. You’ll be showing your children that credit doesn’t mean buying what you can’t afford.

Teaching children about money is not always easy, but it’s always worthwhile. Remember, you aren’t raising children, you’re raising adults; money-smart adults. And that’s worth the investment!

Stay in Shape (& Save Money) With 5 Activities That Double as a Winter Workout

With all of those tasty cookies and treats that seem to be everywhere, almost everyone indulges more than they planned during the holiday season. But if you enjoy being outside, you can stay in shape this winter – without spending extra money – with these five activities that double as a workout. 

Snowmobiling

Enjoy winter sunsets after a day of snowmobiling

Sounds easy right? Well, going for a winter snowmobile ride is more of a winter workout that you may realize! To remain correctly positioned when travelling over rugged terrain, you use lower back muscles along with front and side abdominals. On average a person can burn up to 175 calories per hour just for sitting on a moving snowmobile. You really can’t get an easier workout!

Sledding

Pulling your kids can burn more than an extra hundred calories per hour!

Nothing conjures up Christmas memories more than trudging up and down a snow-covered hill with your sled flung over your shoulder. It’s fun and one heck of a workout! Did you know that you can burn up to 400 calories every hour you spend sledding? To get that type of calorie-burn in the gym you’d have to use the Stairmaster machine! Sledding has a strong cardio component. I guarantee you’ll feel the burn in your legs at the end of the day. And if you tug and.

Snowshoeing

Image by Gianni Crestani

If you’re a wildlife watcher, snowshoeing in the perfect winter workout for you. Slip on a pair of comfy vegan boots from your favorite retailer, and you’re on your way to burning up to one thousand calories per hour! That’s more than running or even cross-country skiing! Snowshoeing is also great cross-conditioning. So whether you’re a runner, a body-builder, climber, or avid yogi your training will get a boost from putting on snowshoes. And be sure to bring your camera and snap amazing winter pictures.

Snowboarding

Getting outside during the winter months can have a big impact on your overall health

Love to surf? You’ll love snowboarding. And slicing through the snow on your board will put your abdominal, thigh, and calf muscles to the test. You’ll flex and burn up to 500 calories per hour depending on your speed and how much effort you put into your ride.

Ice Skating

Have fun while keeping in shape this winter with outdoor ice-skating

You don’t need to be Tessa Virtue or Scott Moir to get a winter workout on the ice. Core muscles help with your stability, and leg muscles help you build momentum. You can burn between 350 and 550 calories per hour this winter activity that delivers an all-over full-body workout. And since you’ll burn more calories the faster your skate, consider challenging your friends to race. It’s great fun and an even greater workout.  Check local municipal websites to find out public skating times and fees.

Staying in shape during the winter doesn’t have to be a drag. With a few outdoor activities, you can get your winter workout while creating fun-filled memories that last a lifetime that don’t cost a fortune.

Winter Harvest: Rutabagas and Celeriac (Celery Root)

When it comes to winter vegetables, you might think that options are limited. But the truth is, winter is an ideal time to feast on some of the season’s cream of the crop. Squash, potatoes, cabbage, apples, pears, beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, garlic, celeriac,,…the list of late winter treasures is seemingly endless.

So as you’re planning your cold weather meals, don’t overlook your local winter harvest. 

Rediscovering The Rutabaga

Whether you call it a swede or a rutabaga it’s one of best winter’s food treat

Rutabagas get a bad rap. They are often mistaken for similar-looking turnips, and shoppers reach past them to grab brightly coloured squashes. But this purple-topped turnip-cabbage hybrid adds a ton of flavour to any meal.

Rutabagas, or ‘Swedish Turnips,’ are smooth, round, and boast a purple crown and a cream-coloured bottom. The flesh of the rutabaga is butter-yellow and far sweeter than their turnip doppelgangers.  They have a low water content, which makes them perfect for roasting and mashing. And they hold up beautifully in soups and stews. But, that’s not their only claim to fame; Rutabagas are a crunchy treat served raw in salads or coleslaw.

Rutabagas are bursting with Vitamin C (great for keeping the flu away). They’re rich in potassium, magnesium, and calcium and are an excellent source of naturally occurring fibres. 

Celebrating Celeriac (Celery Root)

Image by Hans Braxmeier

No one ever called celeriac pretty, but what this gnarly knob lacks in physical appearance it makes up for in taste! 

Pare off the rough exterior on celeriac to find a crunchy, ivory coloured flesh that will add delicate flavour, enhancing your winter dishes all season long. 

Celeriac is a mix of celery and parsley and can be eaten raw or cooked. Choose small, firm bulbs heavy for their size and pop them into the refrigerator where they’ll stay fresh for up to 10 days. 

Celeriac takes very little effort to prepare. Simply trim off the outer layer (skin) and root, then cut into small slices or chunks to roast. Celeriac tastes great boiled (in the same pot) and mashed up with Superior, Envol, Yukon Gold, or Fabula potatoes. Cut Celeriac into cubes and toss into casseroles, stews, soups, or add to the pan of your holiday pot roast. You can also shave or grate Celeriac directly into a salad for an unexpected burst of freshness.

It can be tempting to head to the freezer section of your local grocer for veggies when the temperature begins to fall. But with a winter harvest ripe for the picking, you can still enjoy fresh farm produce all winter long.

Dry Winter Skin? Homemade Lotion Bars Are The Answer

Winters can mean harsh winds that are brutal for your skin! You can slather lotion on your hands every five minutes and they’ll still cry out for more. Thankfully, this homemade rescue for dry, cracked winter skin will get rid of that itchy feeling once and for all. And because it comes in a ‘bar’ form (rather than messy lotions that can drip or spill at the worst possible moment) you can keep one with you at all times. They’re even great to use on winter-whipped chapped lips!

These fun, practical, and economical lotion bars are also a great homemade gifts. I often make several batches during those cold days I refuse to venture outside. And every time I use someone asks me where they can get one. Now I always carry an extra homemade lotion bar for dry winter skin with me, to hand out to friends and family.

With only a few ingredients, even novice do-it-yourselfers can master these use skin-saving bars.

Image by silviarita

For 16 Homemade Lotion Bars You’ll Need:

  • Coconut Oil (1 Litre)
  • Soy wax pellets (500 ml) you can use either pellets or bars
  • Essential Oil/ Fragrance (20 – 25 ml) Anything you like. My favourite combo is Patchouli and Vanilla (optional)
  • A Double boiler (If you don’t have one, don’t panic. You can improvise a double-boiler with a pot and heat-safe bowl)
  • A lotion bar mold (Silicon or rubber muffin pan, candy molds also work great. Metal muffin pan can be used too, just remember to use paper muffin liners or you’ll never get the lotion bar out!)
  • Spoon or spatula for mixing

How To Make Lotion Bars for Dry Winter Skin

  • Clear a workspace in your kitchen and get all your ingredients and utensils together.
  • Melt the soy wax in your double boiler, over medium-low heat.
  • As the soy wax begins to soften, add the coconut oil and stir gently, using your spatula.
  • Once the soy wax/ coconut oil mixture as mostly melted, add in your essential oil if you’re using it.
  • Next, pour the soy wax/ coconut oil/ fragrance combo into the molds and put in the refrigerator to cool quickly, or let cool on the counter.
  • Once the bars have cooled completely, they’re ready to use.

Relief from dry winter skin has never been so easy!

Once thoroughly cooled and firm, wrap your homemade lotion bars for dry skin with a ribbon or wrap loosely in a piece of reclaimed fabric, and they’re ready to hand out to family and friends to show them you care.

Frugal Cleaning In The New Year: 5 All-Natural Home Cleaners You Can DIY

Out with the old and in with the new!

Spring isn’t the only time that’s perfect for giving your house a good cleaning. The New Year is an ideal time for putting things in order. Cleaning your house for New Year’s is also an incredible mood booster as you enter the shortest, darkest days of winter. And for this New Year, you can get the toughest messes under control with these five all-natural home cleaners you can DIY.

Drain Cleaner

Too often when we clean our kitchen we forget to clean out our hard working drains. And that can mean clogs that slow water drainage. But have you ever read the list of ingredients on a bottle of commercial drain cleaner? You don’t want that anywhere near your food!

Instead, get rid of soap and food residue with this easy, and non-toxic drain cleaner.

Before you go to bed for the evening, simply sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda around the mouth of the drain in your sink. Then, very slowly pour some vinegar (any kind, white vinegar is cheap and works great) over the baking soda. It will bubble and fizz, letting you know it’s getting straight to work. Let it sit overnight.

In the morning, run very hot water through the drain. And that’s it. You’ll notice a difference right away. To avoid buildup, use this method to clean your drains once a month.

Image by fede13

DIY Pan Cleaner

Forget to add enough water or stock to last night’s dish? If you’re like me, you probably have one pot still soaking to get it clean. You might feel like throwing it out, but don’t. Do this instead. Place your pot or pan with the baked-on, burnt-in food in your sink. Add water about an inch or two deep and add some dish soap. Give it a swirl or two to activate the bubbles and start the soaking. Next, add approximately ¼ cup of salt (sea salt is great, but regular kitchen salt will work too). Let the pan soak, undisturbed overnight. The next day clean your pot as usual. Tough, hard to remove spots will loosen quickly. 

Floor Cleaner

Got muddy footprints in your kitchen? Paw prints on the mudroom floor? Get rid of them with a simple mixture of water and castile soap. Add 1/4 cup of castile soap to your bucket of hot water. For fragrances, you can also add a few drops of essential oil (tea tree oil gives a great clean scent and is naturally anti-bacterial).

Homemade All Purpose Bathroom Cleaner

Still have some baking soda and vinegar left over after cleaning the drains? Put them to use in your bathroom. Sprinkle baking soda straight from the box, on any bathroom surface you want to clean – toilet, counter, bathtub, sink. Next add a few drops of vinegar, just enough to make a paste. Scrub, gently. Rinse with clear water, and you’re done. Stand back and admire the shine.

Image by Monfocus

Easy DIY Laundry Detergent

Nothing seems to get kids clothes clean like this homemade laundry detergent. The fact that you’ll save a bundle on the cost is an added benefit. To make the detergent, combine the following ingredients in a large container that has a snug-fitting lid:

  • 8 cups baking soda
  • 8 cups washing soda 
  • 8 cups of grated bar soap (any kind will work, check flyers for what’s on sale)
  • 12 cups of borax

Mix with a large wooden spoon, or secure the lid and give the whole thing a few good shakes.

Directions for Use:

  • Add 1 -2 tablespoons (15 – 30 ml) per single load of laundry. 
  • This homemade laundry detergent works in all temperatures and for whites, colours, or delicates. 
  • Want a light fragrance? You guessed it, add a few drops of essential oil to the mixture.

Now that you know how to makes these frugal, vegan, easy five all-natural home cleaners, you don’t need to head to the store the next time you run out. With these cleaners, you’ll save money. You’ll also avoid damaging chemicals found in so many conventional cleaning products.