If you’re in sore need of a little unwind time – or a really spiffy homemade gift – there’s good news. Transforming the family room into a spa is actually a snap – with a few simple and natural ingredients!
To help local moms (and dads?) forge a little indulgence, we enlisted the help of two Michigan mamas who know a thing or two about relaxation – and put together some easy and fun recipes. The ingredients here are all safe (though you’ll want to supervise if your kids pitch in), and can be found at most local supermarkets and health food stores.
Nancy Schaap, owner of Brittanie’s Thyme in Cedar Springs, Michigan, says homemade beauty products are not only economical; they’re healthier.
"Simplicity is a big factor – avoiding what we call artificial or synthetic chemicals, which quite often are toxic, as well as preservatives, which we find in so many over-the-counter skin care products, cosmetics and even food," she says. "I feel it’s beneficial to overall health, both internally and externally." Her all-organic products are additive-free.
And her two recipes – shared below – are super kid-friendly, Schaap adds, and perfect for moms.
Fragranced Mineral Bath Salt
- 1 cup sea salt
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 20 drops of your choice of fragrant oil (Schaap recommends citrus, mint or floral scents)*
- Combine ingredients in glass or stainless steel bowl.
- Using a fork, stir thoroughly.
- Store in a glass jar (deck it out with stickers, buttons, ribbons, etc., if you choose)
- Use three tablespoons for each bath. Keeps for up to six months.
*Even if children are supervised while preparing, do not use essential oils, as they are highly concentrated and can be harmful to the skin.
Herbal Body Powder
- 1 cup arrowroot powder
- 25 drops of fragrant oil
- Mix ingredients until smooth. Arrowroot is a fine powder, so using a blender is recommended.
- Use over entire body, just after bath.
- Store in decorated shaker container or glass jar with powder puff.
When it comes to relaxation, one of the most effective scents is lavender, says Iris Underwood, owner of Yule Love It Lavender Farm in Leonard, Michigan, in Oakland County.
"A lot of people think it’s just the scent, but it does release an oil that relaxes the nervous system. That’s why lavender is the No. 1 scent," Underwood says.
Underwood offers a pair of simple, lavender-luscious recipes here.
Heart Lavender Sachet
- Scrap fabric or handkerchief
- 1/8 cup dried lavender
- Button, ribbons or other embellishments
- Cut two six-inch heart shapes from fabric.
- Place 1/8 cup dried lavender in middle and cover with other piece.
- Stitch together or staple ends.
- If you’re feeling crafty (or would like to give this as a gift), decorate with buttons, ribbons, or other embellishments.
- Use in linen closet, purse, etc.
Yule Love It Lavender Brownies
- Store-bought brownie mix
- 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
- 1 Tbsp. organic lavender
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan and dust lightly with flour.
- Prepare brownie mix. Stir in nuts, lavender and chocolate chips.
- Bake at 350 degrees. (Toothpick should come out clean two inches from edge of pan.)
- Cool before serving.