Thursday, November 15, 2012

Make your own Deodorant!

All the ingredients for odor-free armpits!

I sniffed my husband's armpit cautiously.  He had been requesting new deodorant for quite a while because the Tom's deodorant we use just wasn't doing the job anymore.  We have been trying to avoid deodorants with aluminum, and with the mainstream grocery store offerings, all we could find were Tom's and the salt crystal variety.  Both just didn't work well enough.  Our youth pastor mentioned that he and his wife used a homemade coconut oil deodorant, so I bookmarked a link online and made a mental note to try it one day.

It was a combination of a desperate husband and having finally purchased all the necessary ingredients that finally got me to make it.  I used the coconut oil and baking soda that is sold at my local Costco store, and went to a food co-op to buy Organic Corn Starch.  I wasn't about to put GMO corn on my little absorbant pits.  I mixed the stuff up and let my husband try it for a while, then after he decided it was working wonderfully, was brave enough for the sniff test.  I sniffed once...nothing.  Not even coconut smell.  Then closer and more deeply...nothing!  I was very impressed, and tried it myself, and am proud to say that it even has nixed odor that has already been established!

Today, I put it to the test and, after having only put it on this morning, weed-whacked for a few hours.  I came inside, and there was no stink!  So I feel like running joyously through a parking lot and yelling "It works!   It works!", like the Doc did in Back to the Future.  Instead, I will share with you the recipe I found at Passionate Homemaking.

Homemade Deodorant

5-6 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
1/4 Cup Baking Soda
1/4 Cup Corn Starch or Arrowroot Powder

Store in a container, or even put it in your old deodorant dispenser.
I put a little less than a pea sized dab on each armpit and am good to go.  The residual oil can be rubbed into my skin and smells good for a bit.  The coconut smell dissipates, becoming very faint.

Enjoy your now odor free pits!

The container we store our deodorant in.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

On Roots

My littlest brother has moved back home to Hawai'i.  Yes, I'm a little envious, and no, it's not because of our short cloudy days here in the Pacific Northwest.  It's more than that. It seems that the place I was raised holds a certain kind of gravity for me.  I wonder if it's sort of like what the Pacific Golden Plover feels when she's drawn back to Hawaii after breeding and nesting way up in Alaska.  She has two homes, equally vital in her life.

It is curious to me that our modern American society prides itself in being in a constant state of upheaval and moving.  Historically, moving away from a homeland has not been seen as a positive thing.  I think of the Jewish diaspora, the African slave trade; the Native American Trail of tears.  I think of Cain, the fourth person spoken of in the Bible, whose punishment was to be unable to grow crops and to wander restlessly over the earth.

Today, most of our food is grown by very large farms, and the real estate statistics show that people tend to move every three to five years.  We came to the "new world" looking for something better, but we are finding it doesn't satisfy, and so we wander restlessly, following job leads, romance or adventure.  Often, though, there is a place that our heart remembers.   It's the place we see as home.  And so we are drawn to it, as a monarch butterfly to the place its ancestors lived.

Maybe it's why I don't mind the Pacific Northwest so much.  My fair, rosacea inflicted skin is much happier when a blanket of cloud is between it and the sun.  Last time I went to Hawai'i, it flared up, as if to scold me for daring expose it to actual, factual UV rays from direct semi-equatorial sunlight.  My heritage is Scottish and German, both northern and overcast climates. Washington has become home to me now.  Because I'm very stubborn, I thrive on the deadlines that the seasons give me.  If I fail at a fall garden, there's always spring.  If I've overextended myself in the summer, there's not much choice but to hang out indoors in the fall rains, and there's nothing like a short season to get you to plant some seeds on time.

My parents grew up in Indiana, then moving to Guam, American Samoa (where I was born), then Hawai'i, where they raised me and my brothers.  I remember always wishing that we could live in Indiana, if for at least a bit of the year, so that I could know my cousins and see my grandparents more.  I felt out of place in my pale skin when I tried to dance the hula, and couldn't form pidgin words the way my brothers did.

But likewise, Hawai'i was home to me.  Hawai'i has shaped who I am.  The foods I eat, the way I hug everyone all the time, the giant smile I can't manage to get off my face when I'm having a great conversation.  I'm a person who identifies with many cultures and doesn't quite have her own.  But isn't this the way the world is rapidly becoming?  We are a culture, that is, like Hawai'i, ever increasingly becoming a melting pot, and there is something lovely in that: being able to understand bits and pieces of the amazing diversity that makes up the traditions held dear from household to household.

It is important though, to remember the plover: to remember the butterfly, and the root reason for some of our restlessness.  It's a reflection of our faith journey.  Maybe we need to take the time to identify our heart's homes, to acknowledge them and to be thankful for the gift they are.  There is a hope that is found when diaspora is ended and people are reunited.  It looks a lot like Paradise.

We might not be able to remain in the same place; to cook old recipes with our grandmothers and mothers.  We can, however, carry on a few of the traditions we do remember, so that our children feel tied to something bigger than themselves, so that wandering doesn't feel aimless, but more like a walkabout away from home.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Stacey's Adorable Family

Stacey and I went to MOPS together about ten years ago, when our oldest kids were just preschoolers. Besides a senior portrait photo session, I had never done a photo shoot of teens, and I actually was really looking forward to it.  I could be creative with poses and walk far distances, because teens will smile and won't try to run away!  You'll see that they love soccer, as evidenced by the soccer balls.  In fact, as I scoped out the location, they busied themselves kicking the balls around.  Stacey told me the last photo shoot they had was when the girls were preschoolers, so it was an honor to be able to document their lovely, more mature family.