Sunday, August 1, 2010

Our Hybrid Home Ec/Environmental Concerns Class

With all the fun projects I've found and want to undertake I've decided to turn it into a learning experience for Lil. We had already planned on doing a Home Ec sort of class and an Environmental Issues class.
It works out really well because the co op she is in is doing a class called "Roots & Shoots"
"Roots & Shoots is the Jane Goodall Institute's environmental and humanitarian program for youth (preschool to university). Their mission is to foster respect and compassion for all living things, to promote understanding of all cultures and beliefs and to inspire each individual to take action to make the world a better place for animals, the environment and the human community"
So it will tie in nicely with that.
We can tie in several different things as we go along.

I think our plan is going to be this:

First 9 Weeks:
We will concentrate on Waste in the typical house. Paper Plates, Paper Towels, disposable everything and make our own cloth products. Here we will make our own kitchen towels, napkins, maybe even tissues, and even bathroom cloth.
I think we'll discuss a bit about "Mama Cloth" or reusable menstrual solutions and maybe try making some as well. That will fit into her 'Health" class anyway. She's not quite ready for that product, but she will be soon. ;-)

Second 9 Weeks:
I think we will concentrate on the harsh chemicals in most cleaners. So from there we might try to do a few "Safe" experiments, depending on what I feel comfortable with. I am saving all the 'yucky' chemicals I have right now to show her where and how to properly dispose of them. And we will freecycle some too.
We will make our own products. (I'm actually hoping to have some before this, but we'll make more)
We will make laundry detergent, softner, household cleaning products, soaps, shampoos, etc etc

Third 9 Weeks:
We will concentrate on herbal remedies. This one should be rather fun because from there we have some excellent people that can give us great advice and help us stock our natural medicine cabinet.
We will get rid of all our products we don't need anymore. Go through the medicine cabinet which I'm quite sure needs a good purge and dispose of the expired and everything else properly.

Fourth 9 Weeks:
We will concentrate on whatever misc products we want to from there! I'm going to challenge her to look around and products she uses or we use at home and see if there is a home made alternative. I will give her specifics and start her out with lotions, powders and candles. Then we will go from there.

So, in honor of our new class, I will share a few of the 'recipes" I have gathered recently.

Laundry Detergent:

1 Bar Soap; (Ivory, Fels Naptha, Zote, Castile)

1/2 Cup Washing Soda

1/2 Cup Borax

Opt. Essential Oil of your choice

Grate soap into large sauce pan (or shave with knife).
Add 6 Cups water, heat and stir till soap melts.
Add Soda and Borax and dissolve.
Pour 4 Cups Hot Water into 2 Gallon Bucket, add soap mixture and stir.

Add 1 Gallon + 6 Cups water and stir. Let sit 24 hours. It will then start to gel up a bit which is what you want.

Laundry Softener:
Too Easy on this one, Not even a 'recipe'.

Just add 1/4 cup white vinegar. If you want you can try a few drops Essential Oils of your preferred scent.

Bug Repellent:

Mix Equal Parts Witch Hazel and Distilled Water in a spray bottle.
Add in one drop each of citronella and peppermint essential oil per each ounce fluid ounce.


3 oz Honey

4 oz finely ground almonds

2 oz Apple Cider Vinegar
2 oz Distilled Water
6 drops Lavender Essential Oil

Mix all in a bottle and shake well. Use and then when skin is still slightly damp, apply a bit of coconut oil, cosmetic grade sweet almond oil or oil of your choice

All Purpose Cleaning Spray:

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup white vinegar

20 drops essential oil of your choice

Mix all in spray bottle

Disinfectant Spray:
16 oz spray bottle, fill half way with water

add in 2 tbs castile soap

30 drops Tea Tree oil

Shake well, fill the rest of the way up with water.

Homemade Toothpaste:

2 tbs Coconut Oil

3 tbs baking soda

20-25 drops peppermint or spearmint oil

Put all ingredients in plastic type bag, mush, cut off a corner and go! Or mix together well and store in a small jar.

Baby Bath Milk
1 cup
powdered milk
¼ cup corn starch
¼ cup finely ground oats
2-3 drops lavender, rose, or chamomile essential oils

Mix ingredients together and put in a shaker style bottle. To use, sprinkle a small amount in warm bath water.

That's all for now, but we'll add some more as we go along.


  1. That is awesome! I want to try the laundry detergent, where would one get Borax?

  2. Mark,I've seen Borax in the laundry aisles at grocery stores (and I'm sure the Massive Mart has it as well)... it's usually on a top or bottom shelf with the odds and ends type items.

  3. I'd just be careful when making soaps if you're going to go the entirely homemade route, because lye is very caustic and needs to be handled with extreme care. You can always do melt and pour soaps if you're not comfortable with using lye.

    But I think this all sounds so great. I hope to teach my kids a lot of stuff like this, too, even if we end up not home-schooling.

  4. Sco and Z, yes, I found most everything I needed at Kroger. (After searching all the 'natural' aisles everywhere I could think of, haha!
    I went to Kroger and got a pretty good supply cabinet stock:
    Washing Soda
    Baking Soda
    Castile Soap (Both liquid and bar)
    Ivory bar soap
    Lavender Essential Oil
    Tea Tree Oil
    Eucalyptus Essential Oil
    White Vinegar
    Lemon Juice

    Umm I think that's what I found there.

    I'm also going to make a trip to Earth Fare in Turkey Creek as I hear it has most everything there.

    I think I'll pass on the homemade soap at the moment. I think I'll stick with the Castile and Ivory, maybe later.... We'll see.

    I am going to make up a little before we get 'started' in those areas just to have now. Then we can tweak and play around and make back up supplies or even holiday gifts with the rest as we go through the school year.