How important is pH balance in soap?

Are we balanced?

(pH balanced, that is...)

Dear Renee,
     What is the pH of  the Goat Milk & Honey and your other soaps? I am on a search for natural/healthy soap bars that are pH balanced.

When I dug into this a bit more, I found out there's a whole marketing war out there when you bring up the phrase "pH balance" and soap. More on that in a minute.

First, what pH does MadeOn's soap have? I'll start with my soap maker Rosemarie's answer:

     You always want the pH to be below 10. Normal soap pH is between 7 and 10, with 7 being neutral.  We do not want any free lye remaining in the soap and lye has a pH of 14. Goat milk contains caprylic acid which helps bring the pH close to human skin which is 4.5 - 7. The soap I make for MadeOn has a pH of 7 {possibly slightly higher}.

That's pretty much all one needs to know to have the confidence that MadeOn's goat milk soap is not just safe, but has something that the goat milk provides to make it even better than other handcrafted soaps.
Kelly in San Diego, regarding the Oatmeal Honey goat milk soap: The feel and smell of this soap is divine. I put it in the cabinet and every time the door opened I could smell the uplifting scent. That scent was even better when used in the shower. WOW!
  Click to view our latest soap...
To educate you further, we have a soap maker with a background in chemistry and lab work who has experienced first hand the controversy and claims regarding soap pH. According to Regina Bauscher, the claim of “pH balanced” is nothing more than a marketing promotional hype that large companies are using to scare people into buying their products. She answers my questions below:

What's the deal with the pH controversy? Companies make the claim that their soaps are “pH balanced” as a form of marketing without any regard to the actual science.  In an effort to combat the exploding natural handmade soap market, companies make the claim that soaps with a pH of 9 – 10 are harsh.  A real marketing war has ensued with the claim that “pH balanced” soaps are better for you.

So these companies are doing something to their cleansers to actually lower the pH balance of a regular bar of soap? Yes. Commercial detergent based soaps are synthetic surfactants. Excess alkali is allowed to remain in the bars to harden them faster, extend their shelf life and increase lather.  It has been proven that the mix of excess alkali and detergents will dry, damage and aggravate sensitive skin.  They can damage the “stratum cornium” in the epidermis which is a functioning barrier of protection.  When this layers dries out, skin conditions follow.
A product's pH is not the real danger to your skin, but the synthetic detergents and other chemicals used in soaps, shampoos, and other cosmetics to make them"pH balanced"  –  that are damaging.  Ida from Chagrin Valley Soap
Our skin is made with a natural defense mechanism. Explain that. Our skin is naturally acidic to act as a barrier to the first wave of bacteria we face everyday. (The skin is REALLY amazing in all that it does for us.) The skin produces an acidic secretion which is called the Acid Mantle.  The mantle must be periodically cleaned of oils, dirt and germs. The most effective way to clean an acid is with a light alkaline cleanser.  In reality, properly made soaps with an alkalinity in the 8 to 10 range do no harm at all, they are actually beneficial.  Want to know why?

Yes, do tell! Why are soaps with a pH range of 8 - 10 okay? Research has shown that after washing, the skin begins to replace the acid barrier immediately.  Within 15 minutes, nearly 1/3 has been replaced.  Depending on the person, in 1- 2 hours, the acid mantle is restored. In other words – pH is a non-issue. There is no medical reason to seek low pH soap.  Remember the pH scale ranges from 0 (acids) to 14 (alkaline).  A pH of 3 is that of an orange and most naturally made soaps are 9 – 10.  A pH of 7 is water.  We use a pH meter to test the soap and we record pH results on every batch that we make for MadeOn customers.

So, “pH balanced” is a slogan that works off fear.  If you want soap that is mild and good for the skin, then you want a naturally mild alkaline cleanser, like that in natural soap.   The research is there and so are countless testimonials about skin improvement!

I appreciate the research of Rosemarie, Regina and Ida, in explaining the role of pH in soap. If you have any other questions I can get answered for you, don't hesitate to reply and let me know!

NOTE: Our goat milk soap is quickly becoming just as popular as our Beesilk lotion bars. They do sell quickly and we do our best to keep them stocked. We've added an additional Milk & Honey soap and we'll have more Lavender and Calendula in stock this month.

If you'd like to sample  one of our soaps, just leave a comment in the comment section of your order form.

Renee Harris, owner
MadeOn Skin Care

Request a sample on your next purchase!


What to do with frizzy, wavy or coiled hair {I ask the expert}

Know someone with curly hair? Forward this to her.

How do I control the frizz?

Hair Guru Scott Musgrave answers your curly hair questions.

Every now and then I get a question about our Second Life hair butter. Here's one: "I have very coarse, hair and frizzy underneath the top layer. I colored it naturally with henna and love it! I'm always looking for products/remedies for the frizzy stuff! Would your product help?"

Is it as simple as a product fix? While I worked the product with certain hair types in mind, I felt that just like with dry skin and eczema, there's likely a deeper issue at hand that could possibly be fixed with a change in the way we cut, style, or work on our hair. I asked my newsletter list what type of hair issues they had, and over 500 people responded. Most had the same questions related to:

  • frizz (will it ever go away?)
  • products and their ingredients (what's safe, what's not)
  • flat irons, brushes, relaxers and chemical treatments (should I or shouldn't I?)
  • unevenly curly hair
  • hair breakage
  • hair loss
  • no-poo method: how can I get it to work for me?

I needed a professional. I called on Scott Musgrave, who has spent the past 30 years professionally and experientially learning everything he could about curly and wavy hair. I came armed with my questions and he graciously answered them.  Keep reading and I'll tell you what I learned...

Who is Scott Musgrave? Scott has been cutting hair professionally since 1986, he has implemented the CURLYS method of training for stylists working specifically with curly hair, and he created Curly Hair Artistry, a place where Curly Hair Stylists are trained to learn all things possible with hair that's curly, wavy, coily and/or multi-cultural.
The interview lasted almost an hour, but I'll summarize the main points below.
To hear the entire interview, click the button at the bottom of this email.

Steps to create curly hair you can't help but embrace.

  1. Start with a mentality change. "Curly hair doesn't need to be fixed. It needs to be embraced," says Scott. Your hair has been cut with tools and methods made for straight hair, and you've been using products that have created the frizz. What if you your hair didn't frizz or have a triangle shape? Would you wear it curly?
  2. Stop towel drying your hair (use a t-shirt instead), and put away the flat iron and brush forever.
  3. Make sure the cleansers you use on your hair are: water soluble, silicone-free and sulfate-free. (You're used to calling them shampoos, but Scott calls them cleansers.) Sulfates explode your hair and it becomes frizzy. If you doing the no 'poo method, read this first.
  4. Rub your scalp to stimulate hair growth.
  5. Swap out your cotton pillow case with a satin pillow case.
  6. Have your hair cut by someone using the "Curl by Curl" technique. He or she should be taking a clump of curl (grouping formation) and cut more on the loose curls and less on the tighter curls. Scott talks about this in more detail in the interview.
Where to learn more:
Find a Curly Hair Specialist here.
Learn more from Scott Musgrave here.
Find Scott on Facebook.
Listen to my interview with Scott
This interview is brought to you by Second Life Hair Butter ($6.95)
Read the customer reviews to decide if this is the product for you.
Also, tune in to the conversation with Scott to find out who this product works for, and how often to use it. You do not want to over-use an oil-based product, so make sure you continue to follow Scott's guidelines above to keep your hair looking its best.

Have a great day!
Renee Harris
MadeOn Skin Care


5 Reasons I Don't Sell Sunscreen

I would love to sell sunscreen

I really would. 


I'm interested to know if you sell natural sunscreen products. If you do, what is the SPF range? Is it water repellent for sports? What is the cost?
Thank you,


Here's the deal:  while there are some great sunscreen products on the market, I know my readers well.  They prefer something where they fully understand the ingredients going into the product, and they’d like to know that they could make it themselves if they wanted to. Most importantly, they want to know that it works at least as effectively as store-bought sunscreen.
If I sold sunscreen, what would the ingredient list look like?

  1. Zinc oxide. The Environmental Working Group included zinc oxide as one of the safest ingredients to use in a sunscreen, citing that it gives “excellent UVA protection”, very little chance of an allergic reaction, no hormone disruption, and hardly any skin penetration.
  2. Coconut oil. It certainly doesn’t have to be coconut oil, but it’s what I’ve used in my family’s sunscreen and I’m sticking to it. It’s a good oil to blend the zinc oxide with, and because it’s liquefied in warmer weather, it will create a nice creamy texture to your sunscreen.
  3. Shea butter. This butter is so nourishing to the skin. Your sunscreen will not only act as a protection from UVA but it will act as a lotion to condition your skin.
  4. Beeswax. Your sunscreen needs something to emulsify the ingredients into one cream, and that’s the job of the beeswax. Beeswax is also a thickener, keeping it thick enough to hold together in your beach bag without turning it into liquid form.
That’s it! No need for oxybenzone, or octinoxate, or the common sunscreen preservative methylisothiazolinone (named “allergen of the year” by the American Contact Dermatitis Society).
So if I create the recipe that my customers approve of, and follow the SPF requirements set by the FDA, I’ve got the perfect product, right?
Not so fast, surfer.
I dove into the research last summer with the hope of having something ready for you to buy in 2015. Here’s what I found:
Prior to 2012, FDA regulations for sunscreens dealt almost exclusively with protection against sunburn, which is primarily caused by ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation from the sun. Now the FDA regulates for warnings about skin cancer and early skin aging as well, which is contributed by ultraviolet A (UVA) radiation. When you read a sunscreen label offering “broad spectrum” sun protection, that product has been tested for both UVB and UVA.   
If I wanted to sell a sunscreen online, here’s what I would need to do:
  1. I would need to send in a batch of sunscreen to be tested at an FDA approved test facility. I checked around and found that these cost several thousand dollars. This shouldn’t stop the savvy business person if there’s a good return on investment, but…
  2. Testing one batch does not mean automatic approval. I would have to send in batch after batch, and pay for each one, until one was approved. Ouch. That would require some serious leg work first, which can be done… but what about the hiccups like…
  3. Blending zinc oxide into your batch of sunscreen does not mean that the zinc oxide is equally blended throughout the cream. This is something to consider when you make it at home. Although you may have a fairly consistent blend, your SPF could vary (albeit slightly) within the same batch of sunscreen. There’s a risk with each batch.  Bwaaah… back to the drawing board, or investing in a very powerful blender.
  4. Zinc oxide is zinc oxide, which does leave a bit of whiteness on the skin. The more zinc that is blended in, the higher the SPF, but who wants to look like a ghost? While I might be fine with an SPF of 15, someone else might insist on a 50, which brings on an even greater amount of FDA regulation. It comes down to what my customers want…
  5. Finally, there’s the whole waterproof claim. Even if I could prove the sunscreen is waterproof, the FDA does not allow me to say that it’s waterproof. I can’t call it sunblock, either. I could call it water resistant, if I’m willing to test the length of time the sunscreen is water resistant, and pay for that test, too.

And so, I make sunscreen for my family, share the recipe online, sell the ingredients, and now that I’ve learned about the blending aspect of it (#3 above), I do want to make you aware that when you make sunscreen, you are making it at your own risk. As always, be aware of the dangers of overextended exposure to the sun and cover when necessary… with clothing, or sunscreen.
I will definitely leave that door open in the future, and if you have questions or comments, reply and let me know!

Renee Harris, owner
MadeOn Skin Care

P.S. Are you interested in even more research? Here are some links to read up on:
Regulatory Explainer: Understanding the Regulation of New Sunscreen Ingredients - Published March 2014. Explains which sunscreen ingredients are approved now, and why there’s a hold-up of having other sunscreen ingredients approved.
Labeling and Effectiveness Testing: Sunscreen Drug Products for Over-The-Counter Human Use – Published December 2012. Everything you want to know about labeling and testing, straight from the FDA.

The Trouble With Sunscreen Chemicals – Published 2015. The Environmental Working Group’s research on sunscreen ingredients and their safety levels.


Say goodbye to shaving cream in a can

Shaving soap in 4 easy steps

Make your shave behave.

Put down the can of Barbasol spray and toss the disposable Bic.
There are benefits to using a shaving soap. They're in the form of the ingredients:
  • Bentonite clay gives a smooth, close shave and glide
  • Aloe reduces the sting of the shave
  • Castor and coconut oil adds lather
  • Olive oil moisturizes
  • Palm oil conditions

Here's how to use it:

1. Keep shaving soap on a wooden pallet to dry between use.
2. Lather up the soap with water and a brush.

Another option is to keep the bar in a ramekin dish.
Find our three shaving soap varieties, wooden pallet, and shaving brush, by clicking here.

3. apply to skin.
Use your favorite razor and shave.

For beard care, try our Second Life Hair Butter, made with nourishing ingredients to keep the beard conditioned and tamed.

For more shaving tips, check out this post from The Art of Manliness:

Renee Harris, owner
MadeOn Skin Care

P.S. Does the man in your household use a shaving brush and soap bar? Tell us on Facebook what made him decide to shave this way.



Meet the Ladies who make your Soap

Meet Rosemarie and Michelle...

Why Goat Milk? (and other Q&A)

Find out why goat milk helps with everything from dry, project-working hands, to your kid's annoying eczema.  We'll get into that and more with interviews with the ladies who bring you your goat's milk soap.

MadeOn's soapmakers, Michelle and Rosemarie, will dig in and tell you exactly why goat milk soap is better, but the most obvious difference is that goat milk soap (made with real goat milk!) is nourishing and non-drying. You will notice it the first time you wash your hands.

This is how we started with goat milk soap in the shop: I hadn't thought of selling, or even using, goat milk soap when I started MadeOn. As far as I was concerned, MadeOn was all about the lotion bar. Then one day, I found this comment on one of my YouTube videos where I was showing my nephew covered in itchy eczema:

"Try incorporating fresh goat milk in the [shea] is amazing! I have been making goat milk soap for 9+ years and I have gotten so many testimonials from people who have eczema that now will use nothing but my soap and butters on their skin."  -Rosemarie

Rosemarie then sent me several of her bars of soap to try out.
After that, I was hooked, and I've been using and selling her soap for the past four years.

Read what our customers say about the goat milk soap, and then get to know Rosemarie and Michelle through our Q and A.
Reviewer: Karen from , Arlington, WA  
Lovely soap. Does not dry out my hands. I wash frequently because I cook, and also care for pets and livestock. I recommend the Calendula Goat Milk Soap.
Reviewer: Linda Walston from Ontario, CA United States  
I love just this soap.  I have thrown everything else out.  My skin is softer and I don't need to use as much lotion.
Reviewer: Kerry Armentano from Maineville, OH United States  
I have sensitive skin that is prone to dryness, itching, and flaking. This soap has been wonderful for calming the itch, and moisturizing my skin. I have seen and felt a marked difference in my skin.
 Meet Rosemarie.

  1. How long have you been raising goats?  Since 2002.
  2. When did you start making soap from the goat’s milk? I was making "melt and pour" soap for a couple years. We started getting milk from our first two does and then I wanted to make everything I could with the milk: soap, cheese, ice cream... fudge!
  3. How did you learn? I researched and read book after book after book for about a year.  My reason for getting the goats was to make soap so I was learning all I could about raising and caring for the goats as well as researching soap making.
  4. Why is goat milk soap so much more nourishing than other soap?  Any handmade soap is better than a commercial bar …which is actually a detergent bar.  Alpha hydroxyl acids found in goat's milk work with skin instead of breaking it down and aging it further.  It reduces skin inflammation due to its fat molecule content. The cream present in goat's milk is a moisturizer, soothing dry and damaged skin.
The story continues. If you've been buying goat milk soap from us for the past few years, you've probably experienced an "out of stock" message in the store on at least one occasion... We had far more demand than supply.

So I called in Michelle, who has been raising goats, making soap, and selling locally since 2005. She's now an avid soap producer for MadeOn so that we can keep the soap on the shelves... and in your showers. 
  1. Is there a time of year when your goats are producing the most amount of milk? Goats peak in milk production about 10 weeks after they kid (give birth), so in late spring/early summer we are usually swimming in milk! I breed for high milk production with an emphasis on high butterfat & protein levels as well as long production, and we usually milk our goats for at least 10 months before they get maternity leave.
  2. Sometimes people are afraid of using a soap containing lye. Can you talk about that? A well-made bar of soap contains no lye, but it should be listed on the label as it was a catalyst used in the chemical process of creating soap. The only soap that does not contain lye isn't really a soap, it is a synthetic detergent- like SLSA (sodium lauryl sulfoacetate).  Our soap is carefully crafted to have no lye remaining after it is made, and the soap I create for MadeOn is formulated with extra oils to make it even more mild.
  3. Why is goat milk soap so much more nourishing than other soap?
    Many commercial soaps aren't even really soap, they are made with synthetic detergents with glycerin added for moisturizing. Glycerin is produced as a natural part of the chemical reaction that creates soap, and all handcrafted soap makers leave all that glycerin in their soaps. Goat milk has the added benefits of being a good natural source of an alpha hydroxy acid, lactic acid, (which aids in removing dead skin cells), vitamins (such as vitamin A), and minerals (such as selenium) that are not in soaps made with just water. The natural butterfat in the goat milk also adds to the creamy lather and mild nature of the soap.
  Our Goat Milk Soap comes in:
  • Milk and Honey
  • Calendula
  • Coffee
  • Lavender

Shop for soap
Stay clean,
Renee Harris
MadeOn Skin Care

PS I almost forgot about the other ladies! There's Luna, Helen, Lillie, Selah, Bravada, Streamer, Skittles, Limon, and the many other goats who are part of the process....


The bees pay more in taxes than we do...  


Be glad you're not a bee...

Did you know that if we were to start with January 1, 2015, it would take until April 24th before we (the U.S. nation as a whole), would have paid off our tax bill and the rest of the money we make in 2015 is our income after taxes?

How about the bees? Bees are also hard-working producers. One hive alone can produce about 60 pounds of honey. Beekeepers can't take all 60 pounds of honey, however.  That would be like taxing the poor creatures at 100%.  Bees need honey as food storage for the winter.

But the bees don't need all that honey. They only need about 1/3 to 1/2  of it. So in a sense, they pay at least 50% in taxes and keep the rest for themselves.

It's April 15. While we have filed our taxes, and we'll continue to pay every day until April 24th, the bees are still paying until around June 30th. Feel better now?

One more thing. Bees work themselves to death. Literally. The males are pretty much kicked out of the hive when winter approaches, and the females are so busy that they only live about a month or so. Don't be like that.

Let me give you something to ease the pain of taxes.

There's a free gift when you shop MadeOn and purchase $25' worth of products. Click this link to find out what it is.
Here's to a relaxing April 15th!
Renee Harris
MadeOn Skin Care

P.S. Before I forget, there's a free video series that ties in nicely with this email. If you've ever wanted a home organizer to come into your home and give you tips to create a relaxing atmosphere and get on top of the days' responsibilities, tune into this conversation and mentoring from Holly of Day 1 of the 4 day video series starts with the mountain of laundry. Tune in here:

How safe are the mosquito-repelling essential oils in this all natural bug block?

All-Natural Bug Block.

How safe are the essential oils in it?

Over the past few years, everyone has been touting the benefits and remedies of essential oils. Now there seems to be some questioning going on about the potential toxicity and dangers of them.

Last year a well-respected blogger wrote to tell me that she didn't feel comfortable telling her audience about our Bug Block because the percentage of essential oil to the rest of the recipe was too high. It wasn't safe, she said.

Ingredient list: beeswax, shea butter, coconut oil, and essential oils of cedarwood, lavender and citronella.

Where did I go for answers? To avoid getting lost in the online sea of opinions, I skipped the second hand sources and went straight to the single most respected authority on essential oils, Robert Tisserand.

Here is his review of my Bug Block ratios in direct response to my questions:

Response from Robert Tisserand (RT):

Based on the recipe you gave me, your essential oils total about 7.5%. With the 3 essential oils in equal proportion, that's 2.5% of each.

According to Mr. Tisserand, for most users, this is completely within the safe zone. Let's dig in a bit deeper:

Are these safe levels for each of these three oils (citronella, lavender and cedarwood)? RT: Yes they are. Just know that very occasional allergic reactions are possible with almost anything, though I don't think you need to have a warning on your label.

Are they safe for all ages of people? RT: Well, there are no clear guidelines for a product like this, but 7.5% EO would be high for an infant (up to two years) and might even be high up to 5 years. In the end, your call.

Would changing the individual oil ratio make any difference to safety? RT: No, they are all very safe oils in terms of adverse skin reactions, and also general toxicity.

Does essential oil added to a melted product that would solidify to a solid state make the essential oil less effective? - no, this will not make it less effective, the worst that can happen is that you get slight evaporation and EO loss due to the heat.

The bottom line: this expert feels the amounts and types of ingredients used in our all-natural Bug Block are completely within the safe zone for essential oil usage (with the exception of babies and toddlers, and possibly those under the age of five).

Based on Mr. Tisserand's review, I have updated my product information to cite a caution of babies and children under five using the product. I'm very grateful to Robert Tisserand for sharing his expertise with me. Mr. Tisserand is the author of Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals-, 2e (aff link).  His book is a hefty 700+ pages and pricey, although a bargain for the amount of information he shares in it.

Renee Harris, owner
MadeOn Skin Care

P.S. Now you know the essential oils in this bug block are safe. But do you know why mosquitoes can't stand them? (It might surprise you). Find out in my next message.


Act on your Craft ebook is now for sale on Amazon

After writing four short ebooks of skin care recipes, I finally put together something that has interested many of my readers for quite some time, based on the questions I get about selling products.

The experiences of selling at craft fairs and farmers markets are really what drove me to figure out a way to explain my products online, through a website, where traffic would come to learn and buy. But first, I had to learn how to do that in person.

Farmers markets were the way to go, especially when explaining something unique like hard lotion.

In this ebook, I compile not only my own experiences, but also the ideas, trials, and successes of many other female business owners who have figured it out.

Buy the pdf version of the ebook on my website, or click here to get it on your Kindle device through Amazon.  For a limited time, the Amazon version is only 99 cents.


Living among Coconut Trees in Ivory Coast

Photo Credit: click photo

In the last post, you read about Lisa's experience of growing and harvesting cacao (cocoa) in her own backyard.

She and her family also planted coconut trees. Here's her story:

The coconut trees produce in about six years. We just plop a coconut that has sprouted in the soil and off it goes. Our trees were over a story tall, maybe two, and the boys would shimmy up them with no problem.  Then they would grab the fronds and pull themselves up in the crown to stand there. They were a part of the huge rattle top that swayed in the wind. We would harvest them when they were green because that is when you can get the sweet milk from them. There were coconut trees in the village but someone said they were hexed and the cause of the village's problems (I don't know why) so they cut them down. That was a pity.


Growing Up Among Cacao (Cocoa) Trees

Photo Credit: click photo (Wikimedia)

Last month I was privileged to meet Lisa, a mom of three who, with her husband, raised their children on the west side of Ivory Coast. The stories she shared about the cacao (cocoa) trees were fascinating.

Here's her story:

In the region where we lived were many cacao growers. They plant the trees and manage them. The cacao trees produce in around four years.  Cacao is the French derivation for cocoa. Ivory Coast is a French country where French is the business language. They harvest the beans then they are fermented I think for about 7 days under banana leaves.  Then they are turned and covered again for another 7, or so, before laying them out in the sun to dry. The people then sell the harvested beans to the Lebanese, who are the middle men.  Then they are sold to the large companies like Hersheys who will extract the cocoa butter from it and process it.

We also put in some cacao trees and our kids harvested them and did the above.  We then made chocolate cake with it. It was lumpy and we didn't process it so it was rich. The kids also liked to suck on the cocoa beans when they first came out of the pod. They have a sweet/sour white pulp on them.

We had a dinner once where we invited around ten men and twenty showed up. (The men and women don't eat together so we invited the men.)  For dessert we served chocolate cake. They were astounded at it and said it was so sweet. We told them that it came from their cocoa beans. They exclaimed in delight, "Ah, so that is what they do with it."

Lisa also lived among coconut trees.... read that post here.




Why I Purchased Several Bundles for Friends

I just bought a bunch of bundles for my friends...

It's Renee from MadeOn here and I want to tell you why I did that. I've participated in bundle sales before, both as an e-book author, and as a company contributing gifts to those who buy the bundle, but this year's Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle is the first bundle that got me so excited that I purchased some for friends. Here's why:
  • Every friend I offered this to has some degree of interest in healthy living, so I knew they'd be excited about the content.
  • My friend Sara already bought the bundle before I had a chance to offer it to her, and she urged the others to accept my offer. She's an expert on allergies and really helped me work through a 6 month allergy issue I had with my 11 year old, to figure out what his symptoms were coming from.
  • Elizabeth and Marla both were already quite familiar with essential oils (Elizabeth bought me one of my favorite EO books a few years ago and Marla now sells EO's), so I figured they'd enjoy the BONUS essential oils course that comes with the bundle purchase (it's one of the free e-courses, valued at $95).
  • Angie lives a few miles away and we sometimes compare notes about local doctors, chiropractors and massage therapists, so I know she'll be interested in the books, especially the health-related ones.
  • Stacey recently researched natural alternatives to a skin condition she was dealing with this past summer, so I know she'll be excited to have a wealth of resources from not just the e-books in the bundle, but the many blogs, which are the starting point to researching healthy alternatives.
  • Janet is someone who understands science and biology well, and she likes to research, so I think she's going to dig the opportunity to get into sourdough baking and fermenting, especially with the sourdough starter bonus she can take advantage of.
  • My friend Doina hasn't answered my offer yet, but she's put me on to so many fabulous food blogs over the years that I'm not surprised if she already bought it. (Doina? Are you reading this? Read your FB message!)  Kate and Katy also haven't responded yet but both just had babies in the past two months, so if they let me purchase the bundle for them, they'll want to get the freebies from The Joyful Giraffe and Sweet Bottoms. Kate is a Master Gardener and the bundle includes six gardening/homesteading e-books. If Elaine, whose infant son suffers from extreme eczema, can get any relief or answers from even one of these resources (there's an e-book on that, too!), the bundle will be completely worth it for her.
Do YOU have a friend who might be interested in the bundle before it's gone? You only have until Monday at midnight to take advantage of it, and then it's gone. Tell a friend!

Thank you, friends: it's because so many of you have already purchased the bundle through my recommendation and affiliate links, and also took advantage of MadeOn's free gift offer, that I can now buy bundles for some of my close friends. If you've purchased, I'd love to hear what your favorite part of the bundle has been. Reply and let me know!

About the free essential oils e-course

Essential Oil Confusion?

…the e-course that comes with the bundle.

In a previous email, I told you about MadeOn's part as a sponsor in the Healthy Living Bundle happening right now.  Because you've shown interest in DIY or specials, I want to make sure you knew about this other company's e-course that comes with the bundle. 

In addition to the gift you receive from MadeOn for purchasing the bundle (for $29.97), you'll also have access to a $95 e-course from Vintage Remedies, Inc. 

I took the first class and I'm impressed. The first few videos explained the various forms of aromatherapy and why there's confusion between the approaches and philosophies. If you're trying to make sense of what you read online and in books, this course will help you sort through all the information to make the best decisions for your family.

What I like: It's an e-course… with a quiz… that won't let you continue until you've passed it. And, you have a timeline to complete the course. You can pace yourself, but it's not something to sign up for and forget about. 

What else I like: I took the course, and then used the recipe to make a very simple antimicrobial spray. My husband loved it - it reminded him of the hospitality practiced in Turkey with a lemon cologne offered to guests for their hands when they enter the home. I loved what the spray did for my hands. It was a very light oil that felt refreshing on the skin.

And this, too: They take a scientific, evidence-based approach to essential oils, combining thousands of clinical studies with timeless tradition of botanical medicine.

What this course is NOT: You won't have to worry about having essential oil sales offered to you. It's not an MLM. They don't sell oils. They sell courses, books and webinars. You can even earn a college degree through their connection with the Franklin Institute of Wellness. Advanced Phytochemistry, anyone?

So why am I promoting Vintage Remedies? Because I'm impressed with this company and I know that you, like me, get bombarded with essential oil messages daily. The founder is not only a mom, but she spent years as a childbirth professional, and then later studied both in the U.S. and London, to eventually becoming a professional teacher and conference speaker. Another course instructor is certified in culinary arts, and you can expect to learn which essential oils are safe to integrate into your baking. 

This is a fabulous opportunity because this $95 course comes FREE with the purchase of a Healthy Living Bundle.  But the bundle ends soon.

If you have any questions, feel free to reply to email me or go check out Vintage Remedies to see what they're all about:


Disclosure: I am a sponsor (I offer free stuff) and an affiliate (I get a cut if you buy the bundle using my link). Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.


ebook review: The Super Simple Guide to Decluttering and Deep Cleaning

The Super Simple Guide to Decluttering and Deep Cleaning: One of the paperback books that changed the way I cleaned house over 10 years ago was Don Aslett's "Clutter's Last Stand."  Have you read it? That was when I decided I didn't need to hang onto my high school yearbooks, the boxes of curriculum from my high school teaching days, and a few wedding gifts still in boxes from people whose names I didn't recognize. This isn't one of Don's books, but it's right up there in value, because the author Sandy Kreps not only encourages the reader to toss what isn't being used, she gives bite size chunks of challenges that will make cleaning your home a cinch. 

What I like: "This ebook is a crash course in home simplifying and deep cleaning. With this ebook, you can do a complete once-over of your entire home in as little as one weekend."

How can you not want to read a book has this as the goal?!  Now there are steps that you'll need to accomplish in order to get to that point but those steps are broken down into manageable pieces. This book also includes information on "green" cleaning supplies and several DIY cleaning recipes. One thing I really loved was the section on missions. This essentially a maintenance plan of 15 minute tasks to help you stay on top of clutter and deep cleaning without devoting large chunks of time. This book is sure to be a help to all us busy moms!

The Super Simple Guide to Decluttering and Deep Cleaning is one of the many ebooks in the category "Green Cleaning" included in the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle. 

About the bundle: 

Disclosure: I am a sponsor (I offer free stuff) and an affiliate (I get a cut if you buy the bundle using my link). Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.


ebook review: diy face masks and scrubs


DIY Face Masks and Scrubs: Do you know what won me over when my brother brought over his girlfriend to meet our family? She made me a vanilla sugar scrub, packaged in a Mason jar, with a note. That, my friends, will connect neighbor to neighbor, mom to mom, sister-in-law to sister-in-law. I also liked that she was incredibly respectful to my brother(who she later married) and she learned the names of all my kids on the first visit. 

What I like: You might be familiar with the author's first book on scrubs, and if you liked that one, you'll love this updated ebook.  Stacey packs it with answers to every question you could have regarding masks and scrubs. Face masks and scrubs are a wonderful way to pamper yourself while doing something helpful for your skin. By making your own, you not only get the pampering and benefits but you also choose exactly which ingredients you are putting on your skin. You may also save money in the process. DIY Face Masks and Scrubs takes you through the variety of ingredients you can use (did you know dried beans can be part of your beauty routine?), where to purchase ingredients, and gives you many techniques and recipes.  A scrub that really caught my eye is the Lavender Cocoa Scrub ~ I can almost smell it now. :) Many of the recipes contain very few ingredients that are easy to find. You might even have most of them in your kitchen. 

DIY Face Masks and Scrubs is one of the many ebooks in the category "Natural Beauty and Skin Care" included in the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle

About the bundle: 

The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle will only be on sale for 6 days – from 8am EST on Wednesday, September 10 until 11:59pm EST on Monday, September 15. The bundle includes a large selection of carefully selected ebooks, free products, ecourses (including a fitness challenge and an essential oils course!), and a guide to help you navigate through the thousands of hours of content.

But don’t wait until the last moment – there are only 30,000 bundles available and once they’re gone, they’re gone! 

Click here for more info or to buy now.

Disclosure: I am a sponsor (I offer free stuff) and an affiliate (I get a cut if you buy the bundle using my link). Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.



Ebook review: Oh Lardy's Guide to Keeping Backyard Chickens


Oh Lardy's Guide to Keeping Backyard Chickens : I have eight kids and we homeschool, so naturally, the second most asked question I get is, "so do you raise chickens?"  (The first is the round-about "why" question, like are we Mormon or Catholic or somethin'?)  The answer to the chicken question: no, we don't have chickens, we don't milk our own goat, and I can't get a garden to grow to save my life. But still, I like to read about farm animals and agriculture from the experts. (And you want to know about my faith? Ask me and I'll tell ya :) )

What I like:Written with plenty of humor this book is not only educational but also entertaining. Whether you are ready to start your backyard flock or just dreaming about it this book is a great addition to your library. The authors' take you through the process from choosing the right chicks, to building housing, to feed and care of your flock. They also discuss practical matters like how many birds your family might need to keep supplied in eggs, collecting the eggs and just how much poop those little birds produce plus what to do with it. Oh, and they answer the important question of "Why did the chicken cross the road?" ;)

The Lardy's Guide to Keeping Backyard Chickens is one of the many ebooks in the category "Gardening and Homesteading" included in the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle

About the bundle: 

The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle will only be on sale for 6 days – from 8am EST on Wednesday, September 10 until 11:59pm EST on Monday, September 15. The bundle includes a large selection of carefully selected ebooks, free products, ecourses (including a fitness challenge and an essential oils course!), and a guide to help you navigate through the thousands of hours of content.

But don’t wait until the last moment – there are only 30,000 bundles available and once they’re gone, they’re gone! 

Click here for more info or to buy now.

Disclosure: I am a sponsor (I offer free stuff) and an affiliate (I get a cut if you buy the bundle using my link). Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.


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