Whiten Teeth with CHARCOAL?

Being a chemical/toxin free house is an ever growing chore…  Between foods, beauty products, and cleaning products, practically everything needs a second look to determine if it’s safe or not.

Tooth whitening treatments are no exception.

I tried a commercial at home tooth whitening system a while ago, but it literally stripped layers of skin in my mouth away.  After rinsing, I could peel a layer of skin off of the inside of my cheeks.  Gross, and seriously painful.

I didn’t get past 2 days.

So, when I heard about whitening your teeth, naturally, using non-abrasive Activated Charcoal, I was both excited and nervous.  I didn’t want to run the risk of potentially destroying my mouth again.

But I gave it a shot.  And I took pictures, just for you!  You can thank me later…

Before you make fun of me… yes, my tooth is chipped and my teeth have shifted after suffering through the relaxin effects of 4 pregnancies and the loss of my retainer.

smaller tooth
The after was taken after 6 days of treatments.

For all the specifics about how this works and why it’s safe, check out Mommypotamus’s post at The Healthy Home Economist about it.

I did this twice a day for the first two days, brushing regularly and rinsing well after, and then once a day the next 4 days.

It’s not bright and shiny bleached white, which is fine with me.  Teeth are naturally ivory in color, anyway!

Captain was totally weirded out by it, but I think it’s worth a few strange looks.

Have you tried a natural tooth whitening remedy?

Our perfectly imperfect, gender neutral Neverland Birthday Bash

Cabin Girl and Mr. Monkey have birthdays 4 days apart.  Awesome planning on my end.  We decided that this year, to make things simpler (HA!), we would do a combined birthday party for them.  But, how to combine a birthday for a 7 year old girly-girl and a 2 year old rough and tumble toddler boy?

The answer, my friends, is in Never Neverland.

Pirates, mermaids, fairies, lost boys, and Indians…  Something to interest EVERYONE!

I love, love, LOVE theme parties.  And when we learned that we’d be moving at the end of this summer and that this would be our last chance to have a big party with all of our friends, I went cuh-razy.

Thanks to Pinterest, there are a million and one ideas out there for an uber planner like myself.  No thanks to Pinterest, they are all picture perfect, done in a modest budget, and oh-so simple (I hope you read my sarcasm on that last one).  Cabin Girl is starting to pick up on my joy of planning and doing, so she really wanted to be part of the process… but how can a 7 year old do all the crafty things I wanted her to in perfect Pinterest fashion?

She can’t.  So I let it go and embraced the perfection in her imperfect help, and we had So. Much. Fun.

To keep this party within a modest budget, we reused a TON of stuff, which I’ll point out, along with Cabin Girl’s handiwork, in the pictures.

Without further ado my friends, I give you our:


balloons Every party needs balloons!


Choose your costume!

Fairy wings and Indian headbands were made from scrap felt, elastic, and craft clips; Pirate eyepatches were purchased from Target; Mermaid (seashell) necklaces were found at a garage sale.

indian pirate


fairy merman

Once a costume was chosen, it was time to….


Proceed to Neverland!

We moved the curtains down from the kids’ room, cut the stars out of scrap felt and safety pinned them on, and repurposed an old valance that was going to be thrown out for our banner.

To get their treasure (goodie bags), they had to complete a scavenger hunt through Neverland!


Collect a bag, 1 feather, 1 starfish, 3 gold dubloons, and 1 flower.


The Lost Boy bag from Hangman’s Tree.


Hangman’s Tree

I used scrap fabric, bamboo skewers, and twine for the Lost Boy tents.


Blackfoot Camp

The teepees were pretty much wrecked immediately.

I repurposed the bamboo pea poles from my garden and curtains from the house. 

Feathers for the hunt were purchased from a craft store.


Mermaid Lagoon

I found a pack of prettily colored starfish at a party store.


Skull Rock

Yep, our sandbox is a Pirate ship, made of wood from the patio cover we rebuilt.

  It is always well stocked with Gold Dubloons.


Fairy Garden

Lantern lights from World Market dressed up with tissue paper wings

and a planter box with woodchips and fake flowers, found at the craft store.

All the signs were made from scrap wood and paint in our garage.  Cabin Girl had a wonderful time painting them.

Once they had collected all the items on their map, they had to come to me to get their ‘loot’ from the treasure chest filled with various toys and candy.

Meanwhile, the adults enjoyed….

blackfoot booty

treasureeggs mermaidmelon


fairyberries lostboybread


Blackfoot Bounty, Treasure Eggs, Mermaid Melon, Never Say Never Cheese, Pirate Booty, Fairy Berries, Lost Boy Bread, and Jelly Starfish.  Along with Croc Bites (meatballs) and Kraken Sausage (In hindsight, I wish I’d called them Kraken Tentacles.  Oh well.)

Cabin Girl helped name and label all of the food.

**Bit of a tangent here for a mo; Last year, I used this great tutorial (found on Pinterest, of course), on how to make your own character/custom cake decorations.  I ordered a giant cake from Costco with just writing on it because I planned on doing my own decorations again using this method.  It does NOT work with Gel icing.  So we improvised on the cake decor.  The kids didn’t care (or notice) that the cake wasn’t totally awesome looking AT ALL.


See?  Ugly cake.  But it was scrumptious!


7 candles for the girl, 2 for the boy.

The party went on…


How many Merkids can fit into 1 faux lagoon?

And I really, truly think that a great time was had by all, if these 2 are any indication…

birthdaygirl birthdayboy

Mommy Mentionables

Kraken maternity tee- Bleach design tutorial

There’s a saying that Necessity is the father of invention.  I say, being unique makes inventing a necessity.

I’ve never fit into a specific scene with my tastes in anything.  I love pop culture, nerd culture, rock culture, hippy culture… music, clothes, food, lifestyle… all sort of mesh into a web of seemingly random, eclectic preferences.  

That’s not to say I like everything.  I am actually very picky about the different things from different scenes that I enjoy.  So being a 20 something mom is hard.  Because I want to incorporate this small piece of that, with a dash of this, and a glob of that-thing-over-there into my personal and parenting style, but there’s NOTHING OUT THERE.

It’s become easier with the popularity of pirates, but they’re slowly being elbowed out by things that I don’t like, so I don’t pay attention.  Most pirate things for women and girls are pink and/or insanely sparkly, which I don’t mind in moderation, but I’d like to go out in public without making someone want to vomit rainbows.

So I’ve had to get crafty.  Which usually I am totally okay with.  Sometimes though, it’s just a pain.  Why can’t there be a designer out there that has a direct plug into my brain that makes the things I want, for a decent price?!  Anyway…  

If you follow me, you know that Baby #4 has been dubbed The Kraken.  The few maternity sites I have found that carry alternative style clothes are ridiculously expensive.

So, as stated before, necessity and invention. 

I needed a unique t-shirt for this pregnancy.  I don’t have $60 to spend on said t-shirt.  Hellooooooo, Pinterest!  

I’ve seen dozens of bleach tutorials.  A lot of them say to use a spray bottle, make your own bleach pen, use parchment paper to put your design on and iron it to the shirt so the bleach doesn’t bleed underneath.  I’m a rebel lazy, so I chose to skip a majority of the recommendations.

I got my t-shirt, got my bleach, a small glass jar, a new paintbrush, cardboard, tape and a piece of paper.  Sketched out my design, cut it out, and taped it to the t-shirt, which I put the piece of cardboard in to avoid bleeding through the back.  Painted around the edges of my design with the bleach then flicked it around a few times for some ‘bubble’ spots, and voila!!

One of the tutorials I’ve browsed mentioned that different black shirts will bleach to different colors!  Not sure how to tell the difference, but don’t be surprised if your shirt comes out a color other than orange.

At the moment the shirt is in a gentle wash cycle with a touch of homemade laundry detergent to get any extra bleach out before it eats a hole in the shirt fibers (I took that pic while the shirt was still bleach damp, and now I smell like a sparkly bathroom!).

I am incredibly happy with the way it turned out (will update if the wash changes anything) and fully intend to raid my local thrift store for more plain maternity tees to play with!  I’m also thinking the baby needs a custom Kraken onesie, so keep an eye out for that post, too!

Have you done any bleach products?  I’d love to see/hear about them!

Pinterest Inspired Valentines: Salt Dough Ornaments (with link to tutorial)

Aren’t these ornaments from On Clever Mode cute?!

Since we started eliminating sugars wherever we can, the idea of handing out dyed and processed goodies for Valentine’s Day just doesn’t appeal to me.  Between Cabin Girl and Cabin Boy, we needed nearly 40 Valentines.  These salt dough ornaments were just the thing and one batch was more than enough!


We hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

Quickie craft: Bracelet

My crafting plans for the day were derailed by procrastination and an inability to find inexpensive, plain tees.

Thankfully, Michaels came to the rescue with an outlet for my left-handed brain by way of their 50% off bead strands.  

Amethyst, fluorite, and hematite caught my eye this morning and, adding some spacers and a glass crescent moon that I already had, here is the result:

Happy Friday!

DIY Body Butter

I’ve made it no secret that the Cabin Kids and I have bad skin.  This morning Cabin Girl came downstairs complaining that she was itchy again.  I’d been procrastinating on trying to make my own lotion since my first lip balm batch was a bust, but her poor, dry skin was the push I needed to just try it.

Of course, I scoured Pinterest for various recipes and tutorials, and came across this tutorial from nataJane.

With 1 adjustment/addition, this was the result!

One for Cabin Girl, and one for ME!

There are a few little lumps because I *may* have fallen asleep on the couch after I put the oil/butter mixture in the fridge to set, so some of the cocoa butter hardened a bit too much.  Nothing a little extra rubbing during application won’t smooth out.

I made the alteration of using 1/2 Tbs. Witch Hazel distillate and 1/2 Tbs. Grapefruit essential oil instead of a full tablespoon of oil.  The cocoa/shea butter combination has a stronger smell, not unpleasant, but enough that you can’t smell the super subtle grapefruit.  The butter is thick enough that I think I will try to use a full tablespoon of each next time to get more of the soothing effects of the Witch Hazel and the scent of the grapefruit.

I bought the distillate, shea butter, and cocoa butter off Amazon.com to use for various diy beauty projects I’ve been wanting to try.  The essential and coconut oils I get at our local healthfood store.  The little jar with the flip lid I found at Fred Meyer for about $3.

As I type my hands already feel more supple.  It was suggested in the original tutorial to apply immediately after getting out of the shower, before toweling off, to get the most out of the oils, and to make sure it’s completely absorbed before getting dressed so you don’t get oil stains on your clothes.

Hopefully I can report back with a positive review from Cabin Girl in a week or two!

Handmade Gifts: The Captain’s Football Scarf!

As I mentioned in my 3 Cowls post, everyone’s gifts last year were late.  After taking a break from the Captain’s gift to knit Gabby the Garden Monster, I finally finished his scarf!

I had SO much fun doing this.  It was a bit intimidating, being my first attempt at following a chart pattern, and it took 3 tries before I finally figured out which way to hold the yarn while slipping stitches (even though it says how in the directions!), but once I got the hang of it, it went very smoothly.

In the beginning.

It did take a while though, because it takes 9 repeats of the chart.  I hope to incorporate some footballs into some other projects using Verdigris Knits‘s free pattern. 

All wrapped up and cozy.
Finished in time to watch the Seahawks in the playoffs!

I think this is my favorite knitting project so far.  It’s also inspired me to try my hand at making a charted pattern, but I won’t have time for that until I finish the rest of the late Christmas presents!

When Tragedy Strikes, Knit a Monster

Like many who turn to blogging for comfort, the day of the Sandy Hook shooting I wrote this postThen, in my grief and search for comfort (because what parent didn’t need comfort after imagining those horrors) some friends helped me find Knitters for Newtown and  600 Monsters Strong.

The Captain asked me to put his Christmas present on hold so that I could make a Monster for a child affected by gun violence and I’m SO HAPPY to share her with you today.

This is Gabby the Garden Monster.

She‘s from Rebecca Danger‘s Big Book of Knitted Monsters.  My initial hope, like all the knitters in the 600 Monsters group, was that she would go to a child or family in Newtown, but the cause has gained so much momentum that it’s expanded to include ANY child affected by gun violence. 

It feels like such a small gesture, compared to the terror these little ones go through, but I can’t just do nothing.

I’m waiting on my 2 skeins of yarn from the Knitters for Newtown group, which hit their goal of raising $10,000 for families in Newtown.

I’m proud to be part of this movement.  When I have idle needles I plan on making more, to keep the flow of love and hugs going for children who need it.  I invite you to join me, whether you knit, crochet, sew, or have $5 you can donate towards causes like this.

Be the change you want to see in the world my friends.  You could very well change a child‘s life for the better.

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