We Deserve This: Nurturing

January 18, 2010

On Saturday afternoon, a few of my girlfriends and I got together for a relaxing “spa” day. We each brought tubs for foot soaks, yoga poses to share, home made face masks and a few yummy treats. Listening to each of us talk about how amazing we felt, it sparked an idea; to do a set of posts dedicated to the idea of what we all truly deserve; nurturing, relaxation, creativity and warmth.

Today might well be my very favorite post of this week, because there is nothing that I like better than a little bit of home made nurturing. My mom and dad will tell you that even as a young child, I always needed my quiet music, my warm bath, and that I loved anything that smelled yummy and had bubbles. Today, there is no difference. A bath tub is still my best bet for a good nights sleep, or a perkier mood. I love bath salts like some people love chocolate (ok, well I actually love chocolate equally), and I am a connoisseur of hand salves and foot creams.

All joking aside, I honestly do believe that “pampering” ourselves is a very important part of feeling like the best version of ourselves. I know that there is little way for almost any of us to sit down for hours at a time and soak our feet, wear a hair mask, and massage our cuticles, but I have found that even 15 minutes a day of doing something special can make me feel so much more grounded about who I am as an individual, rather than just feeling like a harried mama and wife.

Using fresh ingredients, and experimenting until I find what works is the most fun for me in creating home made remedies. It is amazing how an over ripened avocado, or yogurt just past it’s date can be used in a face mask, or left over beeswax from making ornaments can find it’s way into hand salve and lip balm.

Here are a few fun ways that I enjoy nurturing myself

Epsom salts, which can be purchased in any grocery store, are a favorite bath treat. Add in a little bit of lavender blossoms and crushed peppermint, and you have a rejuvenating bath ready to go. One of my favorite ways to relax is to go from a super hot bath, to a cool shower. It relaxes every muscle in the body, and it has a strong detoxifying effect.

I have really dry skin, and hard winters in Colorado do not help. I love using olive or avocado oil whenever I can, and this scrub has worked really well to both exfoliate and hydrate my skin once a week. I coarsely ground raw oats, add in an equal part of regular sugar, and cover it with avocado oil. You can also add in any kind of essential oil that you would like. Simply stir before each use, and always exfoliate towards your heart in circular motions.

As you may already know, I am a huge believer in foot baths. I swear, five minutes of soaking my feet in really hot water makes me more relaxed than a glass of wine and a piece of chocolate (although that is a close second). When I first started practicing yoga, one of my teachers had us run really cold water over our feet, and then rub the bottoms vigorously with a towel. I will do this after a foot soak now, and it just leaves my feet feeling so much healthier and relaxed

This year, as the kids and I were saying our good byes to the Christmas tree, I read a post on Lisa’s amazing blog that talked of her using the dried pine needles to make a sachet. I loved the idea of being able to keep, and use a part of something so special, so I bagged it up, added in some lavender, and have used it in everything from our drawers, to a foot bath. Any herb or essential oil that smells good to you will work perfectly, and even if it is just a few quick minutes that you have to spare, it is worth it.

I have been very intimidated in the past about making lip balms and salves. They seemed complicated and a little bit over my head, but as soon as I made just one, I felt silly for ever feeling that way. The salves have been especially helpful to me with dry hands, elbows, knees, etc. during winter time, or a few hours out in the garden in good weather.
These two recipes are from from two of my favorite books (see resources below), and they are staples in my daily routine.

I love to freak my kids out by putting on a bright green avocado mask, or slathering my face with honey. I think that if I had to choose one home made remedy that is hands down the best, it would be face masks. You can use anything from plain yogurt, to honey, avocados, bananas and oatmeal. I almost always have all of these ingredients some where in my home, and I am constantly enjoying mixing up different combinations to see what their results are.

For me, the most hydrating for these winter days is a mixture of 1/2 avocado, 3 tbsp buttermilk, 1 tbsp. olive oil, and a sheet of dried seaweed. I put it into a food processor (or blender), until it is a thick paste, and than slather it on. I normally try and lie on the bed, with my feet soaking as well, for around 15 minutes. Once it is dry, I get up, put a wet towel into the microwave for 45 sec, and then place over my face for a bit of steaming action.

I keep a shallow dish in my refrigerator with two washcloths, covered in water and lavender blossoms. There are so many mornings when I truly need a fresh wake-up call, and this is the best remedy I have found. I just simply open the refrigerator, squeeze out a cloth, place it over my face or eyes for 5 minutes, and I am ready to start my day. I also use these cloths for headaches, or if I just need a refresher. I add two new towels before bed, and change the water once a week. It is quick and easy, and the smell and the chill just feel amazing.

Finally, cucumber and lemon water have this unbelievable taste that feels so healthy and clean, that I find myself drinking much more water through the day than I would otherwise. Filling a pitcher in the morning with ice, water and a few slices of a fresh lemon and cucumber, I can keep track of my water intake, while not feeling like I am just chugging water to get my daily quota in. I have heard of people adding in raspberries, strawberries, oranges, limes and apples as well, and one of these days, I need to mix it up a bit.

We deserve to be able to spend a few minutes each day taking special care of ourselves. While I almost never find time to combine these treats together, I do know that doing just one can change my day completely. I think that I became a better wife and mother when I gave myself permission to take moments from my day to just rejuvenate. I think that I got to a place where I realized that I was spending so much time worrying about how my kids were relaxing, sleeping and eating, that I forgot to ask the same questions of my self.

Making home made remedies helps me to know that I do not have to break the bank, or use synthetic chemicals, in order to enjoy a little luxury. Using what I have on hand, and experimenting to see what works is half the fun.

Wishing you a bit of nurturing today

Resources: Organic Body Care Recipes, Earthly Bodies and Heavenly Hair, Making Herbal Hand Creams and Salves, The Herbal Home Spa

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

HilarieMae January 18, 2010 at 12:56 pm

I love this post! Thank you so much for sharing all these great, simple recipes! I have a few friends coming over this week and we are SO giving them a try. Taking care of ourselves it often a lost art, but I think it makes us better at doing our lives and being courageously ourselves. Blessings!


bright and blithe January 18, 2010 at 1:04 pm

Heather, these are are such wonderful, "do-able" suggestions. Thank you!


Lucy January 18, 2010 at 2:19 pm

This comes at just the right moment as I think of how to claw my way back out of a deep, lengthy depression. I can't keep slapping on a smile, but need to do just this – nurture myself, I love your ideas. How come I forget to do these things? Sometimes I was going days without even brushing my hair or having a bath. Sigh. I have never tried the foot soaking thing and that will be the first thing I try!


country girl January 18, 2010 at 2:22 pm

I love the way you take care of your vessel and keep it pure and clean.
Thank you for sharing these ideas, and beautiful pictures.


KimmieKusz January 18, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Hmmmm, I am going to print and laminate this post and put it on the inside of both my bathroom and kitchencabinet! Such great ideas for relaxation and rejuvenating! I have been thinking 'bout making my own masks and creams, but haven't had the guts yet… Maybe I'll start with a bit of honey-yoghurt mixture!
Love the pictures by the way…!


Julia January 18, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Spa Day~~~~~~~ I want in!
This is wonderful timing for this post. With the dryness in the air, I am struggling with my skin. It is just going nuts. I love the lavender washcloth idea. I am still trying to find lavender in my area. I think I might just have to order some online. And where did you get those pretty blue jars for your salves. I love them.

Pampering is a wonderful idea. Tubs are a necessity at least once in my day (usually twice, I must admit.)

Hugs, Julia



maeghan January 18, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Thank you for the ideas. We all need a little pampering. What a great way to treat yourself without spending a fortune. As for me I like lime and oranges in my water!


Linda January 18, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Heather, you are so right! Often moms' are so busy with everyday things that we forget to think of ourselves… Thank you so much for this lovely post, and gentle reminder that we should also honour ourselves…


Kelly January 18, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Thank you for posting all these recipes! This is so great – just what I am needing!


Tina January 18, 2010 at 3:10 pm

I cannot believe how amazing this post is! Thanks for taking the time to type all this out. I just got a ton of new ideas. You are too generous.


Ivy January 18, 2010 at 3:23 pm

This just may be my favorite post for the week too! I love all of your suggestions and hadn't thought of most of them. I have such sensitive and dry skin that I'm constantly reading labels. I'll have to look into what the most gentle natural ingredients are, but we always have some of the things you suggested on hand.


healing hillary January 18, 2010 at 3:34 pm

love the face cloths in the fridge. i have all of those items…just need to add together.
thanks for the reminder of the cucumber water. i love it!


AdirondackMama January 18, 2010 at 4:27 pm

I think my comment ended up in the land of lost again…. Is it something that I'm doing that is making it go wrong?



Shivayamama January 18, 2010 at 4:39 pm

I have no idea why, but it looks like it is going into the spam folder for Intense Debate, which is crazy because you have an account there. I would probably check your settings through ID, and just make sure that everything looks OK. I did find it though, and it is there now 🙂


Thenotsotiredmummy January 18, 2010 at 4:45 pm

what a lovely post, my skin resembles sandpaper most of the time and that mask looks delicious xx


quirkygranolagirl January 18, 2010 at 4:52 pm

I'm amazed at how many nurturing ideas and rituals you have and actually do. I have a couple of ideas that flit through, but I almost never take the time to do them. Thank you for the inspiration.


Lisa Q January 18, 2010 at 5:08 pm

this post is just chock full of great ideas for taking care of ourselves. I'm going to book mark it and come back to this again and again. what is the shelf life of your scrubs? do you store them in the fridge?


April January 18, 2010 at 5:23 pm

wow! This is a great post, Heather! I'm inspired!


Emmalina January 18, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Oh Heather how do you do it? Again you have inspired me at just the right moment. Your post has helped me clarify something that had been muddling around in my mind for a while. This is a wonderful post and your images are like a spa feast for the eyes. I feel more relaxed just reading this!


Denise January 18, 2010 at 6:32 pm

where should I start. love all these suggestions. thank you.


eliz~ so wabi sabi January 18, 2010 at 6:38 pm

What an amazing list of ways to pamper ourselves…I share with you a love of bath salts (and chocolate). I like to add some kelp to my bathwater sometimes to get a bit of an ocean feel. The minerals in the kelp are really good for you too. And you absorb through your skin too. I'm very interested in trying your facial recipe with avocado.

thanks so much for sharing these wonderful ideas!


Adrie January 18, 2010 at 6:41 pm

What can I say, but Thank You! Love it.


Ann January 18, 2010 at 7:12 pm

I feel just relaxed reading all that information and I agree a foot soak is just magic. Checked out the pine needle blog and am away to cut up my hubbyu's shirts to make some pine needle bags – great idea.


Audra January 18, 2010 at 7:17 pm

Thank you so much for this beautiful and inspiring post. I feel pampered just reading your encouragement to do something nourishing for myself during this busy season of mothering. For several years now I have made lavender bath salts for myself that I keep in a big jar out of reach of the little darlings. I'm definitely trying some of your other ideas. Thanks again!


HRobinson January 18, 2010 at 7:37 pm

wow!! What an amazing collection of ideas. I can't wait to try many of these. Now to figure out where to find the fifteen quiet minutes!!!


nicola January 18, 2010 at 9:13 pm

lovely and timely post for me! i do many of these things (i love the from-the-kitchen aspect of self-pampering at home!), but some are new to me. thank you!


Kate January 18, 2010 at 9:59 pm

Thank you so much for this post. I am so excited for some new relaxing ideas!


Lisa/Rosamund January 18, 2010 at 10:23 pm

Hi Heather,

Thank you for this post. I love home recipes/remedies. I am starting a little book of them for handy use around our house when someone is in need. Also, thanks so much for saying that you'll make a blanket for Haiti. Your participation is much appreciated.


Leanne January 18, 2010 at 10:47 pm

Oh all that deliciousness for the body!! You have inspired me to nurture myself today. I have so many of those things in the garden I think they just might find their way into a bath tonight. btw we have the same lotus…


Susan Powers January 18, 2010 at 11:06 pm

What a wonderful idea. I am going to do that with my daughters when they come home!


Stephanie January 19, 2010 at 12:05 am

Great post! I've been wanting to make a face scrub, particularly with brown sugar, but have not tried it yet. I know it's super easy, I just keep putting it off. This post is really motivating me to do it!


bloomingheather January 19, 2010 at 12:16 am

Heather, I love this post! I feel better having just read it to myself — I can't imagine how lovely it will feel to actually do some of your suggestions! This is a great idea for a way to relax with friends, too. Thanks for sharing this idea with us.


Jennifer January 19, 2010 at 2:13 am

Thanks! I feel more relaxed just looking at those pictures! Great suggestions. I love the avocado idea because I hate to throw away food and now I have a purpose for the over ripe avocados in our home.


Jennifer January 19, 2010 at 2:13 am

I couldn't have said it better myself; not only do I agree that we all deserve it and that it makes us better wives and mothers, I also agree that we spend so much energy taking care of others that we forget to mind ourselves. I am guilty of eating meals standing up in a hurry while I do something else (like pack snacks or lunches or do dishes!) much of the time these days. Thanks for the recipes and the reminders to take care of me!


cathleen January 18, 2010 at 8:56 pm

What a comfy, cozy, soothing read. I feel totally relaxed now. Thanks for the ideas, YOU are wonderful!


Shivayamama January 19, 2010 at 11:53 am

That is what I really love about using fresh ingredients, you can just wait unti something is no longer of use in the kitchen, and then it is perfect timing for a facial mask or body cream 🙂


Shivayamama January 19, 2010 at 12:01 pm

I know what you mean Jennifer. I am so guilty of eating standing up, or not even eating at all somedays. Taking these small moments help to remind me how important it is to take care of myself, and that puts a lot of other things into line.


Shivayamama January 19, 2010 at 12:19 pm

I have been using a small amount of baking soda on my face (I wet it first), and it has been the most amazing scrub. My face feels soft, and they say that the baking soda acts like a mild microdermabrasion. I have been hearing a lot about using brown sugar as well. I overbought it during Christmas baking, so I will have to try that as well 🙂


Shivayamama January 19, 2010 at 12:55 pm

I know! It is amazing how we have to figure out even just a few minutes of down time. Literally, there are days where I will actually get up early to take a hot bath. It is a great way to start my day, and I know that I will not be disturbed. I have also been known to make a scrub or mask while also making a meal, and then wear it through that meal :). My little ones are actually getting old enough now where stealing 15 minutes while they are having quiet play in the afternoons is getting easier, but I still get walked in on many a time.


Francesca January 19, 2010 at 2:04 pm

I feel so relaxed just after reading this post … and so full of ideas! I'm quite surprised to find out that you use olive oil for costmetic reasons. It used to be one of its main uses in the Mediterranean (it's got many properties), but nowadays people find it inconceivable that it can be used for anything other than a culinary oil! If you were to recommend only one of the books above, which one would you chose?


kristyn January 19, 2010 at 3:03 pm

SO many good things here Heather!! I look forward to using your ideas and referring back here time after time.
I remember when I started loosing weight at weight watchers, the smallest loss kept me moving in the right direction. and with more and more loss, I took better and better care of myself. I didn't spend much money…new socks for walking, painting my toe nails, gettting up dressed and ready for each day, sitting down to eat lunch…your ideas are just the same. little steps to add to our routines that add value to ourselves and in return add to what we can give to others…a better me!


Gypsy Forest January 19, 2010 at 3:36 pm

I love this! Perfect timing for the new leaf I am turning over…. taking time to pamper the mama 🙂


Shivayamama January 19, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Oh, I have never thought about using sea kelp. where do you get yours, and how do you add it to the bath? I wonder if you could add it to a face mask? I am exprimenting right now with algae, seaweed and aloe vera juice as a mask, it is soooo soothing.


Shivayamama January 19, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Thank you Lisa. I usually make enough scrub for 6 uses, once a week, so six weeks. I have heard that oils can stay \”live\” for longer, but I like being done with any of my oils that could come into contact with water within 8 weeks. I store the scrub right on the side of my bathtub, out of any contact with driect sun.


Shivayamama January 19, 2010 at 4:37 pm

I think that the thing is that I try and keep a really large list of things that can nurture me on hand, so that if I have 5-20 minutes, I can grab one of them and go. I am one of those people who has to have it on hand, or at least in mind, in order to actually do it 🙂


5orangepotatoes January 20, 2010 at 12:47 am

I love that I can *smell* this post as I read it! Using the pine needles and lavender in the foot bath is such a great idea. The two scents go together so well this time of year. (Thanks for the link love too). The lavender washcloths are brilliant, what a perfect way to refresh. Could help with my coffee cutbacks I'm t-r-y-i-n-g to do. I really enjoyed reading this post (as I do all your others); I need to post my favorites too.

Curious about the pup in the yoga post, is she supposed to showing us the downward dog? (he, he) 😉
That is such an inspirational post, I need to take care of me more get back to doing yoga once again.



Aja January 20, 2010 at 3:01 am

wow what a lovely post Heathert, I'm so into all of it, thanks for sharing!!!


larissa January 20, 2010 at 3:19 am

I love absolutely love all these ideas and recipes. I currently do none of these – I use store bought lotion and take showers at the gym – i cannot remember the last time i took a bath. The funny thing is that i truly didn't think i needed any nice smelling scrubs, oils or masks – until I read this post. and now I want to go make all of them. I ordered lots of lavender so i'm half way there. thanks so much Heather!


Hannah January 20, 2010 at 1:30 pm

This post is music to my ears! I'm just coming to the important realisation that I need to do more for myself so that I have the energy and enthusiasm to be a better mother.
I made lipbalm last summer and was also really surprised about how easy it was! I love your suggestions for other home made things – can't wait to give them a go.
Thank you for sharing.


heather January 22, 2010 at 4:20 am

you are so awesome. i just read your last five posts or so, and loved them so much. thank you.


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