An apple a day…..wins cash money!

apple muffins

I am from apple country!  However, the north didn’t fare so great this year due to an early spring and late frost, killing much of the apple crop.  The south has apples already and they sure are tempting, even if my internal clock is a bit confused by all of the apples sitting next to the peaches, melons, and other summer produce.

If you have an apple recipe  (on the healthy side, of course) that you think is better than the rest, please submit your recipe via email (domesticatedacademic at gmail dot com)! I will be accepting the first 8 entries and making one each week. A winner will be announced at the end of the contest and awarded a $25 Visa gift card ! All recipes will be posted on the blog (or linked if you blog) each week when they get my review!  Good luck!

Have a great week!  Send me those awesome apple recipes! 🙂


Mind your beeswax homemade lotion

Ladies (and some gentlemen), I have a confession: I am allergic to a lot of ‘products’ out there.  While I know I don’t live alone in my plight with extremely sensitive skin, it’s a real pain in the a^^ when I buy nice things only to use them and break out in massive hives, rashes, and other unpleasant side effects.  Things that should be enjoyable, like a massage, are less so because whatever creams those great folks use I’m allergic too.  However, I know this when I make the appointments and immediately shower when I get home.  One area of my life that is a pain is also easy.  Since I’m allergic to soaps, lotions, detergents, anything from Bath & Body Works, cheap stuff, expensive stuff, and air freshener anything, shopping is super easy. Even things labeled “hypoallergenic” are no match for my largest organ, my dermis. I have no future as a make up tester unless I get really awesome health insurance. On the flip side, it takes me a long time to find things that do work or don’t make me explode.  I started this journey as a child when my whole body swelled up and eyes closed, later in college when I found out I was allergic to laundry detergent when my throat closed and I had to visit the ER, and as I continue to age.  I keep a running prescription of epi-pens, steroid creams, pills, and other things in my personal arsenal. I have found products that work through trial and error and if anyone reading this wants a bunch of really nice bottles of lotions, please let me know.  PIC doesn’t use lotion, but he is the proud recipient of shampoos, body washes, and other products that I boot off my personal beauty island. He also smells real good ;~).

Lotion is something I have been trying to catch like a herd of cats for years.  I find one that doesn’t bother me and about a year later, the ‘chemicals’ change and my skin explodes yet again. I have resorted to homemade lotion out of necessity at this point and this one is a winner.  It’s thick, making it good to apply at night before bed, and I added some essential oils for my own benefit.  The best part: I’m not allergic to it.  I have bombed batches of homemade lotion but was not ready to throw in the towel.  I also had all of the ingredients for this batch, having to only go purchase some more olive oil, a regular cooking ingredient in the house.

I followed the recipe posted by A Sonoma Garden and said a secret prayer for better results this time around.  What’s the worst that could happen? More trial and error?

You’ll need:

  • 1 c. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. coconut oil
  • 1/2 c. beeswax (I buy mine at the local organic shop.  if using solid beeswax use 2 oz.)
  • 1/2 t. Vitamin E oil (or about 5 capsules cut open and squeezed out)(optional)
  • 20 drops (approximately) essential oil (optional) i chose citrus
  1. Combine olive oil, coconut oil and beeswax pastilles into a pint sized canning jar.
  2. Put this jar into a saucepan and fill the saucepan with water until it comes 3/4 of the way up the canning jar, being careful not to get water into the oil mixture.
  3. Put on the stove over medium/low heat. Heat and stir occasionally until melted.
  4. Let cool to room temperature either by leaving out or quicken the process by putting into the refrigerator.
  5. During the cooling process, put a fork into the jar and stir vigorously every 15 minutes or so.
  6. Once at room temperature, add in the Vitamin E and essential oil. That’s it. You have lotion!

What do you do to combat sensitive skin in your house?  Any products that are your favorites?  

Springtime green “grass” wreath

I love Spring.  It has sprung! I saw an awesome wreath on pinterest and wanted to make it.  Then: I found out the price of fun fur…..Ewwww….I’m too cheap.  Even with a sale the cost of two rolls of fun fur was steep for me. Yikes.  I’m cheap, I know it.

As I wandered around the craft store, something else caught my eye: green ‘grass’ for Easter baskets.  It wasn’t the really, really cheap kind–you know, the plastic grass, but more like raffeta.  The light bulb went off in my head and for $1.99 per bag, it was a done deal.

You could decorate this for Easter but I wanted a straight up spring wreath…..I opted to buy these little flowers because they were so darn cute, but you could make them just as easy.

I dug around the $1 bin for a sweet role of ribbon and made a bow.  This is super fun!

You’ll need:

  • styrofoam circle
  • Easter grass
  • craft glue
  • a sponge or some type of glue spreading device 🙂
  • flowers or other decorations
  1. Put some newspapers down in case of a spill.
  2. Spread craft glue in increments.  I used a sponge brush to spread it that I had in the craft box.
  3. Push handfuls of the Easter grass down firmly and move around as you need to make it fill in.
  4. Let it dry…..walk away.
  5. Glue flowers or other decorations to the wreath.
  6. Finish with a fun bow or ribbon for SPRING!!!

Easter wreath

I saw this online and fell in l-o-v-e with it….and then I thought: “I can do this. No problem-o.” I’ll make a super cute spring wreath that’s not totally Easter but highlights spring time!  Fresh colors, felt flowers, awesome!

Then, I was shopping and saw this:

and proceeded to think, “that’s super cute too! how can i merge them to make something equally awesome?”

I took my bad self to the craft store and spent about 30 minutes picking out a soft yellow yarn, complimentary felt colors, and so on….took me two more weeks to find eggs that I liked.  There was a lot of choices at Target:

And then I got home and started wrapping this beast.  #patience.

 I ended up doing three layers of yarn for what I felt as though was ‘good coverage’ and was happy after layer three.  You can do this, it’s a great activity for kids too.  I made the flowers out of felt, which I already blogged about and overall, this was a nice project for me.  While I like immediate results, I also realize that this makes me blow through projects rather quickly.

You’ll need:

  • 1 wreath made of styrofoam
  • 1 big ball of yarn, mine was equivalent to two skeins (one skein is probably more than enough too, lots leftover)
  • hot glue gun
  • felt flowers or other decorations
  • some patience to wrap the yarn, the rest goes pretty smoothly w/ your friend, “HOT GLUE GUN”
Wrap that sucker until you’re happy.  I proceeded to wrap some ribbon to add some more texture.  Finally: felt flowers and plastic eggs. Life is good. Voila! Enjoy your spring wreath!

Paper flower bouquets

I’ve seen a few tutorials on tissue paper and napkin flowers.  Having a plethora of tissue paper in my ‘wrapping box,’ I thought it would be a good way to celebrate Spring!

I saw a few tutorials here and here  and figured it would be worth a go.

You’ll need:

  • tissue paper (5 sheets per two flowers)
  • twist tie or string
  • scissors
  • bamboo skewers (you could even paint these green)

I am thinking about Spring so I went with pastel colors.  They also look good with my Easter garland and add a nice touch without being too much.

Take five sheets of tissue paper and lay them out together, one on top of the other.  Fold into an accordion.  At this point you can cut in half across or not.  I like two smaller flowers, some might like one giant flower.  It’s your call.  I cut.

**for the photo i used bolder colors so you could clearly see the folds**

Once you’ve cut your folded tissue, take scissors and cut a round edge or pointed edge on each end of your folded tissue.  Take a twist tie and secure it in the middle.

Now the FUN part!!!  Starting from the center, pick which color (if you’re using multiple colors like mine) you want to be inside or on the outside.  Start with the tissue you want on the inside.  Fan the tissue working from the inside to the outside and keep separating until you’re happy with the look of it.

Voila! Tissue paper flowers 🙂  If I remember, I’ll get some Easter eggs or small stones to fill the vase w/ to hide the bamboo skewers…


Easter garland

I was roaming through Target the other day, browsing in the home goods section and a nice display of Easter decorations and I came across this:

“$4 plus tax????  mmm, NO way sir!  I can make this for less than that and make it BETTTERRRRRRR” :D. <—that’s the dialogue that went through my head……

So, I went back to the craft store and bought some felt, a roll of ribbon from the dollar bin, and printed off an ‘egg shaped’ pattern from the Internet.

You’ll need:

  • Patience (just a little)
  • 6 pieces of felt
  • egg shape or a good hand
  • sharp scissors
  • craft glue
  • 1 roll ribbon (mine was 3 yards)


Cut out egg shapes.  I made four from each sheet and cut up the rest in patterns and strips for the decorations on the eggs.  Glue the embellishments as you see fit.  This is the fun part!  Kids can make some great garland!

When  your eggs are done and dry, lay them out as you like on the ribbon and glue into place.  I chose a tight garland, but have fun!


Felt flowers

I saw a wreath that I adored on pinterest (go figure) and bought the supplies last week.  This wreath will take some time, but it will be worth it.  I need the lessons in patience.

As a spoiler, I followed an online tutorial on felt flowers because I thought they’d make a nice addition to the wreath.

Felt is about 25 cents per sheet where I am, so if you foil a few, you’ll be ok.  If you need the 25 cents to replace a sheet, let me know, I’ll send you a quarter in the mail with a 44 cent stamp. Or are they 43 cents?  I have no idea….;)

Anyway, get out your hot glue gun and get going!  I find myself trying to make more, planning a trip back to the craft store to buy more felt, and more colors…..I’m addicted.

Petal flowers

Spiral flowers

Pom pom flowers

Come on….you know you want to go buy some felt 😀