DIY Whipped Body Butter [with Apricot Oil + Mango Butter]

DIY Whipped Body Butter [with Apricot Oil + Mango Butter]

We've had a handful of painfully cold days around here lately. I don't mind winter entirely. I love having a white Christmas, running around in the snow with my kids, and generally avoiding the feeling of overheating. But sometimes, the cold and wind hit so hard it actually hurts. That, I mind. Not to mention the super dry air that can leave my knuckles cracked and skin itchy. Not fun. (I'm guessing you Florida and other warm-weather readers are thankful you don't live here right now!)

DIY Whipped Body Butter [with Apricot Oil + Mango Butter]
DIY Whipped Body Butter [with Apricot Oil + Mango Butter]

A couple years ago for my baby shower, my sister made small jars of whipped body butter for party favors, which considering it was the middle of January, was the perfect gift. Body butter goes on a thicker than many lotions, so you don't need to use very much at a time. Homemade versions also don't have harmful additives that many store bought ones have, assuming you're starting with quality ingredients. 

DIY Whipped Body Butter [with Apricot Oil + Mango Butter]

I have a small jar of whipped body butter that I currently keep in my car. It seems like when I put my hands on the steering wheel, I suddenly notice how dry and cracked my hands are, and I love having moisturizer easily accessible. I also use the recipe below as a belly balm during pregnancy (SURPRISE, I'm pregnant again!), and put it on my kids as needed. And I know there are only a few days until Christmas, but you can whip up a batch if you need a last minute gift or stocking stuffer! (Many Better Shea Butter products are Prime eligible on Amazon, so you can get them quickly!)

DIY Body Butter

This recipe uses organic mango butter and organic apricot oil from Better Shea Butter. Mango butter is nourishing and slightly lighter than shea butter. Apricot oil also feels light on your skin and gets quickly absorbed, so you don't have the greasy feeling some other oils have. Apricot oil is also safe for all skin types, including infants!

I adapted my recipe from Wellness Mama, so if you're looking to change up my version to use shea buttercocoa butter, or other oils you may have on hand, make sure to check out this link

DIY Whipped Body Butter
Yields enough to fill about a 16 ounce jar (once whipped)
Adapted from Wellness Mama

4 ounces (by weight) coconut oil
4 ounces (by weight) mango butter
2 ounces (by weight) apricot oil
20 drops therapeutic grade essential oil (I used Young Living's Gentle Baby blend)

Melt the coconut oil, mango butter, and apricot oil in a double boiler over medium heat, stirring constantly. When everything is melted and combined, remove from heat. Allow to cool for about 15-20 minutes, and then stir in the essential oil. 

Put the mixture in the refrigerator and cool to a soft stage, about 1 hour. Then, using a hand mixer, whip everything together until light and fluffy. It'll take about 8-10 minutes of whipping. 

Transfer the body butter to the containers of your choice. Return the body butter to the fridge to set completely, about another half hour. You can store the body butter at room temperature, if your house is cooler than 75 degrees. However, if your home is warmer than that, store in the refrigerator. 

Note: When using this body butter, a little goes a LONG way. Start by rubbing just a tiny amount into your skin, and add more if needed. 

Mango butter and apricot oil for this post were provided by Better Shea Butter. All opinions are 100% my own.

Big Cluster Cocoa Cherry Granola

Big Cluster Cocoa Cherry Granola

“You go through big chunks of time where you’re just thinking, ‘This is impossible — oh, this is impossible.’ And then you just keep going and keep going, and you sort of do the impossible.” —Tina Fey

I think back to a year ago when my husband and I were trying to stay afloat during the newborn stage. I was recovering from my unwanted, although somewhat expected and very fortunate C-section. We were up multiple times a night, me attempting to nurse and then often with tears of defeat, handing my son over to my husband for a bottle while I tried to feed baby number two. After too little sleep, the sun would rise, I’d schlep my achy body downstairs and the daytime routine would commence.

Read more and get the recipe over at Coffee + Crumbs.

Big Cluster Cocoa Cherry Granola
Big Cluster Cocoa Cherry Granola
Big Cluster Cocoa Cherry Granola
Big Cluster Cocoa Cherry Granola

Granola makes a great new mama gift! Head over to the Coffee + Crumbs shop to purchase the adorable cards pictured above to include with a batch of homemade granola! 

Vanilla Chai Shea Butter Soap

I have a bad habit of starting a hobby only to abandon it a couple years (or months) later. I love learning new skills, so I begin a project and then get distracted by some other fun venture. Eventually, I'm left in the wake of random craft supplies, half finished projects and a list of Skillshare classes I have yet to complete.

Every once in a while, though, I stumble upon the perfect creative outlet that works with my unstructured schedule and distracted brain while also leaving me with something practical. Soap making has been that hobby. While there are definitely times I've messed up a batch of soap, you don't have to be an expert to make a good bar. Even from your first beginners' batch, you've got something useful.

This is also one of those hobbies you can leave on the back burner for months, and then pick it back up again when you have time or feel the urge to experiment. There's room for creativity in recipe making, but it's also about chemistry, so you can geek out on the science of it if you want. Best of all? Soap making leaves you with a homemade staple that's so much better for your skin than many store-bought counterparts (and it also makes a great gift!).

Do you dabble in many different hobbies? Or do you stay focused on one or two at a time?

If you're new to soap making, please check out this full tutorial over at Offbeat + Inspired. You'll find all you need to know to get started, included information on supplies and safety guidelines.

Vanilla Chai Shea Butter Soap
Makes about 16 4 ounce bars of soap

*If you are new to soap making, visit this post from Offbeat + Inspired for the full instructions. 

Base Oils
15 ounces coconut oil
9 ounces olive oil
8 ounces sunflower oil
8 ounces shea butter
4 ounces jojoba oil

Lye Solution
13 ounces brewed chai tea, cooled (I used K'Tizo Tea's Bengali Chai)
6 ounces lye

Add 1.25 ounces vanilla fragrance oil and 2 teaspoons ground vanilla beans (optional) right before the mixture reaches trace.

Remember to let your soaps cure for 4-6 weeks before using or gifting!

Haus Favorites: 7 Practical Items to Give Parents of a Newborn

My husband and I have been asked a few times since we had our kids, "What did you guys find you really needed those first few months?" or "I want to bring so-and-so something they really need. What should I get?". I'm definitely no expert in the realm of motherhood. However, I do have the benefit of not having to look too far back in my memory to answer those questions (I use the word "memory" loosely, of course). 

I'll qualify this post by stating the obvious: every mom is different and every baby is different. As much as you try to prepare for your little one (or little ones), you'll never end up using things you thought you'd love and you'll find other items surprisingly indispensable. I will also say that this list is obviously not comprehensive. These are simply a few gifts and supplies that were incredibly helpful for my husband and me after we had our twins. If there existed a "new parent version" of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, these items would be level one (at least for me).

So what are a few things we really needed those first few months? Here's my answer: 

1. Dynarex Disposable Underpad. No, these weren't (primarily) for me (I won't go into the postpartum details here). I honestly don't know why these aren't on every single baby registry imaginable. I guess it's kind of a weird thing to buy someone, but my sister got these for us when we came home from the hospital and six months later, I am still thanking her (thank you, Jenn!). We've used these mostly on the changing table. When you're a new parent and your kid seems to constantly pee or poop as soon as you take their diaper off (baby boys are especially guilty of this!), these underpads are priceless - especially at 3am. No changing sheets, no wiping down a changing pad. Buy these for a new mama and she will thank you. 

2. Diapers and wipes. Giving diapers and wipes is about as practical as it gets! Need gifting ideas for cloth diapers parents? Add another cloth diaper to their stash (more diapers means laundry less often), or buy other diapering items like flushable diaper liners. (Note that especially if you give disposable diapers, include a receipt so parents can exchange them for a different size or brand if needed.)

3. Breastfeeding accessories and/or baby formula. As a breastfeeding and pumping mom, I needed things like breastmilk storage bags and nursing pads. For formula feeding parents, giving a can or two of formula is incredibly helpful. (Again, include a gift receipt on this because parents and babies may prefer certain brands over others.)

4. Laundry Detergent. The amount of laundry you have as new parent is ridiculous. You can't go wrong with gifting a huge jug of laundry detergent (try to get a natural, fragrance-free version to avoid any skin irritation for newborns). If you know the new parents are using cloth diapers, give a cloth-diaper friendly detergent.

5. Restaurant gift cards, grocery store gift cards and homemade meals. If you can make a homemade meal for someone, do it. We had meals provided for us for about three months. It was absolutely incredible. After the first round of meals was used up, we had a stock of items in the freezer that family and friends had provided. After that, we had restaurant and grocery store gift cards to use. We were given gift cards to Trader Joe's, take out places and our favorite restaurants for date nights. It was awesome. 

6. Amazon gift cards or big box store gift cards. It's nice to have a gift card or two to buy baby supplies you still need or random items you never thought of but are so thankful you can find on Amazon or at Target. 

7. Coffee. I think since having twins, our coffee consumption has increased exponentially. Give the gift of (good) coffee and sleep-deprived parents will be grateful. My suggestion, as always, is FreshGround Roasting beans. You can even buy new parents a coffee subscription for a few months so they're well caffeinated after too many sleepless nights. 

There's a lot more I could say, and there are a lot more products I could talk about (and probably will in a later post). This is just a starting point. And if the thought of giving a pack of diapers, wipes or a gift card sounds boring to you, there are fun ways to do it. My neighbors combined forces and gave us a basket stuffed full of assorted baby necessities and a super generous pile of gift cards. It was thoughtful, useful and wrapped adorably (yes, we have the world's best neighbors). 

Whatever you decide to give, know that it's appreciated. The support and encouragement shown through gift giving is powerful!

What practical items would you add to this list? I'd love to hear in the comments!