Sunday, October 14, 2012

Why I sunbathe and other good things...

I hope you didn't come here expecting to see my oil slathered skin in a bikini lounging on a grass mat on the beach.  It would be a highly unlikely photo to find and I promise, you won't ever see that here.  Instead, how about looking at the necessary sunbathing things on the crate beside me?  A mug of Yorkshire Gold Tea, a Country Living magazine, and some homemade cream that I rubbed into my legs and arms.

You remember last week I was telling you about the snow flurries?  Well now we are enjoying some 70 degree days with sunshine.  My goodness, the pendulum swings when it comes to weather on the northern prairies.  On days like this, I really try to get out in the sun and sunbathe for a good half hour.   I bare as much skin as I possibly can because honestly, you can't soak up enough vitamin D without some skin showing.  And just like we did back in the 70s, I like to grease up!  D is produced in the oils in your skin.  I don't know about you, but this old hide of mine can use all the grease it can get.  Anyway, why sunbathe?  Because first, it feels good to soak up the warm sun, doesn't it?  Secondly, my body gets to soak in some much-needed vitamin D.  Did you know that most Americans (about 70%)  are deficient in D?  We need it to keep our immune systems strong to fight everyday colds and flu, to ward off seasonal depression,  to keep pregnant moms and babies healthy,  and also to fight diseases like cancerA study was presented to the Swedish Society of Medicine that showed women who sunbathe tend to live longer.  Sounds good to me!   It's not that we need to be out in the sun for hours on end, but we do need about 10-20 minutes a day without sunscreen in full sun with as much skin exposed as possible.  If the skin starts to flush pink, you've had enough.
Speaking of skin and oil...I made a batch of my Bee Balm, but this time I made it harder in consistency -- similar to a lotion bar or to Burt's Bees Lip Balm.  I used coconut oil, mango butter, and a little bit of grapeseed oil and honey.  I didn't add any extra scents because I am an unscented-type-person.  The balm smells a little like honey and nothing else.  I use it on dry, chapped skin, on lips, as well as hands and feet.  It works well anywhere the skin needs a little extra TLC.  If you want to make it yourself, here's the simple recipe.
Bee Balm Bar (or Lip Balm)
1/4 c. oil (your choice of oil:  olive, coconut, mango, almond, grapeseed or any combination)
1/4 c. beeswax (grated or in pellet form)
1 tsp. honey or glycerin (humectant)
2-3 vitamin E capsules (pierced and squeezed in)
Melt beeswax in oil in a double boiler.  When melted, stir and remove from heat.  Add honey or glycerin and the E oil.  Stir well.  If you want to add essential oils for fragrance, you can.  Pour into tins, lip tubes, or glass jars.  Cool and cover.  *Add more oil if you want it creamier.

For more skin soothing tricks... I've been having an oatmeal bath every so often.  It's so easy to make a little pouch out of a piece of muslin or a piece of cheesecloth or with a chunk of an old tea towel.  Or you might run across some of these muslin spice bags to fill.  Just scoop a good handful or more into a pouch and tie it shut, or you can use a rubber band.  Then toss the "Oat Float" into the bath and squidge it around in your hands to release the oat-i-ness.  You can also use the pouch to give yourself an oatmeal facial and then moisturize your entire body.  When you are done you can dump the oatmeal out, rinse, and re-use the bag and start over.  One winter I made several "Oat Floats" by sewing cheese cloth pouches, filling them with oats, then labeled and bundled them for giving. I gave them as Christmas gifts to some of the women I know and made several for my own winter bath nights.  I like keeping it natural as much as possible.


  1. I sat out in the sun today, too! We also went to the park and saw a Red Tailed Hawk. I tried to call him with my phone, but he didn't respond!
    I like the sound of your balm and I LOVE British Country Living!

  2. Love your home made potions. I haven't had an oatmeal bath since I was a child and contracted chickenpox!

  3. I would love to make my own balm.I wonder if you could melt the ingredients in the microwave? I don't have a double-boiler.

    I've never enjoyed sitting in the direct sun, but I do take walks every day sans sunscreen in hopes of getting a little vitamin D.


  4. It's so hard to remember that we should get some sunscreen free rays because we're bombarded with skin cancer warnings. Thanks for the reminder!

  5. Pom Pom,
    Isn't it fun to be out in nature enjoying the sun and the birds? My DIL shares her British CL with me. She's nice.

    You should try an oatmeal bath now. You'll enjoy it.

    Left-handed Housewife,
    You CAN make the balm without a double boiler. I've done it in the microwave, but my Pyrex gets SO HOT. What I do is take a quart mason jar and stick it into a pot of hot water and keep it on the stove on low. I sometimes put a jar ring in the bottom of the pan to keep the jar from getting too hot. Save the same jar for making your balms so you don't need to get all that oil and wax out of it every time.

    I'm thinking that most of us need more sun since we are a people who work and play indoors and drive everywhere. I hardly ever wear sunscreen unless I'm going to be outside for several hours.



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