Making infused oils and salves with stuff from my garden.

One of the things I enjoy most from our garden in the spring is the chamomile. Fresh chamomile tea is NOTHING like the stuff you might get in a tea bag. This year I have made infused oils using chamomile flowers, comfrey, calendula, and lavender from my garden.

My first experiment was to make a whipped coconut oil body butter using the recipe on The Nourished Life. I added in comfrey and chamomile. Whipping the coconut oil gives it a soft texture and you can scoop it out of a jar easily. It’s quite nice but I wanted more.

I tried my hand at making a salve. I sort of roughly followed this recipe from Ramblings of a Happy Homemaker. I used coconut oil, beeswax, and, calendula, lavender, comfrey, and chamomile oils, and also some vitamin E oil.

For my next trick I will try with some grapeseed oil. In fact, I might start infusing grape seed oil instead of olive oil and incorporating some local honey would kind of rock too. Crunchy Betty has a nice sounding recipe that includes honey.

I made the mistake of smearing some salve all over myself, forgetting that salve does NOT equal lotion. So yeah. The whipped coconut oil worked well as a lotion. it wqasnt too heavy or greasy and absorbed into my skin nicely.


I might try a recipe similar to this one at To Come Full Circle with clove.



The following list is taken from

Coconut oil ~ Super moisturizing oil, a solid at room temperature but melts easily on the skin. Its consistency makes it very easy to mix and very useful in facial masks. Protects skin from the elements by forming a thin film which is not absorbed. Also useful as an after sun oil. Good cleansing properties and very mild.

Comfrey – Contains allantoin, an ingredient that promotes healing, and is known for its regenerating and soothing properties. The extract of the Comfrey plant is anti-inflammatory, astringent and emollient. It can help the healing of open wounds, cuts, burns, and bruises

Lavender ~ Soothes and calmes your skin, has antiviral, anti-fungal, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Can relieve muscle tension, speeds healing and reduces scarring. Also works as anti depressant, stimulates circulation, is a mild sedative and reduces nervous tension.

Chamomile ~ There are Roman and German chamomile. They are rejuvenating and relaxing and have soothing effect on burns and irritations. Are also slightly sedative.

Beeswax ~ Beeswax locks in moisture, fosters cells and protects skin from damaging environmental factors. reports beeswax effectively “softens your skin and creates a long-lasting protective coating against the elements. It also is a naturally nourishing moisturizer as well as being anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-allergenic and a germicidal antioxidant.” According to, “Even after processing, beeswax still remains a biologically active product, retaining some anti-bacterial properties and also contains some vitamin A, which is necessary for normal cell development.” The Mayo Clinic recommends lip balm made from beeswax for chapped lip care and prevention.

Since beeswax does not clog pores, states, “When it is properly used, (beeswax) will not promote the formation of acne or pimples.”

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More Labyrinth pictures from around town

Sibley volcanic preserve
labyrinth - sibley volcanic preserve

There’s a tiny old one over by Lake Merritt. I can’t find a picture of it right now.

I know there is another labyrinth in Tilden somewhere but I haven’t made it out there.

Okay, this one is on Maui. I can dream it is about town.
labyrinth @ Nakalele Blowhole

This is the labyrinth I talk about here and here.

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At the Ranch

marshmallow shooters and climbing

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Boston Children’s Museum

This picture is taken out the window of the Boston Children’s Museum while waiting for the tour of the authentic Japanese house (very cool, btw).


I watched the painted hopscotch game get used by several passers-by. There was also a great paver maze at the entrance to the museum. I love using the ground plane as a design element, it’s something that kids especially notice and can’t resist reacting to.

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SF airport – New Terminal 2

Anyone else been to the new(ish) SFO Terminal 2? Kudos to all who made it happen, srsly. It was like traveling on a fluffy cloud filled with unicorns, sushi and coffee.

Right after going through security the first thing that hit my eye was the ‘Yoga Room’. Say what?
Then, tons of art. filtered water stations. sushi.
You can read all about the art here.


An indoor play area for kids. SQUEEE!

Just that fact that an airport would admit that kids might be actual humans who deserve having their needs met in public was kind of shocking and, obviously, refreshing.


It was a tad spartan but such a great idea. One of the coolest features was the Butterfly Wall built and designed by Charles Sowers.


It had some fun climbing elements with an airiness that I assume was designed it to it so that parent’s wouldn’t freak out when they couldn’t see their child.


Please pardon the terrible blurry pics. I was juggling like twelve carry-ons and a coffee.

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Berkeley Adventure Playground

What is an adventure playground?
I think of them as a free form playground built by kids and the grownups with them. It’s a space where the way kids play hasn’t been decided for them already, they get to see a bunch of raw materials and see the possibilities and create their own spaces.

They get wood and nails and discarded playground equipment and rope and old boats and whatever other cool stuff the staff can find or is donated. And the kids can use it however they want.

adventure playground

I feel lucky to live in an area with an Adventure Playground, you can read about it’s hostly here. It’s such a cool idea and we have been taking my son since before he could walk. There is something for everyone!

adventure playground

You have to earn tools and paint by helping clean up or gathering up old nails. Once J. could walk he loved to collect nails with a magnet fishing pole in order to trade the nails for paint.

berkeley adventure playground

Here’s J as an almost or maybe just 1 year old sitting in a boat filled with sand. Neat!
adventure playground

This is an ever evolving instrument. It’s got drums and harps and tons of other things that make great noises.

I wish I could figure out how to embed this video of my son getting bonked by a hanging float.He is at about 2 years freaking out with excitement at some junk hanging around. At about 28 seconds he gets bonked with the hanging rescue float.


The last time we went T. helped him build an airplane out of scrap wood.
adventure playground

More awesomeness. In this picture you can see not only a a cool boat in the foreground but several boats filled with plants in the middle and then the oh so cool zipline in the background. Kids line up for this over and over and it’s so fun to watch them. You must be 6 in order to ride it. I’m not sure if J. will want to!

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Indian Rock

indian rock
We went off to explore Indian Rock in Berkeley this week. It did not disappoint.

J is just now 5 and somehow, once we climbed to the top of the rock (using the awesome stairs cut into the side), I was REALLY nervous having him up there. I like to pride myself on not being a helicopter mom but in this case I just kept picturing him sliding down to his doom and I couldn’t hack it. I made us go back down. There was plenty of scope for imagination around the lower parts of the rock.

We established our forts…
we declared our forts

And attacked!
and attack!

Foolishly I did not look up the rock before hand and so could not spout knowledgeably about the geology. Check the wikipedia article or this post from the awesome Oakland blog Oakland Geology. Rhyolite! Neat!

We had to leave because I was getting grumpy (I’ve been grumpy a lot lately) and I had to pee (this park lacks a bathroom making it totally unpractical for me) and we had to go to the store. We’ll be back to explore the more north side of the park later though definitely! Also, need to bring more kids so they can like play capture the flag or something!

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Sometimes all you need is a big ass field

DSC05985Amiright? A big field of clover is so pleasing, especially when it is empty of other people. As is the field near our house. During the week it is often surprisingly empty.

J was going all Charlie Brown on this soccer ball. He would run at it very fast from very far away and try to kick it but mostly ended up on his back. hehehh.


This is Mosswood Park near my house. It’s quite a good park. There are two playgrounds, a baseball diamond, basketball courts, a community garden, a huge field, plenty of trees, a neat stone amphitheater, and buildings with bathrooms (SCORE!) and activities for the community.

Mosswood Park is also home to two bird houses built by the FLUX Foundation and local schools. The project is called TweetHaus and is an art and ecology project. Read more about it here. I took pictures of the birdhouses bu can’t find them right now. So far, the houses are unoccupied by birds but I have hope for them!

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Kid in a box

Need I say more?


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Kids in the dirt

bucket o water

Just letting the kids play with water and dirt in the backyard.

dirty feet

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