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gingerbread house

Here's my grandma's original gingerbread house recipe. I've asked her permission to share it so I'm not going rogue giving away family secrets! Growing up, my mother used to make these gingerbread houses every year and sell them. I decided to follow suit in college one year and I realized it's a lot of work to make and sell gingerbread houses. The detail that goes into them takes a steady, strong hand and lots of hours (when you're making 20+). After that year I gave up selling them, but I still love to make one during the Christmas season for my home. They are especially fun to make with kids!

Gingerbread House

1. Cut all pattern pieces from a lightweight cardboard WITH TABS…(about the weight of a manila folder).  These pieces will be used for the frame of your house. 

{Note: I didn't ask my grandma for her pattern because I know it isn't digitalized and I didn't want to bother with that when there are plenty of choices online already. Visit our friends over at Cupcakepedia for 20 Free Gingerbread House Patterns.}

2. Make patterns out of wax paper omitting tabs…cut out the windows and doors. Be sure to bake windows and doors.


3. Make gingerbread cookie dough.

Gingerbread Dough Recipe

3-1/2 C  Sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 C  Shortening
1 tsp  Baking Soda
1/2 C  Brown Sugar (packed) dark brown
1/2 tsp  Salt
1/2 C  Dark Molasses
1 tsp  Ginger
1/2 C  Buttermilk
2 tsp  Cinnamon
1/2 tsp  Vinegar (white)

Cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy.  Blend in molasses…..sift half the flour with soda, spices and salt …..stir into the molasses mixture. Combine buttermilk and vinegar…..add alternately the rest of the flour to molasses mixture…..beginning and ending with flour.  Cover and refrigerate the dough overnight.

Preheat oven 375 degrees.  Lightly grease cookie sheets.  On lightly floured surface roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness….one half at a time.  Place wax paper pattern on dough. With a sharp knife cut around pattern. (Don't forget to cut out the windows and doors and bake them!) Using a very broad spatula place cut pieces on prepared cookie sheet two inches apart.  Bake for 10 minutes….remove to rack and allow to cool overnight before handling.

4. If you have very small gingerbread boy and girl cookie cutters make some from leftover dough and bake them.

5. Store the baked sections of your house carefully so they will not break.

6. Make a double recipe of Royal Icing.  (Make one recipe at a time).

Royal Icing Recipe

Pour 1/2 C boiling water over 3/4 C granulated sugar.  Stir until dissolved and cool to room temperature.  Stir in 1/4 C meringue powder and beat until stiff.  Stir one box of powder sugar (sift first) into mixture and beat until well incorporated and icing stands in high stiff peaks.  Make icing using very clean, grease-free utensils.  Store only in glass, not plastic container.


Tips on decorating (these are some things we did to decorate the house and make it look festive!):

  • Make Christmas trees from upside-down waffle cones (use a leaf tip to cover the whole thing in leaves) and don't forget to put one inside before you put on the roof!
  • Candy canes makes a cute fence
  • Powdered sugar for snow
  • Ribbon candy for presents
  • M&Ms for shingles/cobblestone path
  • Get creative with any candy you like!

Are you unsure of which skin care products to use and in which order? We've put together this guide to show you how to create a skin care routine and take out the guess work. This step-by-step skin care routine applies regardless of skin type (oily, dry, normal, or combination).

EVERY MORNING

1.  Makeup/Dirt Cleansing Oil then Rosewater Cleanser​ - It's very important to start your skin care regimen with a good cleanser without harsh chemicals and detergents. Always remove your makeup before cleansing. If you decide to oil cleanse, you can skip the Rosewater Cleanser and move on to step #2.

2. Rosemary Toner- Toner’s role in your skin care routine is to remove any traces of cleanser left behind after cleansing, tighten skin, prepare skin for the absorption of moisturizers, reduce the appearance of pores, and help to regulate oil production and secretion. Our toner also helps to normalize your skin's pH level without the use of harsh ingredients or alcohol. 

3. Petitgrain Moisturizer - This is one of the most important parts of your skin care routine. Even if you are not seeing any signs of aging, proper hydration and maintenance can help your skin stay youthful looking for longer. Our day and night cream contains oils that are non-comedogenic (meaning they don't clog your pores) and their chemical composition mimics your own skin's natural light sebum (oil), so that you aren't left feeling heavy or greasy.

EVERY NIGHT

1. Makeup/Dirt Cleansing Oil​ (if oil cleansing skip to #3)

2. Rosewater Cleanser

3. Rosemary Toner

4. Repairing Facial Serum

5. Petitgrain Moisturizer

1 - 3 TIMES PER WEEK


Masks - Facial masks address many different skin problems, such as congestion, redness, acne, or dullness. A facial mask should be used after you remove your make-up and cleanse. Use it as a great way to pamper yourself before your evening skin care routine.

Exfoliants - It's a good idea to incorporate a gentle exfoliator into your skin care routine between 1-3 times per week. Exfoliation helps to slough away any build up of dead skin cells, which may make your skin look dull, and can cause break outs.  When including an exfoliator in your routine, use it after your cleanser and follow with toner.

Try our Pumpkin Oat Mask & Glow (2 in 1).

FOLLOW OUR STEP-BY-STEP SKIN CARE REGIMEN, AND YOUR SKIN WILL THANK YOU.

SHOP NOW

Apple cider vinegar mother

If you've purchased our Rosemary Toner, you may have noticed something wispy floating around in the bottle. Don't worry, that's what you want to be growing in your skincare! The "mother" is very important because it contains raw enzymes and good bacteria that promote healing and have all those great benefits that raw, unfiltered organic apple cider is known for.

When non-raw organic apple cider vinegar is processed, it is pasteurized and filtered preventing the "mother" from forming. Therefore, it is very important when purchasing apple cider vinegar to get raw, unfiltered vinegar like Bragg so you don't lose all of those health-giving benefits.

Using apple cider vinegar in our Rosemary Toner makes it extremely effective at restoring your pH balance and killing bacteria. Apple cider vinegar is also known to help fade age spots, brighten up dull skin and is age-defying! So, next time you notice the "mother" floating in your toner, remember she's working for the betterment of your skin!

At Bambu Earth we are not only passionate about holistic skincare but we are also passionate about reducing the amount of toxins we use on a daily basis. We clean our homes in hopes to keep our families healthy. However, many cleaners we purchase contain toxins that pollute our indoor air contributing to asthma, allergies, migraines and more. But chemical-free cleaners are so easy to make and will save you lots of $$$.

Last week we held our first Make + Take workshop. We made an all-purpose cleaner for just about any surface (including windows, mirrors, countertops, toilets, etc.) and an abrasive scrub that will easily remove soap scum, grease, and tub stains without leaving a toxic residue that can be absorbed by you or your children the next time you come in contact with a surface such as a bathtub or table.

Workshop

Download the printable version here.

Happy cleaning!

We Have A new look

September 08, 2016

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I know it's been a while in the making. Bambu Earth just got a serious makeover. The heart behind our re-brand is simple. We wanted to convey a story. Our story, really - the motivation behind why we do what we do.

When I started Bambu Earth in 2009, natural products weren't trendy. In fact, most people thought I was a total hippie (not that I'm complaining). Things have changed in the last decade. People are becoming more aware of what they are using on their skin. Large companies are being held accountable for ingredients they have been using for generations that are linked to cancer. We're truly turning a corner.

I'm so happy to be a part of this revival of clean beauty, but natural skin care isn't the only thing I'm passionate about. I get to have daily conversations with women about their beauty. Women voice their concerns about their skin looking for solutions. The two most common things I hear are: "What do you have for wrinkles?" and "I don't go out without makeup because I have [discoloration, break outs, wrinkles, dark circles, age spots, etc.]."

These simple statements tell me a lot about how women view themselves. Women fear signs of aging. They're insecure about their imperfections. The truth is, we are all aging. There's no way around it. And we all have imperfections. We can either embrace these truths or continue to fleetingly try to evade them.

My mission is to speak the truth of beauty over women. Beauty doesn't come from makeup, Botox, anti-aging creams, or augmentation. Every woman is inherently beautiful because they were made in the image of our Creator. You were made in the image of your Creator.

My hope is that women start to embrace their true beauty. Sure, we make skincare that helps you age more gracefully, improves the appearance of your skin, evens skin tone, clears blemishes and reduces fine lines. But ultimately our hope is that you can be free from our cultures perception of beauty. Beauty is not looking twenty-something. It's looking radiant in your 50's, embracing your laugh lines and gray hair (okay, I may have lost some of you at "gray hair"), but hear me out!

Our goal is to convey our heart behind our brand by incorporating a simplistic look that is beautiful and encouraging. Each one of our products includes a word of encouragement that I believe every woman needs to hear and have spoken over her. My hope is that as you use our products daily, you'd be reminded of your beauty. Outer beauty, sure, but also your inner beauty. If every woman embraced their beauty imagine the freedom women as a whole would experience!

If you're still reading, thank you. I hope you've been encouraged in some way. And I hope you enjoy our new look! You can also look forward to occasional emails that include encouragements on true beauty. We thank you for being a part of our family!

Love,

Amber + The Bambu Earth Team


Is sunscreen safe?

August 13, 2016

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When I was a teenager, I was all about that deep dark tan. Baby oil was my go-to and maybe a little Banana Boat because it smelled like paradise. I would pay the price later, but as a teenager I was not concerned with side effects. I had other things on my mind and looking tan in my bikini was top priority. I now deal with several types of skin cancer and lots of sun damage.

But sunscreen doesn't go without it's own set of drawbacks. Many sunscreens contain ingredients that are actually harmful and can cause cancer (especially when exposed to heat... seriously?)! I'd like to save myself and my kids from regular "zap" sessions at the dermatologist, but traditional sunscreen doesn't sound all that promising.

I've mentioned before Im a researcher. Just because I'm told something is safe to use, doesn't mean I take it for face-value. I do a little investigating for myself. I recommend you do the same and read up on sunscreen safety for you and your family here. The EWG has a great sunscreen guide that can help inform you on the options you have to protect you and the ones you love.

Here's a quick list of ingredients to avoid when reading your sunscreen labels:

AVOID:

  • retinal palmitate= This ingredient (a form of vitamin A), when exposed to sunlight, may speed the development of cancerous tumors and lesions.
  • spray sunscreen= Aersol sprays penetrate the lungs and enter the blood stream.
  • oxbenzone= This chemical is used as a UV filter in sunscreen. It absorbs through the skin in significant amounts which is concerning due to its ability to cause organ and reproductive toxicity.

Take heart! There are alternatives. An appropriate hat and shade covering are always a good idea. You can also find good sunscreens without toxic ingredients that cause unwanted side affects. Find one here and remember a healthy dose of vitamin D everyday is a good thing!

At Bambu Earth where we source our ingredients is as important to us as the ingredient itself. Too often product contain ingredients that were sourced using forced labor (slavery) or harmful working conditions.

We don't cut corners at the expense of others. You can rest assured that the products you are purchasing are truly all natural, sustainable, ethical, fair-trade, cruelty-free and an all around responsibly produced product. If the ingredient, packaging or source is questionable, we don't use it. Period. 

You can trust that our skincare will make you feel good about the impact your purchase is making in communities and the environment.

Makeup brush cleaner

How often do you clean your makeup brushes? We recommend you clean your facial brushes (used for foundation and concealer) once per week. Brushes used for eye makeup and brows should be cleaned once per month. Cleansing them frequently will keep unwanted oils, bacteria and makeup residue off of your brushes and off of your skin. Remember: cleaner brushes = clearer skin (bonus)!

What do you clean your brushes with? We use our tea tree bar. Simply wet the soap bar in your hand, massage your brush into the bar to work up a good lather, rinse well and let your brushes dry completely before use (overnight preferably). The tea tree essential oil will rid your brushes of bacteria and unwanted oil build up while the essential oils of lemon grass and orange will leave them smelling clean and fresh! 

mini cleanserWe all want to use natural deodorant in order to rid our bodies of the yucky aluminum and propylene glycol used in traditional deodorants. However, we're also concerned about the actual body odor when the good stuff doesn't seem to be working. For me, it took some time and a bit of research to find one that I felt worked efficiently. You also need to give your body some time to get used to the good stuff.

A quick tip to ward off a mid day stink: keep our mini cleanser in your purse for when you need to freshen up! It contains tea tree essential oil which is anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal (good stuff)! Along with rosewater which is an anti-inflammatory - it will leave you feeling and smelling fresh and clean. Apply with a cotton pad for lasting freshness!

makeup remover

We use jojoba oil in our skincare line because of the many benefits it has for our skin. Pronounced "ho-ho-ba", this oil is 100% pure golden and organic, containing almost all of the vitamins and minerals essential for healthy skin. 

We also love these facts about Jojoba oil:     

  • non-comedogenic (will not clog pores)
  • mimics your natural oil sebum (bye-bye oily skin)
  • extremely hydrating (bye-bye dry skin)
  • antimicrobial (bye-bye acne)
  • gentle on sensitive skin types
  • anti inflammatory 
  • contains powerful antioxidants

Our makeup remover contains jojoba oil and geranium essential oil. We chose jojoba oil because it penetrates deep into the skin dislodging clogged pores and removing dirt and make up easily and gently. It will even wipe away waterproof mascara with ease!

Our Day and Night cream contains jojoba oil along with shea butter, sweet almond oil and petitgrain essential oil. Since we don't use water or alcohol, our moisturizer will penetrate deep into your skin giving your face all day moisture.

moisturizer

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