I was generously gifted the book, The Handmade Mama by Mary Helen Leonard to review on the blog. It is full of great information for new and expecting mothers including simple crafts, healthy recipes and natural bath and body products for mama and baby.First of all, the book itself is beautiful. It’s definitely something worthy of being left out on a coffee table. The photography is extremely well done, and the text is thorough without being dense. It’s a very enjoyable read.
There is really a little bit of something for everyone in this book. The author Mary does a good job of sharing personal stories and softly encouraging the more natural choices she has created while keeping the tone of the book judgment free. As a mother herself, she understands that having a baby can be expensive, and therefore many of her recipes and crafts provide ways to save money in the long run.
Even if you never actually made something from her book, there is so much wisdom throughout. Everything from what ingredients are best to use for baby (and why) to how to freeze and store baby food to what toys are best for different ages to where to find breastfeeding support. She really thought of everything!One of my favorite parts of the book was the body care recipes. I love finding cleaner skin and body care options, and Mary’s recipes are made from scratch. I chose to make the Head to Toe Mama Wash and the Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse.The Mama Wash had only three ingredients (castile soap, coconut milk, and apricot kernel oil). The oil in this recipe actually called for some dried ingredients for fragrance, but this mama just had to make do with what we had at the house, so lavender scented castile soap it was! I put my finished product in a hand soap dispenser I had at the house that wasn’t being used. The Mama Wash can be used as a body soap, shampoo and shaving cream. I used this castile soap, this apricot oil and So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk from the grocery store. Personally, I liked it best as a body soap and shaving cream. It lathers nicely, smells great and leaves my skin feeling silky soft. As a shampoo, I struggled with it. I just didn’t feel like I could figure out the right amount to make my hair feel clean, but not weighed down. I’m sure it’s user error, but I think I’ll stick with using it on my body for now. The Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse caught my attention when flipping through the book the first time. There are only two ingredients – apple cider vinegar and water. Note – you can find the vinegar cheaper at the grocery store!
It is supposed to help with tangles (which is a major struggle for me), so I had to give it a try. I’m happy to share, this really did work! I usually have to use leave-in conditioner when I detangle my hair and when using this rinse, I am able to get by without it. I am keeping mine in a simple squeeze bottle. I also had to try something from the food section, and since it is summer and 100 degrees here in Houston, I went for what looked the most refreshing. Enter the Berry-Watermelon Hydration Smoothie!
With only four ingredients (coconut water, watermelon, frozen berries and yogurt), this was extremely easy to whip up. It also made the perfect amount for Marcus and I to enjoy on a Sunday afternoon. I subbed regular yogurt for greek yogurt (because that is what we had on hand), and it still turned out delicious.
It was sweet and tart and just perfect for summer.A big portion of the book is crafting (specifically sewing), and as much as I wish that was a interest and talent of mine – it just isn’t! For that reason, along with the fact that I don’t have a sewing machine, I didn’t try anything along those lines from the book. But if you do know how to sew, this book would be just perfect for you!
The Handmade Mama would be a great gift for a baby shower or any occasion for someone who is expecting, especially if they have an affinity towards natural living.