Saturday, March 2, 2013

DIY Air Freshener

  • Absorbs icky odors and smells good!

  • Just baking soda, essential oil, a mason jar and cheesecloth.

  • Fill jar with about an inch of baking soda.

  • Add 8-10 drops of scented oil.

  • Cut cheesecloth to fit. Screw on letting the cheescloth rotate loosely.

  • Place in the room you want and enjoy the lovely smell. Works well with floral, citrus scents, anything you like.

  • I do try all kiinds of air fresheners and candles and oils even incense so this is a must try recipe, think of all the scents I can do myself, and plus it absorbs odors too

    Thursday, February 28, 2013

    Homemade Cold and Flu Remedy

    Today’s post is a bit of a departure. It is not focused on food or drink. There’s no stunning roast or plate of pasta. No cooling beverage. No beguiling dessert.
    And yet, there is a recipe.
    An easy one, too, using four items found in most pantries:
    Apple Cider Vinegar,
    and Cayenne…
    plus some water.
    And, so quick to put together, so beneficial,
    I had to share it with you. Pronto!
    Combined, I learned from Maggie, that quartet of pantry ingredients creates a potent remedy to some of the ails of winter: Sore throat, hacking cough, tight congestion.
    Combined, they turn into a curious orange syrup that can cut through the croup.
    And, the taste is really good!
    Like you, we’ve been trying to duck the dreaded cold germs: wash our hands, eat well, get enough sleep, stay warm. Sometimes even the most valiant efforts get foiled.
    I first mixed up a batch for Bill over the holidays, when he caught a cold accompanied by a strangling cough. The Remedy went right to work, acting as both a calming agent and expectorant.
    So, last month, when I felt run down, tight with a tickle in the throat, I shook up a little Remedy. A spoonful or two seemed to break its hold, suppress the devilish tickle.
    Just last night, Bill came home after a long workday. His voice was spent, and he had that dull, woozy feeling you get when the onset of a cold is trying to make its way into your head. He snatched up the little bottle, gave it a vigorous shake, and poured a tablespoonful. “Ahhhh. This is the Good Stuff,” he said.
    I’m not saying it’s a cure-all, or some homeopathic miracle drug. But it did a mighty fine job taking the place of store-bought cough suppressants, expectorants, decongestants…
    Wouldn’t you rather have a dose of spicy honey-cider syrup from a little jar mixed up in the kitchen than any of those bottles lurking in the medicine cabinet?
    I thought so.
    Stay warm. Stay healthy.
    Take good care. And, if need be, take your remedy.
    ¼ teaspoon Cayenne
    ¼ teaspoon Ginger
    1 Tablespoon Cider Vinegar (an organic one, like Bragg’s, is preferred.)
    2 Tablespoon Water
    1 Tablespoon Honey (use a locally produced raw honey, if possible.)
    Dissolve cayenne and ginger in cider vinegar and water. Add honey and shake well. Take 1 Tablespoon as needed for cough. Hoo-wee.
    Note: This is potent albeit watery syrup. It also doesn’t dissolve perfectly. Always shake well before using.
    If you make this in small batches as the recipe is written, there is no need to refrigerate.
    If you prefer, you may refrigerate this. It keeps as long as you need it. I like to make small batches (it is so easy to mix up.) and use it up in a just a few days.
    IMPORTANT MESSAGE: This remedy and dosage are for adults. I have no personal experience giving this to children, and cannot recommend it for children. Many have reported on this site (see comments) that they have had great success administering the remedy in smaller doses to their kids. This is those parents personal choice, which I respect. If the remedy has helped their family, I am grateful. But it is not my recommendation.
    Honey should NEVER be given in any form to children under the age of one year, due to the risk of infant botulism–hence the remedy should never, under any circumstances , be given to an infant.

    Homemade Decongestant

    This has been a heck of a fall and winter season for colds and sinus and allergy problems
    I search and try all kinds of over the counter meds and herbal remedies and here is another one I feel is worth trying.
    It has been a long weekend at our house.  Our littlest came down with the flu (or some flu-like virus, anyway) – not such a big deal, except that she had a febrile seizure and stopped breathing, resulting in a 911 call and many hours at doctors’ offices/the ER.  Then the eldest and hubby both came down with it.  (Little one is doing much better now, by the way.  And by “better,” I don’t just mean that she’s breathing.  We’re back to normal temps, etc. and just a few residual sniffles.)
    Anyway, this was a great opportunity for me to take some pictures of the decongestant I’ve posted here before, and include an actual tutorial.  Hubby calls this “radish juice.”  It sounds like it would be disgusting, but it’s actually not nearly as bad as it sounds.  (I don’t like radishes or onions, in general, and I find this tolerable, ‘though it’s definitely not a favorite.  Hubby actually kind of likes it – especially if his nose is also stuffy so he can’t smell the onion as strongly.)  As long as they’re old enough to safely have honey, even the little ones can take this.  (And I was surprised.  Our almost-two-year-old, who has been protesting the cherry-flavored Tylenol, drank this voluntarily, and even got mad at me when I took it away out of concern that too much at once might burn her tummy.  She did make some pretty funny faces, though.)  The recipe came from a friend, and is good for breaking up the junk in your chest.  Keep reading below the recipe for a full step-by-step.
    4.7 from 15 reviews

    Homemade Decongestant
    Prep time:  
    Total time:  

    This homemade decongestant is good for breaking up chest congestion so you can clear it out. Anyone old enough to eat honey can take it.
    • 1 c. honey
    • 1 c. lemon juice
    • 5-7 radishes
    • 1 sm. red onion
    • 6 garlic cloves (If my cloves are super-small, I use a couple more.)
    Save Now

    1. Wash, peel, and trim the vegetables as appropriate, and cut the onion into 2-4 chunks.
    2. Dump everything into the blender and blend until smooth.
    3. Strain.
    4. Refrigerate between uses, for up to a week or so.
    5. TO USE:
    6. Adults take 2 Tbsp. once a day, or more as needed/desired.
    7. Children take 1 Tbsp. once a day, or more as needed/desired.
    8. Should begin expelling within 24 hours. (We have typically noticed it kicking in within the first couple hours.)


    Assemble the Ingredients

    lemon juice
    red onion
    The original recipe calls for freshly-squeezed lemon juice.  This would probably be rather higher in vitamin C, which would be beneficial, but lemons are always super-expensive around here during flu season.  And this time, I literally couldn’t find any at the grocery store.  So I just use the jarred stuff (make sure it’s regular strength, rather than concentrated), and it works just fine.

    Put Everything in the Blender

    If you have a Vitamix or a good blender, you shouldn’t have to do a lot of prep.  Wash the radishes, peel the garlic and onion, and cut off top and bottom edges.  You might also want to cut the onion into 2-4 chunks.  But you shouldn’t have to mince anything, etc.
    Because the Vitamix container has measurements on it, I just use that for measuring the liquids, too.  I pour in lemon juice to the 1-cup line, then pour in honey ’til it all reaches the 2-cup line, then toss in the veggies.

    Blend It

    Put the lid on (of course!) and blend everything up ’til it’s smooth.  As you can see, it doesn’t lookunappetizing at all.  In fact, it rather looks like a strawberry-heavy fruit smoothie.  (You could have some real fun with someone who can’t smell well! lol)

    Strain It

    Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of this step, as I can’t hold my strainer and pour and take a picture at the same time.  I pour it through a wire mesh strainer (like you’d use for straining herbal teas) into a quart jar, a little at a time.  I have to stir it a bit with a spoon to get the pulpy part out of the way and let the liquid part run through.  As I decide that each strainerful is done, I scoop the pulp out into a separate bowl, to get it out of the way.  (If your strainer is large, you might be able to pour it in all at once, but mine is about as big around as a cup.)

    That’s It!

    It’s done.  Cap it and store it in the refrigerator when you’re not using it.  I don’t know for certain how long it will “officially” keep in the fridge, but I wouldn’t keep it longer than about a week or so.  As you can see, I still had some variation in the thickness/viscosity, even after straining it, so we shake it up before taking it.  There’s a picture below you can print out if you want to use it as a label.


    In case anyone asks…
    • I have wondered, myself, if this can be frozen and used later, or if it will completely lose its efficacy.  (We rarely have these ingredients all on hand when everyone gets sick, so it would be nice to not have to head to the store.)  I am planning to freeze the leftovers this time, though, and I will update if I ever figure that out!  (In the meantime, if any of you try it, please let us know how it goes.)
    • What about the pulp?  In the past, I’ve just thrown it out, but that seems wasteful.  I’m thinking, given the ingredients, that one could probably use it in soups, in small amounts, so I froze the pulp in an ice cube tray.  We’ll see how that goes.
    • Is it okay for pregnant/nursing mamas?  I don’t see why not.  I’m pregnant, myself, and I’m pretty particular about what I’ll put into my body when I’m expecting, but I would definitely take this if I came down with what my family has.  All of the ingredients are things I eat as food, so I don’t think any of it will be unsafe.  The only downside I can see for nursing mothers is that the garlic and onion are pretty strong and some babies might not like the taste of the milk after mama takes it.  I don’t think it would be harmful, though.  This is just my educated opinion, though, and shouldn’t be considered medical advice.  Do your own due diligence. :)
    • What about babies?  Honey should not be given to babies under a year old, due to the rare but serious possibility of infant botulism.  I would guess that if you make it without the honey, you could add about 3 parts of the mixture to about 1 part of glycerin or sugar syrup or something and give it to a baby in small amounts.  Again, though, this is not medical advice, just the educated opinion of one mom.  Use your own judgment.  (If you have a baby that young with respiratory issues, I hope you’re talking to someone with medical experience, anyway, and can seek their opinion.)
    • Where did I get that lid?  I love these one-piece lids for storage; they’re so much less of a pain than 2-part canning lids.  You can get metal ones in the regular size, I think (but I haven’t found the wide-mouth size), but the plastic ones are easier to find and work just fine.  

    Vinegar Really Kill Weeds

    Can Vinegar Really Kill Weeds?

    I'm sure many of you have seen "pins" on Pinterest singing the praises ofsimple vinegar and it's use as a weed killer.  Really?  I had tocheck this out for myself.

    The saga began in March.  I tried distilled white vinegar and went on a weed hunt.  A month later those same weeds are"yellowish" but still alive.  I wasless than impressed.

    April rolls around and here comes a new weed killer recipe, three ingredients this time:  apple cider vinegar, table salt and dish soap (not Dawn).  The original pinner stated that apple cider had a higher acid content.  I perused the market shelves the other day and found that no matter white or apple cider, they both had a 5 % acid content.  But, I bought a quart ofACV for $1.09 anyway, I just couldn't let go of the dream!

    After I put away the groceries, I Googledthis whole conundrum and actuallylearned some interesting things!  Namely, vinegar can work.  Also, adding a bit of soap helps the vinegar stick to the dastardly foliage.  And, to be most effective, the mix should be sprayed in the middle of a warm or hot, calmday.  The heat of the sun is an important factor and I have proof for you!

    First, I need to give you a little history of my struggle with an invasive perennial called Lady Bell without this becoming a novel.

    Campanula:  Lady Bell (*@%^!)

    This perennial is so invasive that it's not sold anymore in nurseries.  I think my specimen hitched a ride with host a plant I bought 3 yrs ago.  I garden organically but I've had to resort to some nasty stuff to try to eradicate this beast.  Roundup 2 years ago...nothing.  This nasty stuff last summer.  

    This chemical is so nasty, I used a small artist's brush to paint the chemical on the leaves...I was that afraid of it.  Look at the bottle closely, I paid almost $20 for it too...crazy!  And...nothing, zero, zip!  Lady (@&^%$) Bell laughed in it's hot chemical face. I resorted to pulling it out like a mad person...well you know how that ended.

    Okay, history explained, now you know what I've been up against for the last 3 years.

    This is the formula I used today for my murderous pl0t:

    4 C. Apple Cider Vinegar
    1 t. Dish Soap (not Dawn)
    Mixed in a spray bottle.  Add soap, then vinegar.  Don't shake (BUBBLES)

    It all seems so gentle and harmless but remember, vinegar is acidic and not selective when sprayed on plants.

    Lady Bell, three hours after a vinegar shower on a calm, 75 degree day in Wyoming.

    I carefully sprayed under the Euphorbia that LB has been trying to engulf for 2 years.  The Euphorbia looks fine.

    I then went after Oxalis, it's a nightmare too but, not as monsterous as LB.

    Frying up nicely in the afternoon sun...

    Oh Hail Yeah!

    Even though I'm extremely happy with my results...I remain a bit skeptical because I know what I've been up against.  I will continue to keep a vigil over this quarantined area and share my long term results but, if I were you, I wouldn't hesitate one nano second to try this in your own garden.  Heck, for a dollar you can spew vinegar and reclaim your yard.  You won't have to wear a face mask, wash your hands or murmur apologies to the worms, bees and butterflies for using harmful chemicals.  

    People, this is a break through if vinegar truly works long term.  If it works for you, shout it from your decks!  I'm sick and tired of being conned into using chemicals in our gardens and near our food sources.  SICK of IT!  

    Vinegar and soap may not be the perfect eradicator but neither is a product like RoundUp which costs at least 10 times what vinegar does AND it's harmful.

    Fresh Smelling Multipurpose Cleaner

    Fresh Smelling Multipurpose Cleaner
    3 1/2 cups hot water
    1/2 cup white or apple cider vinegar
    1 teaspoon Borax
    1 teaspoon washing soda
    1 teaspoon liquid castile soap
    1 32 oz. spray bottle
    Fill spray bottle with hot water first, then add vinegar, borax, washing soda and castile soap. Shake well to mix ingredients and then shake well before using each time.
    I’m not sure it is really “fresh smelling”, although it doesn’t smell like vinegar at all. In fact, it got Jer’s approval!! I sprayed it all around on the kitchen countertops and stovetop last night and had Jer come in and smell it. He said it smelled like a science experiment (not sure exactly what that means), but he agreed that he didn’t smell any vinegar, and agreed that he would be willing to use it as a cleaner. My counters were not that dirty, so I can’t really attest to how much cleaning power this has, but I am excited to have a cheap, homemade, green cleaner that doesn’t smell like vinegar and that my hubby will actually use!
    The directions in the book say to spray on countertops, kitchen appliances and fixtures, and tile or painted surfaces. I’m sure you could use it in the bathroom too.
    - See more at:

    Conditioning Herbal Vinegar Hair Rinse

    Conditioning Herbal Vinegar Hair Rinse

    [A] few months ago I shared with you my love for washing my hair with homemade shampoo bars! Today I want to follow up that post with my conditioning herbal vinegar rinse in order to round out my family’s natural hair care routine and hopfully give you a little inspiration.
    Simply put…we use vinegar and herbs to condition our hair. 
    Using vinegar as part of your natural hair care routine will restore it’s natural shine and leave the hair follicle full of life! Here’s how it works…the acidity from the vinegar removes build-up, residue, and all of the nasty gunk left on our hair from commercially-prepared conditioners. Vinegar closes the cuticle of the hair — which opens when we shampoo — and when the cuticle is tightly closed off, light is easily reflected making your hair shine.
    Vinegar also acts to improve circulation in the smallest capillaries of the bloodstream — this helps bring the blood supply, along with all of the nutrients and oxygen, to the scalp.
    Rosemary is an excellent hair cleanser and stimulates hair growth. Likewise, peppermint aids against thinning of the hair.
    The Recipe
    Gather the ingredients:-1 part organic apple cider vinegar
    -3 parts water
    -a handful of fresh rosemary (use dried if that’s what you have)
    -5 drops essential oils of rosemary (per 8 ounces of rinse)
    -5 drops essential oils of peppermint (per 8 ounces of rinse)
    1. Coarsely chop fresh rosemary.
    2. Bring water to boil and add rosemary.
    3. Reduce heat to low and steep rosemary for 45 minutes. Be sure the pot is covered so as not to loose any of the vital properties of the herb in the steam.
    4. Strain infusion through a fine mesh sieve.
    5. Allow to cool.
    6. Add vinegar and essential oils to the infusion.
    7. Stir well to combine.
    8. Load into spray bottles.
    9. I have always kept this in the shower without ill effect.
    How to use this Conditioning Herbal Vinegar Hair Rinse
    • After shampooing and rinsing your hair, spray the herbal rinse on your hair and massage into your scalp.
    • Avoid the eyes!
    • Rinse the rinse or…
    • To extract the maximum conditioning benefits, just leave it in and towel dry the hair.
    • Don’t worry, the smell of vinegar dissipates as your hair dries.
    -I follow this hair care routine — i.e. shampoo and conditioning rinse — once every 2 or 3 days. I do not wash my hair everyday. This routine has proven to restore my hair’s natural vitality.
    -This vinegar rinse is not recommended for color-treated or processed hair.
    -Rosemary and mint are excellent for darker hair.
    -Variations include:
    • Chamomile-infused water and essential oils of lemongrass and grapefruit to bring out the natural highlights in lighter colored hair.
    • An infusion of nettle leaf and essential oils of lavender to treat problems of the scalp.