DIY Non-Toxic Air Freshener

Love a yummy smelling house, but hate the toxic cloud that comes with store bough air fresheners?  Me too!   You're going to want to try out this super simple, frugal and natural air freshener recipe!  It's really inexpensive and only requires 2 ingredients!  Woohoo!

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DIY Non-Toxic Air Freshener

Supplies:

  • 1 Tbsp Baking Soda
  • 30-40 drops Essential Oil (depending on the size of your bottle)
  • Water (distilled or filtered)
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Instructions:

Place your baking soda into a small bowl and add your essential oil.  Mix them together until well combined, the baking soda helps to keep the oil suspended in the water.  Then dump into your spray bottle (you may need a funnel to get it in there) and fill up your bottle with water.  Shake well and presto!  Homemade Non-Toxic Air Freshener!

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The best part about this recipe is you can have lots of fun with the scents.  Use different oil combinations to make your favourite scent and why not make different smells for different rooms?  Here's a few of my fave combinations:

  • Sweet Orange & Lemon - uplifting and works great in the kitchen
  • Peppermint & Rosemary -  great for focusing; perfect for the office or den
  • Lavender & Vanilla - so yummy and perfect for sleepy time; lovely in your bedroom to help you relax
  • Cinnamon, Tea Tree & Clove - deodorizing and antibacterial; super for bathrooms, closets & even gym bags

The combinations are endless with essential oils and you don't have to worry about a nasty spray that you have to keep locked away from the kids.  Have you made your own air freshener? What's your go-to scent?

All-Natural Bug Repellent #DIY

In just a few days we'll be packing up the kids and dogs and heading off the to great wilderness (read: campground 1hr away from home) to enjoy a little outdoor camping adventure.

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Among many other things, we will need a good amount of bug spray.  I can't stand the thought of putting DEET on my kiddos or dogs so I've come up with my own concoction that works and is completely natural!

All-Natural Bug Repellent

What You'll Need:

  • 1 spray bottle
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup Witch Hazel
  • Citronella Essential Oil
  • Rosemary Essential Oil
  • Lavender Essential Oil
  • Clove Essential Oil

Directions:

This couldn't be easier.  Pour your water and Witch Hazel into your spray bottle.  Next it's time for the essential oils.  The best part is you can tweak the recipe depending on your preference.  Here's what I used: 25 drops of Citronella, 20 drops Lavender, 7 drops of Rosemary and 7 drops of Clove essential oils.  Add to your bottle and shake well.  And PRESTO!  All-Natural Bug Repellent!

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Both my husband and I tried this spray out over the weekend with great success.  It was easy to make and goes on great; nice and light and refreshing.  I sat out on the deck last night to test it and see if it did indeed repel the bugs.  I had been cleaning up the back yard and as the sun went down the mosquitoes came out.  After applying it to my arms and legs I was surprised how well it worked.  The mosquitoes came over to for a little nibble, but when they landed or got close they didn't seem to care for my scent anymore and left.

There will be more testing this weekend at the campground so stay tuned for an update. Remember, what works for me may not work for you, so mix up the recipe to suit your needs.  And don't forget to let me know if it worked for you or if you discovered an even better bug spray recipe!

All-Natural #DIY Fruit-Fly Trap

My name is Jen and I have a Fruit fly problem.  It all started with that bunch of bananas and now with the messy kids and dogs, they seem to be all over the kitchen.

Does that sound familiar? Well, currently we have had quite the fruit fly party in our kitchen.  I find the summer is tricky with the plethora of fruits and veggies available and within a day you can become easily overrun by these tiny pests.  But don't fret, I have found quite possibly the easiest and likely most effective way to get rid of those annoying bugs.

Are you ready?!


All-Natural DIY Fruit Fly Trap
Ingredients:
Apple Cider Vinegar
Water
A glass
Plastic Wrap

Instructions:
Place equals parts of Apple Cider Vinegar and water in your glass.  I used about a 1/3 of a cup of each...maybe...but it doesn't really matter. Cover glass with plastic wrap.  Poke a few holes in the top of the plastic wrap.  Place in known Fruit Fly hangout and wait.

Kinda gross, but lots of little flies swimming in the vinegar

Yup, that's it.  Within just a few minutes I had Fruit flies circling the glass.  The beauty is they can find a way in, but their brains are too small to find a way out.  So eventually they get too tired and fall into the vinegar.

On a side note...yes the trap is quite effective, but in order to completely rid your kitchen of fruit flies you will also need to get rid of the offending food.  So whether they came in on a bunch of fruit or you left an empty beer bottle on the counter, they will continue to reproduce.  So make the trap, clean the kitchen and then you're set!


Cheers,
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My 3 Wishful #DIY Homestead Projects

Time for more moving procrastination! With a month before we move I find myself daydreaming of all the wonderful things I'm going to do in our new house.  Paint, colour, furniture and design ideas are dancing in my head.  And since we will be moving in the Spring it will be the perfect time to do something with our ample, sun-drenched yard.  Here's a couple things I'm dreaming of doing once we move in, just might have to work on convincing the hubby to help me build them!

3 DIY Homestead Projects

Who doesn't like potatoes? This easy DIY potato box looks like something I could manage and I love that it is vertical and has it's own built in Critter prevention!  And it will be fun to dig out our own taters!
 
Build Your Own Potato Box

Chickens! I'm pretty excited that we can have backyard Chickens! I've always wanted one so I think I'm gonna give it a go.  Just need to convince my husband that it'll be a great idea.  


Backyard Chicken Coop

Raised garden beds are an easy and inexpensive way to transform your lawn into a vegetable producing plot.  I love the idea of using cinder blocks and planting flowers or herbs around the edge!

Raised Garden Bed

Have you got any DIY daydreams?  What's on your Spring creation list?

Cheers,
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Getting Ready for Gardening

With Spring just a day away, I started to get excited about digging in the dirt and getting my garden going.  This year will be a little different than usual as it looks like we'll be moving in May.  So for now, it will be wishful thinking until things firm up with the sale of our house and hopefully a purchase in the near future of a new home .

I really want to grow some veggies this year. I had plans for turning my front yard into a vegetable garden but not sure the new owners would be so keen.  I'm thinking I'll start some seeds and then transplant them to our new home.  But I can't go overboard as we're looking at downsizing and I know I won't have a giant yard.

Here's a great info graphic for starting seeds and when to transplant them.  I need to check out my seed stash and see what I've got so far.  Anything in particular you want to grow and eat this year?

Sow What?

Since our living arrangements are uncertain at the moment I've been looking for creative ways to garden with limited space.

  I love the look of pallets and I have my fingers crossed I can make this in the Spring - small yard or not, I just love it!

Pallet Garden in 7 Easy Steps

And this would be perfect for my Herb Garden!

Vertical Gardening, Clever!

DIY Vertical Planter

And don't forget a little pop of colour too!

Unusual Vertical Garden

Vertical Garden

I can totally see this hanging on the front porch!

Love this

DIY Hanging Planter

Have you started dreaming about Spring?  What's on your To-Do list for your garden this year?  If you're looking for more ideas, check out my Gardening Board on Pinterest!

Tip Tuesday: DIY Holiday Urns

'Tis the season to dress up your home for the holidays.  And just about everywhere you go you will see stores selling gorgeous arrangements of greenery.  For the past number of years I've been making my own and thought I'd share this season's creation.

We have quite a few cedars and evergreens on our property and that's usually what I use for my Christmas pots, but this year I tried a little something different.  Nothing green, just branches and wood from our yard.  I'm going the the Rustic Minimalist look you could say!

So Stella and I hunted around the yard for things we could use.

In my cast iron urns are some logs from a tree we had taken down last year.  Then I painted some dead cedar branches in white and silver.  The grasses you see are actually the dried stems from my Hostas.
The start of the urns, but  I wasn't feeling the bow.

A little holiday sparkle!
I did hit the Dollar Store for the ornaments and painted pine cones.  
Both urns ended up costing me a total of $8.00! Sweet!

The only thing missing is some snow!



So why not grab the kids and do a little scavenger hunt in your own yard to make your festive pots?  No yard? Take a walk in the woods and see what treasures you can find.
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Tip Tuesday: DIY Dishwasher Detergent

Recently I found myself out of dishwasher detergent.  Oh the tragedy! Rather than buying a new box I decided it was about time that I made my own.  And so I did.  And surprisingly enough, it wasn't terribly difficult.  I scoured the Internet for tips and tricks and recipes.  There's a lot of information out there so I recommend that you figure out what works best for you.  There are so many variables when determining what is the best combination.  From your water, to your dishwasher, to how you load it and how often you run it.  So don't be discouraged if something doesn't work quite right.  Just tweak it until you find the combination that best suits your homestead.  Here's what works for us:

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

1 cup Borax  - cleaning agent
1 cup Baking Soda - cleaning agent
1/4 cup Salt - for a little scrubbing action
1/4 cup Citric Acid - for grease cutting

Mix the ingredients well in a container that seals well.  I used a mason jar and it worked perfectly.

Now a few things to note with this recipe.  First off, you can easily substitute the Baking Soda with Washing Soda.  However, for some reason it was impossible to find in my city so I've been using regular Baking Soda with no difficulties.  Secondly, I found it tricky to locate Citric Acid.  It can be ordered online, but I managed to find a small quantity at a Bulk Food store in the candy making area.

Once all the ingredients are mixed together then you're ready to run your dishwasher.  I used 2 teaspoons of the mix and instead of a rinsing agent, I just simply used white vinegar.

I couldn't believe the difference from the very first load!  My dishes were shiny and squeaky clean.  And the inside of the dishwasher was noticeably cleaner.  My silverware was sparkling and you could almost see yourself in the plates!

We've been using this recipe for just about 2 weeks now and it's been great.  I would say it works the same, if not better than our previous store-bought  brand and at a fraction of the price!  Plus there's not a whole bunch of fragrance and fillers, just 4 simple ingredients.

When I calculated the cost I was quite surprised.  My homemade detergent was cleaning the dishes for just $0.07/load compared to store brands that are anywhere from $0.10 to $0.40 a load!

Here's my breakdown:

1 kg Baking Soda - $6.76
1 kg Borax - $2.82
1/4 kg Salt - $0.56
1/4 kg Citric Acid - $4.39
(the online price per kilo is great but the shipping almost doubles the price.  So I  will need to find an alternate supplier to help take the price down)

Total: 2.5 kilos for $14.39.  Which works out to 438 teaspoons.  And that works out to 219 loads for $14.39!

So my cost per load is $0.066!  Awesome!   

Once I figure out a solution to my citric acid dilemma, it will bring the price down even more. Do you make your own dishwasher detergent?  What do you use?  Love to hear your tips and tricks!

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Foodie Friday: Guilt-Free, Gluten-Free Granola

It's a grey and dreary Fall day here at the Homestead.  So what better way to spend the morning then whipping up a batch of granola.  It's super easy and my recipe is nice and healthy too!  The thing I really love about making my own granola is that each time you make it ends up being a different creation.  Maybe you were out of this, or didn't have that, so you used those instead.  It really doesn't matter what you through in, it's always bound to be good.  And most of the time, that's how I roll...cooking with whatever is in the cupboard.  So for possibly the first time ever , I wrote down what I made today.  Hope you enjoy it!  And feel free to experiment and get creative.  As I am gluten-free, sugar-free and dairy/egg-free, there are none of those unpopular guys in this recipe.  But really, you don't need any of them anyways.  See for yourself!

Guilt-Free, Gluten-Free Granola

Ingredients: 

5 cups of Gluten-free Oats
1 cup of Spelt Flakes (mine were organic)
1 cup of Raw Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2  cup of toasted buckwheat groats (Kasha)
1/2 cup of almonds - coarsely chopped
1/2 cup of walnuts - coarsely chopped
1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
2 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of ginger
Pinch of salt
Sprinkle of Allspice
Sprinkle of ground Vanilla Bean
2 tbsp of Coconut Oil - melted
1/2  - 3/4 cup of Brown Rice Syrup - you can use maple syrup, agave etc. as a substitute

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl mix together all your dry ingredients until well blended.  Use your warming oven to melt your coconut oil in an oven proof dish.  Mix your melted coconut oil and brown rice syrup together and mix well.  Then add the mixture to your bowl of dry ingredients.  And mix it up.  This may take a bit of elbow grease, but you want to make sure all those awesome seeds, nuts and oats are coated in yummy, gooey goodness.  Pour your almost granola onto 2 baking sheets.  I like mined lined with parchment paper, but if you don't have any then simply grease the sheets with a little more coconut oil.
Bake for 12 minutes and then take them out and give them a good stir and then place them back in the oven some more.  You will need to repeat this a few times just until your granola is dried and slightly golden brown.  My batch took about 30 minutes overall. Once done, remove from the oven and let cool.  Then stir again to break up any delicious clumps.  And store in an air tight container.  This granola will last a few weeks in your cupboard if you don't eat it all before then.

This granola is great for breakfast as cereal or mixed into a yogurt.  Or why not stash a bit in your bag for an on the go snack?  It's even a great handmade gift served little mason jars tied with a bow.  The options are endless.  Add dried fruit if you like, take out the nuts, add some more spice or less, you choose...it's your granola!

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Saving the Planet and Your Sanity with Squishy Snak Pak

I'm sure you are like me when it comes to the morning madness.  Between dogs and kids and school and breakfast and getting dressed, we always seem to be cutting it close for time.

So anything that makes our morning a slightly less manic is gold in my books.  Recently I found this cool company in Saskatchewan called Squishy Snak Pak.  This business was started by Michelle, a mom of 4 looking to for an easy, healthy, fun way to feed her family on the go.  And what an amazing idea!  Refillable food pouches.  I'm sure you've seen them in the baby food isle;  they are so handy, but pricey and so much waste.  Squishy Snak Paks are the eco- friendly way to feed your little ones on the go.  And Squishy Snak Pak was kind enough to send me one of these awesome pouches to review.


And I can honestly say I'm very impressed and dying to get a few more.

Firstly, the Pak itself has very little packaging itself and what it does have is made from recycled paper products.  Woohoo! The second thing  I loved was the adorable pattern.  Both my kids were instantly excited and fighting over who got to use it first.

I loved the simplicity and practicality of this product.  With a simple Ziploc-type closure on the bottom and an easy screw-off and choke-proof cap it was easy for my 4 yr old to manage on her own.The pouch holds 1/2 cup of what ever deliciousness you choose to fill it with.  We started with homemade apple sauce and what a hit!  Alice slurped it up in record time and wanted a second round.  I then refilled it and packed it in Stella's lunch for school.  She hardly made it into the school before pulling it out of her lunch bag.  And she managed to bring it back, complete with the lid at the end of the day!  I can't wait to try out some of the great recipes that are on the Squishy website.

Cleaning the Squishy Snak Pak is a cinch.  You can easily wash it by hand, but it totally goes in the dishwasher too!  Amazing!


Overall, the Squishy Snak Pak is a hit and a must-have for our busy homestead.  Kids love it and toddlers can feed themselves brekkie in the morning!  It's reusable, portable, BPA-free and just plain awesome! Squishy Snak Pak is made by a Canadian mom and it will definitely help us with the morning madness.

Wouldn't you love one for your homestead? Here's your chance:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I received the Squishy Snak Pak free of charge for the purposes of this review. All views and opinions expressed are my own.
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Tip Tuesday: DIY Apple Crumble Face Scrub

Recently I had the pleasure of collaborating with Michell Pino from Skana Spa in upstate New York for this latest DIY installment. Think of cool, crisp days, leaves falling and the smell of grandma's baking.

In celebration of the start of Fall, treat your self to a little decadence at home with our Apple Crumble Face Scrub.

Apple Crumble Face Scrub

Ingredients:

1/2 of an apple (well mashed, with skin, no core or seeds, or unsweetened applesauce would work too)
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons olive oil (you could also use sweet almond oil or melted coconut oil)
pinch of cinnamon

Instructions:

Leave the paste for 5 minutes in the bowl until oatmeal becomes soft and then gently (many people scrub a little to aggressively which can irritate skin) exfoliate your face massaging it for 1 or 2  minutes. Rinse with warm then cold water.  And voila!  A homemade, healthy face scrub that smells divine and tastes delicious!

I love incorporating oatmeal as its soothing to the skin and acts as an inflammatory. I also like it because it works well for a variety of skin types and does not cause irritation. The honey has astringent properties and also helps increase your skins healing abilities. The apple has a large quantity of anti-oxidants so it helps to keep your skin looking younger.  It also helps to balance the oil production and is great for hydrating.

Trying this scrub, I found it to be very soothing and hydrating.  My skin felt toned and moisturized and my pores and wrinkles (shhh...don't tell anyone) seemed to be minimized.  It is a little messy, so make sure you do it over the sink.  The recipe made enough for both me and my hubby to give ourselves a mini facial.

Before and After
Looking for more Autumn inspired beauty treatments?  Visit Skana Spa and check out their always tantalizing seasonal Spa offerings.


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