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!

IMG_0715.JPEG

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)
IMG_0716.JPEG

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!

IMG_0717.JPEG

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?

DIY Homemade Handy-Wipes

IMG_0719.JPEG

Ditch the hand-sanitizer and those old-fashioned lemony Handi-Wipes.  I've got a super simple, frugal and chemical-free way to clean those sticky fingers and loads of other messes! Yup, make your own wipes!  And it's way easier than you think.

DIY Homemade Handy-Wipes

Supplies:

1 tbsp

Dr. Bronner's Liquid Castile Soap

2 drops Tea Tree Oil

1 drop Lavender Essential Oil

1/2 tbsp Sweet Almond Oil

1 Cup Water

Small Baby Wash Cloths

Water Tight Container

Instructions:

So pour all ingredients into a water tight container.  I used a square glass container with a lid.  Seal your container and shake until all your ingredients are well mixed and bubbly.  You'll notice that I didn't indicate how many wash cloths to use.  This really is dependent on the size of your container and the thickness of your cloths. I think I used about 20 or so, but I wasn't really counting.  Start by folding your cloths so that they fit into your container. Then stack one on top of the other until you can't possibly fit anymore in.  Now if your cloths on top are bone dry, you may need to add more of the wipe mixture.  Just simply mix up another batch and add just enough to the top to ensure the cloths are damp.

Then seal with your lid and leave on the counter.  These cloths work wonders for sticky hands and faces on kids and grown-ups.  Just keep them away from your eyes.  I have even wiped off my table, counters and stove top too. All you need is a little bucket or wet bag to store your used wipes before tossing them in the laundry.  And you can even throw a few in a Ziploc bag in your purse for your travel wipe needs!

The combination of soap and essential oils cleans beautifully and the little bit of almond oil helps keep your skin soft.  The tea tree oil is antibiotic, anti-fungal and antiseptic so it's perfect for all kinds of dirtiness. And since I already had a ton of wash cloths hanging around from our diapering days, these homemade Handy-Wipes cost next to nothing to make! Plus you'll be helping the environment and avoiding lots of nasty chemicals.

20 Amazing Uses for Tea Tree Oil

One of my favourite, multi-purpose items in my house is Tea Tree Oil.  And if you don't have a bottle in your cupboard, I highly recommend getting some ASAP.  This essential oil is not only great to diffuse in your home, but it has so many other amazing uses! It's anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and the list goes on and on.

Don't think you would ever use it? After you see my top 20 list, you might think again!

IMG_0732.JPEG

20 Amazing Uses for Tea Tree Oil

  1. Soothes and heals Sunburns - add 8-10 drops to some coconut oil and gently rub onto to your sunburn.
  2. Heals skin infections - bed sores, cysts, boils - apply a couple drops daily to the affected area.
  3. Treats Acne - rub a drop or 2 onto that nasty pimple and watch it disappear.
  4. Prevents Lice - add a few drops to your kids bath water or your shampoo to help keep those nasty bugs away.
  5. Removes Ticks - drop pure oil onto the tick, wait to minutes and remove.  Make sure to apply some oil to the puncture too.
  6. Antiseptic - use on small cuts or abrasions 
  7. Treats Ringworm
  8. Soothes Insect Bites
  9. Warts - soak a cotton ball with Tea Tree Oil and secure it with duct tape to the wart before bed. Remove in the morning and repeat nightly until the wart turns black.
  10. Toenail Fungus/ Athlete's Foot - apply daily for 1-2 months
  11. All-Purpose Cleaner - add 1-2 tsp of oil to a spray bottle and fill the rest with water.  Use to clean counters, yoga mats, desks, high chairs, car seats etc.
  12. Canker Sores - add 1-2 drops to a cotton swab and place on sore twice daily
  13. Dandruff - add 20-30 drops to any shampoo or add a few drops directly to scalp and massage after washing.
  14. Laundry Boost - add 1/2 tsp to washing machine when doing a load of towels or other mold prone fabrics.
  15. Ingrown Hairs
  16. Colds - add 10 drops of Tea Tree oil to a warm vapourizer and place in your room overnight.
  17. Skin Tags
  18. Insect Repellent - 15 drops added to a quart of water can work as an effective bug spray.
  19. Control Mold - add 2 tsp to 2 cups of water in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray on problem areas and do not rinse.
  20. Pest Control - ants and other pests don't like Tea Tree Oil, so place a few drops at the point of entry or try wiping out kitchen cupboards with a Tea Tree Oil/water solution to keeps ants away.

 And remember, all essential oils can be quite potent. Undiluted Tea Tree Oil can cause itchiness, irritation, and redness on sensitive skin. So, if you have sensitive skin, it is always safer to dilute the oil in another base oil such as coconut oil or olive oil.

What's your favourite Tea Tree Oil use?

Disclaimer: Although I am passionate about natural health care, I am not a medical professional.  This post is for educational and entertainment purposes only.

Easiest Hummus Recipe Ever!

Need a quick and healthy snack that can be ready in minutes? How about Hummus? Now I'm not talking about the over-priced, over-preserved tub from the store; I'm talking simple, delicious homemade hummus. And it's easier than you think!

Easiest Hummus Recipe Ever!

_easy vegan hummus.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 1 can Chickpeas (look for no-salt added and/or organic)

  • 1-3 Cloves of Garlic

  • 1 Lemon

  • 2 Tbsp Tahini

  • Sea Salt to taste

Instructions:

Juice your lemon and pour into your food processor or high-speed blender.  Drain and rinse your chickpeas and add to the lemon.  Add the rest of your ingredients and blend until smooth.  If your mixture is a little on the thick side, add 1-2 tbsp of water or lemon juice to get the right consistency.  And then enjoy!

No cooking or waiting, your hummus is ready to eat straight away!  The recipe makes about 2 cups.

Want to mix it up a bit? Try adding 1/2 tsp of cumin, smoked paprika or chili powder to give your hummus an extra kick!

So simple, so yummy and super frugal! Take that store bought tub!!

Jerked Juice Pulp Crackers

I love juice! I love making juice & drinking juice and did I say drinking juice?  But the one thing I don't like is all the left over pulp.  What do you do with all that juice pulp? I usually feed it to my worms or toss it in the compost, but even with those greener options it still feels like a waste to me.  So I decided I would make something out of that rainbow pulp and TA DA.....

Jerked Juice Pulp Crackers

Ingredients:

  • Your left over pulp from a juicing session (I had about 5 or 6 cups after making juice for me & my man)
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Chia
  • 1/2 cup of your fresh juice or water
  • 1 1/2 tsp Jerk Seasoning

Instructions:

In a large bowl, mix your juice pulp and juice/water until well combined. Add your seasonings and Chia and mix it well.

IMG_0768.JPEG

Firmly press your pulp mixture onto a fine screen for your dehydrator. My

Nesco has these great Clean- A-Screens that worked perfectly for my pulp. Make sure your soon to be crackers are a nice even thickness all around.  Mine was about 1/4 inch or so thick.

IMG_0769.JPEG

Dehydrate your mixture for about 8-12 hours at 115 degrees.  The time will vary depending on how wet your pulp is and your dehydrator. My crackers took about 12 hours to reach the perfect crispiness. Once done you can either cut them into crackers or go for a more rustic look by breaking them into dip-able sized pieces!

IMG_0770.JPEG

These Jerked Juice Pulp Crackers had just the right bit of kick and worked wonderfully with my hummus. Not only are they delicious, but a perfect way to add some fiber to your snack and make use of all that gorgeous healthy pulp! Got a fruitier juice? Why not make a sweet cracker with cinnamon, ground vanilla & nutmeg?

IMG_0771.JPEG

Oh the pulpy possibilities!

10 Amazing Uses for Castile Soap



Are you cupboards overflowing with bottles and jars of cleaners, soaps and other concoctions?  Why not replace just about everything with one amazing bottle?  Yup, Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap definitely is miraculous!  I don't know why, but I only recently made the switch and I can't believe the never ending uses for this soap!
Citrus Orange Castile Liquid Soap - 32 oz.
Castile Soap is made from  plant oils and it's gentle on you and the environment because it's free from harsh cleansers, artificial foaming agents, petrochemicals or chemical anti-bacterial agents.  And since liquid Castile Soaps are made from plants, they're vegan and also biodegradable. So ya, it's pretty amazing stuff and you'll be surprised by what you can replace in your house with just one bottle of this magic soap!


10 Amazing Uses for Castile Soap


  1. Body Wash - a little goes a long way.  I keep a container of diluted version in the shower and it lathers wonderfully; leaving my skin clean & soft.
  2. Car Wash - it leaves a great shine from hood to trunk.
  3. Dog Wash - yup, good for your fur babies too!
  4. Dish Detergent - again, a great cleaner for your after dinner messes
  5. Hand Soap - fill up your old foaming hand soap bottles with a diluted version and you'll be amazed by this all natural cleanser.
  6. Shampoo - yes, I've used it head to toe and it works on all your parts!
  7. Multi-purpose Cleaner - again, dilute a bit of this fab soap and you can clean just about anything
  8. Fruit & Veggie Wash - add a drop or two into a full sink and get those veggies clean!
  9. Baby Wash - yes it's even gentile enough to use on your kids. Dr. Bronner's does make a kids version that's unscented, but my girls do just fine with the citrus.
  10. Bug Spray - so you can clean just about anything, but you can also use it to get rid of pests in your garden.
If those aren't enough reasons to get you to make a switch (or to at least try) Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap, then how about the fact that it's Fair Trade, Non-GMO & not tested on animals! Oh yeah, did I mention that it's also a great price! Way cheaper than all those other bottles under your sink!


Have you got a favourite Castile Soap use? Share it here! I'm always on the look out for more ways to use this incredible soap!


 
Disclaimer: Big props to Dr. Bronner's for their amazing soap! I am not affiliated with Dr. Bronner's & I wasn't compensated for this post.  I just really love their soap!

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.

IMG_0790.JPEG

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!

IMG_0791.JPEG

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!

Awesome #Frugal #Garden Haul

So I just had to share this little story as I still can't believe my amazing gardening score! Last week I had stopped by the local garden centre at Strathroy's Great Canadian Superstore.   To my surprise practically everything was marked down by 40% - 60%!!  Woohoo!  I quickly grabbed a bunch of plants for my new garden I was putting in and headed home to tell my husband the awesome deal I had just got.

A few days later I was in the city doing some grocery shopping and stopped at a different Superstore location.  I decided to hit their Garden Centre to see if they had anything else that might be of interest.  There was this Hardy Fig Tree I had debated on purchasing that I was hoping might be there.  And to my surprise, there was a huge table of them!! On sale for $11!  Perfect.

I grabbed the Fig Tree and a couple other plants and headed to the cash register.  When the lady rang me through she said "That will be $4.40 please."

Huh? So silly me asked if that was right.  She then coldly replied "I can charge you more if you want."

That's when I saw the tiny sign and those people with huge carts full of plants finally made sense.  The garden centre had been put on notice that it was to close THAT day for the season and all the plants were being sold for $.50, $1.00 & $2.00!  I couldn't believe it!  I put my 4 little plants in the car and grabbed a cart and started to stock up!

Bushes, trees, perennials and annuals....you name it, I got it! The selection wasn't the best but it was more than enough for what I needed.  By the time I was done there was barely enough room in my car for me, let alone any groceries.  My husband was gonna kill me!  Luckily, when I showed him my huge flora haul and told him what I paid, he was AMAZED!

I had purchased over $250.00 worth of plants for......

wait for it....

$16.50!  

 No seriously! $16.50!  21 plants for less than $20!  

I'm still kind of in shock!  Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say is if you looking for a bargain it pays to wait for sales or the end of season.  They may not have the selection, but the price can't be beat!  Now to plant all these lovelies!

What's been your best summer sale score?
post signature

The Downsizing Dilemma: Does Less Equal More?

I'm a big fan of frugality and a lover of thrifty.  There's nothing quite like scoring a great deal on a must-have item.  But lately I've been wondering if I can go bigger.

The topic of discussion lately has centred around selling our house and getting something smaller.  We have a lovely house in a great neighbourhood with a huge yard and even a pool.  Yeah, it's a lot.  And it's starting to feel that way.  It feels like we have it, just because we can.  And I don't like that feeling.  After Alice was born I didn't return to work which has been lovely.  But that means that also means taking a big hit on our household income.  Yes, we can stay in our house, but we don't have the cushion like we did.  Yes, my frugal senses have been working overtime to ensure we're getting the most bang for our dollar.  But it still seems that most of our dollars go to this house.


So we're thinking of downsizing.  Getting something smaller, without a pool or the giant yard.  Something that we can pay off in a few years and not have a mortgage hanging over our heads until we're old and grey.  Something that will be cozy and comfy, but allow us to travel more and show our kids the world.  Could you imagine not owing anything? No mortgage, no debt.  Think of the places you could go and the things you could see!

I seem to have finally convinced my husband that downsizing isn't a bad thing.  In fact, it could be one of the smartest things we do.  So whether it's a condo or small house outside of town...it doesn't really matter, as long as it's the right place for us.

Who cares about keeping up with the Jones's? I don't even know the Jones's!

Now this whole idea started last year after I read You Can Buy Happiness (and It's Cheap) by Tammy Strobel.  My husband thought I was a little nutty when I said I wanted to get rid of everything.  OK, maybe that was a bit drastic, but he seems to be coming around and realizing that less can be more.  He recently started reading  Debt Free Forever by Gail Vaz-Oxlade and I think that really got the wheels turning for him.  At any rate, I see some changes coming in the future for our homestead and I can't wait to see where we end up.

Have you ever made a huge thrifty life shift, either by choice or necessity? Any advice for this desiring downsizer?
post signature

4 Awesome Waste-Less Veggie Hacks

Yes, I strive to be frugal and yes I try to only buy what I need, but there are times when I feel like I'm tossing out a lot of veggie bits.  Even though they hit the composter, it still seems like a waste. But no more!  Check out these 4 super awesome Veggie Hacks to keep you spending less green and eating more of it!

4 Awesome Waste-Less Veggie Hacks
 
1.  Freeze Your Wilted Greens - got a bag of limp spinach or a few leaves of less than fresh kale or chard?  Don't toss them in the bin, freeze it instead.  Wash & dry your less than stellar greens and toss them in the freezer.  They make great additions to soups, stews and even muffins.  I just tossed a bunch of frozen chard in my meatloaf and it was lovely.  I wouldn't use it to make a salad or anything, but those lack-lustre leafy greens can be added to so many dishes for an extra veggie boost.




2. Re-grow Your Green Onions - you know how you always cut off that dangley-rooty bit off the end of your green onions?  Well, next time...keep it.  But if you put those little rooty parts in some water in a sunny window they will actually regrow into a whole new green onion! Amazing! You'll never need to buy another green onion again! That's a picture of my new onions after a few days in the front window.



Vegetable Stocks3. Make Vegetable Stock - when you're busy preparing your meals and chopping and dicing and peeling make sure to keep all those scraps.  They can be easily turned into delicious and nutritious vegetable stock with very little effort.  Simply gather up all those peels, ends and skins and toss them in a bag or container in the freezer.  Once you have a whole bunch then it's time to get your stock on!  It's incredibly easy and frugal and you'll have loads of homemade stock to use for all your lovely meals.  Check out this easy tutorial for making homemade vegetable stock.


4. Eat Your Broccoli - or should I say broccoli stems?  Most of us (myself included) end up tossing out most of our broccoli ; simply cutting off the large stems and only keeping the tender flowery bits.  But we're actually pitching some of the best parts of the veggie.  Instead of sending it to the heap, instead slice it up and sautee it with some garlic for a lovely side dish. Or use it to make your favourite broccoli soup recipe.  The stems are far more flavorful than the tops and you'll maximize your dollars spent while reducing waste. Want an even crazier idea? Juice 'em! Yup, cook the tops and save the bottoms for your juicer. Wild!



Got a great frugal Veggie Hack? Please share below, I'd love to check them out!

Cheers,

post signature