Thursday, June 27, 2013

Snickerdoodle Muffins

2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/4 cup sour cream
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar and 1 TBSP cinnamon mixed together for rolling*

1.Cream the butter and sugar until soft about 3 to 5 minutes. Add in the vanilla. Add in the eggs one at a time and mix until each is incorporated.

2.In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cream of tartar and nutmeg.

3.Add the flour mixture and the sour cream alternately to the egg-butter mixture in the additions. Start with the flour and end with the flour. Scrape the bowl occasionally.

4. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out muffin batter one at a time and drop into a shallow bowl filled with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll the muffin around in the mixture until it is covered completely in cinnamon sugar. Place muffin into muffin tin. Depending on the size of your tins, you should get about 12 to 14 muffins. Bake them for approx. 20-22 minutes in a 350F oven or until they are golden brown.

Crockpot Candy

1 jar(s) (16 oz.) dry roasted, unsalted peanuts
1 jar(s) (16 oz.) dry roasted, salted peanuts
1 pkg (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 oz sweetened german chocolate (green packaging), broken into pieces
3 lb (two 24 oz. pkgs.) white almond bark, broken into pieces [there are several different brands, you'll just have to
use the brand found in your area. manufacturer's have lowered the ounces in some packaging, so use the
equivlaent of 3 lbs.
(some packages of almond bark may have candy coating on the package)
1. Put ingredients into a 4 or 5-quart crockpot in EXACT order as listed. Cover and cook on LOWEST setting [on
your appliance] for 3 hours. DO NOT remove lid! Turn off and allow to cool slightly. Mixture will not be melted but
will be soft. Mix thoroughly and drop by teaspoon size cookie dropper or a teaspoon onto wax paper. Let cool
thoroughly. Makes approximately 150 - 170 pieces, depending, of course, on how large you make the pieces. NOTE:
This candy is made best by following the recipe to the letter. Make other variations and changes at your own risk,
[for example, using pecans or almonds in place of peanuts; white chocolate chips instead of almond bark, etc.] as
this is the voice of experience speaking. Please take into consideration that it may alter the quality of the finished
product. Thank you and LOL! **NOTE: There seems to be discrepencies in the terms crockpot and slow cooker.
This recipe is for a crockpot which, when on low, will only melt the ingredients. A slow cooker will get hotter and
start to cook the ingredients, thus resulting in an inferior product. Please be aware of what kind of appliance you
have. It seems the older "crockpot" works best. There have been some who have burned their ingredients because
their appliance is too hot. The makers and manufacturers of these appliances seem to interchange the description
of their appliances calling slow cookers crockpots. It seems that Rival owns the name crockpot, therefore, others
can't use the name crockpot, they are slow cookers. It's very confusing, but slow cookers, indeed, cook hotter,
which could result in burning of this recipe. There are many discussions and explanations of this subject within the
2. ***NOTE I've been asked to add this note. If your crockpot appliance is below 275 watts, you should not have
any problem with the candy burning if you follow the ingredients and the directions, however, all crockpots are
different, so please pay attention to your cooking process. Look on the bottom of your appliance to see the
wattage. The new crockpots get hotter than the older crockpots and the slow cookers get even hotter.
3. DISCLAIMER: I have not made 1/2 a recipe, used peanut butter chips, mint chips, almonds, pecans, coconut or
any other ingredients other than what the recipe calls for,(except for caramel and it was a disaster and I threw it
away), I have not made it in the microwave nor have I made it on top of the stove, as this is a crockpot recipe,
therefore, if you want to use any other ingredients or make it any other way, please do so, but it may not have the
same consistency, texture, taste, nor gloss that this one has and the end results may not be the quality you are
hoping for.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Homemade Disinfecting Wipes

1 cup of water
1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol
2 Tbsp. Dawn dish soap (only use Dawn)
2 Tbsp. ammonia (optional)
Essential Oil or extract of your choice for scent
Empty baby wipes container or zip lock bag to store wipes in
24 rags – cut into squares approximately 4×6 inches, but whatever size you have available or whichever size you need will work. Old washrags that have seen better days will also work.


Mix the ingredients and pour over the rags. When you need to clean, use them as you would the disposable Clorox wipes.

The best thing about these is that you can throw these in the washing machine and use them again! Really! It’s that simple!

**You will need to adjust how much of the mixture you pour over your rags.

Red Lobster's Cheese Biscuit

Red Lobster's Cheese Biscuit recipe done in a loaf pan.

3 cups flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp. black pepper
4 ounces cheddar cheese, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 1/4 cups milk
3/4 cup sour cream
3 tbsp. butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan with oil. In a bowl, whisk together the first 5 ingredients. Carefully stir in cheese cubes until covered in flour mixture, this will help prevent your cheese sinking to the bottom of your loaf of bread. In a different bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Fold the wet mixture into the flour and cheese mixture, stir until just combined, do not over stir. Spread the mixture into the loaf pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes and then remove from pan. Allow to cool for one hour before slicing and serving

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Glow Bowl

I will publish pics of this when I do it.  Having a party July 4th, will see how this goes.

Glow-in-the-dark bowling is super easy and a lot of fun on a summer night.  Simply fill ten 2 liter bottles up with water.  Activate 10 glow sticks.  Drop one glow stick in each bottle of water.  Wah-lah.  Glow-in-the-dark pins.  We used a soccer ball to bowl.  You can also use two pool noodles to form the lanes.  If the pins are too hard to knock over, simply fill them halfway with water.  We took our I-Pod dock outside so we could have some music playing during our Glow Bowl night.  Don’t forget to have extra glow sticks on hand.  Glow sticks always make an instant party.

Home made paint for kids.

Make your own Ranch, Dry Onion Soup Mix and Taco Seasoning

Make your own Ranch, Dry Onion Soup Mix and Taco Seasoning and store in small mason jars....This is soooo much HEALTHIER than those you buy at the store!! They contain a TON of stuff that is not good for you!!

Taco Seasoning:
1/2 cup chili powder
1/4 cup onion powder
1/8 cup ground cumin
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon sea salt
Put ingredients into a jar and shake.

Dry Onion Soup Mix:
2/3 cup dried, minced onion
3 teaspoons parsley flakes
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

Mix all ingredients in a jar, then give the jar a good shake
Use 4 tablespoons in a recipe in place of 1 packet of onion soup mix. Store this in a dry, cool place.

5 tablespoons dried minced onions
7 teaspoons parsley flakes
4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Mix together and store in an air tight container.
For dressing: Mix 2 tablespoons dry mix with 1 cup mayonnaise and 1 cup buttermilk or sour cream.
For dip: Mix 2 tablespoons dry mix with 2 cups sour cream.
Mix up a few hours before serving, so the flavors all blend.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Home Made Berkey Water Filter

I have a large family and our current home does not afford us much space for water storage. While we are able to store some, our contingency water plan centers around the two stormwater holding ponds near our home. However, this water is standing water that mainly is supplied by runoff from the parking lots of our townhouse complex. So, thorough filtering is required to remove the variety of contaminants that are likely present in the water.
The best option for this situation is the proven Berkey water filter. Berkey filters are gravity filters that use cleanable micro-permeable ceramic filter elements. These filters are extremely effective, long-lasting and require no electricity. The only drawback is that they are expensive, and money saved is money that can be spent on other preps. You can save about $175-200 or more by making your own.
This article will guide you through the construction of a filter equivalent in performance to the Imperial Berkey that sells for about $300. My total cost was $122
Gather the necessary components. You will need the following:
  • two 5-gallon food grade buckets (got mine from Lowes for $5 each)
  • two lids for the buckets (got mine from Lowes for $1.50 each)
  • a pair of Black Berkey filter elements (ordered mine on Ebay for $99 which included free shipping and a free Sport Berkey filtered bottle)
  • a food grade spigot (the kind used for large coffee pots or water coolers is perfect, ordered mine from for $10)

Drill two 1/2" holes in the bottom of the upper bucket and two matching holes in the lid of the lower bucket.
Drill a 3/4" hole in the side of the lower bucket toward the bottom. Make sure that the hole is up just far enough for the spigot to clear when the filter is sitting on a flat surface
Assemble the lower bucket by installing the spigot and the lid with holes.
Install the filter elements in the upper bucket through the holes in the bottom.
Assemble the filter by placing the upper bucket on the lower. Be sure to line up the holes so the tubes extend through the lid of the lower bucket. Place the remaining lid on top.
To use the filter, fill the upper bucket with water and wait. If you are starting with dry elements, it will take quite a while before the water starts dripping into the lower bucket. It takes up to several hours for the clean water to drain into the lower bucket. This process can be sped up considerably by frequently topping off the water in the upper bucket. This maintains maximum pressure on the elements.
  • I had no scientific way to test the water quality; however, the filtered water was clear, had no odor, and tasted similar to distilled.
  • The specifications of the Black Berkey elements can be found here:
  • There are a number of ways to make this even cheaper: Use free buckets from a grocery store bakery or restaurant. I have found the same type of spigot for $5 since making this one. Super Sterasyl elements can be substituted for the Black Berkey elements. They cost about $84 a pair.
  • The filter can be made considerably larger by using any two stacking containers suitable for water, trash cans or 30-gallon water barrels for instance. The flow rate can also be increased by adding more filter elements.
  • The filtered solids remain on the outside of the filter elements and will eventually interfere with the rate of flow. Therefore, it is important to prefilter through a dense cloth (we use cloth diapers) if your source water is particularly cloudy. The elements can be scrubbed clean with a plastic scouring pad. The Black Berkey elements last for about 3000 gallons each (6000 gallons for the pair).

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Glass Cutting

Potato’s for Propagation

This works for other trimmings as well, not just roses. If you already have some bushes/trees you want to expand your garden with, plant the trimmings this way. It will provide them with what they need to thrive and develop healthy root systems.
Simply cut healthy stems, place them in large potatoes, and them bury them 3-4 inches deep in a healthy soil mixture of peat moss and top soil. The potatoes keep the stems moist and help develop the root systems. It's a perfectly simple way to multiply your rose garden or any other garden without spending lots of $$$.

How to fold a towel animal

Click on Link or Picture for instructions.
How To Fold A Towel Dog  Made from one bath and one hand towel, “Fido” is quite well house trained and will give your guests a warm and fuzzy welcome. Cruise lines and B&B Motels use these to make their guest’s stay memorable.
How To fold A Towel Crab  People normally find crabs on the beach, in a crab pot, or perhaps on their dinner plate or in the local seafood shop.  Just recently crabs have made an appearance in unexpected places – like the linen closet.  Not edible perhaps, but cuter than the real thing.  Just follow these directions and you too can go crabbing in your towel cupboard.
How To Fold A Pink Elephant Towel Easily put together from one bath and one hand towel, this towel elephant is a cute addition to your bathroom and an incredible way to impress your guests! Cruise lines and “bed and breakfast” motels use these quite often. If you want to give your bathroom an original touch, have “Eddie the Towel Elephant” greet your unsuspecting guests and tickle their sense of humor.
How To Fold A Towel Into A Heart    Fold an ordinary bath towel into an attention getting heart with these instructions.  This is an art form that’s often seen on cruise ships, and in resort hotels. It entertains the guests when they walk into the room, and makes them feel pampered. Try this on your family or hotel guests and see if they get a kick out of it. This particular heart design is good for combining with other towel animals for a romantic effect.  The towel heart is especially good to leave in honeymoon suites.
How To Fold A Towel Elephant  Step by step instructions on how to fold a towel elephant like this one.
How To Fold A Swan Towel  Towel animals are often used by cruise lines and B&B Hotels to make your stay memorable. Including some in your guest bathroom is sure to impress! To fold a towel swan, follow these directions.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Water Jug Light

This is a pretty cool concept. An innovative solar lighting option developed in Brazil provides energy-efficient lights that probably won’t compete with the next LEDs and only really work in specific circumstances/roofs, but are super cool and have their own unique benefits. The lights? Plastic bottles with water and a couple lids of bleach in them and stuck through the roof. The Brazilian engineer who came up with the idea did so in the midst of an energy blackout and crisis in 2002, as the first video below indicates. The 2-liter soda bottle lights are actually rated at 50-60 watt

Hot to Make Natural Ginger Ale

It turns out that soda hasn’t always been the high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavor concoction in an aluminum can that we know today.
For hundreds of years (and probably much longer) cultures around the world have made various forms of naturally fermented “sodas” from sweetened herbal teas or fruit juice mixes. These natural fermented drinks contained beneficial enzymes and probiotics to boost health and were a far cry from the unhealthy versions we have today.
This version uses a fermented ginger culture to create a naturally fizzy soda! Ginger is and delicious herb that has been used in many cultures for its health-boosting properties. From my herb profile of ginger:
Ginger has been used in Chinese Medicine for thousands of years and is said to help:
  • Soothe digestive disturbances
  • Alleviate nausea (great in early pregnancy)
  • Reduce fever
  • Calm coughing and respiratory troubles
  • Stimulates the circulatory system
  • Helps relieve muscle aches and pain
  • Can help get rid of dandruff
  • Emerging evidence shows it helps lower cholesterol
  • Japanese research has found Ginger is effective in lowering blood pressure and cancer risk”
This natural recipe for ginger ale uses fresh ginger and a cultured ginger mixture (called a ginger bug) to create a naturally fermented and naturally fizzy ginger ale. Though this mixture can contain a small amount of alcohol if left to ferment at room temperature for weeks, we use the short brew method to create a fizzy soda without the alcohol.
Homemade ginger ale is soothing for digestive disturbances and contains probiotics and enzymes. As with any fermented product, I’d suggest starting with a small amount (4 ounce or so) and working up as all the probiotics and enzymes can cause an upset stomach in those who aren’t used to consuming fermented products. I found small amounts of this mixture helpful in early pregnancy to ward off nausea and any time one of us has an upset stomach. It also just tastes great!
This recipe makes 2 quarts of natural ginger ale, though the recipe can be adjusted up or down by using a ratio of 1/4 cup sugar per 1 quart of water and adding 1/4 cup ginger bug starter per quart of water.
Natural Ginger Ale
A naturally fermented old-fashioned ginger ale (also once called Ginger Beer) that contains beneficial probiotics and enzymes.
Author: Wellness Mama
Recipe type: Cultured – Beverage
  • A 1-2 inch piece of fresh ginger root, minced. Adjust this to taste. I use 2 inches as I prefer a stronger ginger taste.
  • ½ cup of organic sugar or rapadura sugar. if using plain sugar, add 1 tablespoon molasses for flavor and minerals.
  • ½ cup fresh lemon or lime juice
  • ½ tsp sea salt or himalayan salt
  • 8 cups of filtered (chlorine free) water (Here is the water filter we use)
  • ½ cup homemade ginger bug (or can use ¼ cup whey for a faster recipe though the flavor won’t be quite as good.Here is a tutorial for how to make whey)
  1. Make a “wort” for your ginger ale by placing 3 cups of the water, minced ginger root, sugar (and molasses if needed), and salt in a saucepan and bringing to a boil.
  2. Simmer the mixture for about five minutes until sugar is dissolved and mixture starts to smell like ginger.
  3. Remove from heat and add additional water. This should cool it but if not, allow to cool to room temperature before moving to the next step.
  4. Add fresh lemon or lime juice and ginger bug (or whey).
  5. Transfer to a 2 quart glass mason jar with a tight fitting (air-tight) lid. Stir well and put lid on.
  6. Leave on the counter for 2-3 days until carbonated and transfer to the fridge where it will last indefinitely.
  7. Watch this step carefully. Using whey will cause it to ferment more quickly and it will take less time. It should be bubble and should “hiss” like a soda when the lid is removed. This is very temperature dependent and the mixture may need to be burped or stirred during this fermentation time on the counter.
  8. As with any traditional fermented drink, it is more of an art than a science as it depends on the strength of your culture, the temperature of your house and the sugar used. The final mixture should smell of ginger and slightly of yeast/fermentation and should be fizzy. Watch carefully that it doesn’t become too carbonated as this will cause too much pressure and may result in an exploding jar!
  9. The mixture can be strained and transferred to Grolsch style bottles before putting in the fridge (we like these bottles).
  10. Strain before drinking.
  11. Enjoy!
Have you ever made a naturally fermented drink like ginger ale, kombucha or water kefir? What is your favorite? Share below!

Homemade Sunscreen

Thanks to The Humbled Home Maker for collecting 5 Sunscreen Recipes – we adapted ours from the recipes we found.  My chocolate kiddos are no longer white streaked and we have tested this cream for over a week with burn-instantly vanilla kids at our pool – this stuff works!!
Ingredients for sunscreen:
Note: Ingredient list contains affiliate links – clicking helps pay for our diapers – whoop!!  Help me blog more!!
  1. 2-3 Tablespoons Zinc Oxide Powder
  1. 1 Pound Shea Butter
  2. 1 ounce 100% Beeswax
  3. Lavender Oil to scent
  4. 1/8th a Teaspoon of Iron Oxide Powder (optional, to tint the cream brown)
Explanation of the ingredients:
Use the Shea Butter as your base.  It is really smooth as a carrier oil for the powder.  As we live in Texas and spend much of our day at the pool, we wanted a water proof sunscreen and we needed something that had a higher melt temperature (in case we left the cream in the car).  We used some beeswax to help solidify the cream.  If you live in the north you can probably use less (or none).
If your sunscreen melts you will want to shake it up before using.  The zinc powder tends to settle to the bottom of the cream otherwise.
**We added iron oxide to our sunscreen to make it a brown tint.  The oxide is also a sun protector.  BUT you can leave this ingredient out if you are worried about staining suits or if your kids are pale.**
How to Make Sunscreen:
Melt the shea butter and the beeswax in a double boiler.  Whisk it to blend the oils.  Then put a mask on to protect yourself from the zinc powders – they can be a health risk if inhaled.  Add the zinc powder and a pinch of the iron oxide.  Blend really well.  We whisked the cream for over two minutes.  Add the lavender oil (or any other oil to scent EXCEPT citrus ones).
To use, rub the lotion between your hands to soften it before you spread it.  I hope you enjoy!

Brownie Mix

Never buy boxed brownie mix again! Follow the recipe below and make brownies for approximately .30 a mix! 

So simple, so easy. Not just frugal but cuts out the unknown ingredients. 
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1/3 Cup Cocoa
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Baking Powder. 
At Baking Time Add:
2 Eggs
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 teaspoon Vanilla. 
Bake @ 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes in an 8x8 or 9x9 pan. check after 12-15 minutes of baking and remove when brownies are done!
Store mix in plastic bags or mason jars.

T-shirt to dress


Thursday, June 20, 2013

E-Cigs - stopping smoking

So, decided it was finally time to quit smoking.  All the e-cigs I have heard about were way out of our budget.  Then, found out a fellow member of my church sold them and at an affordable price, yay!!  In fact, it's even cheaper than smoking, BONUS!!

Here is the breakdown of the savings.

Pack Cigarettes E-cig
pack          $6                 initial                         $23
days            7                 e-juice 2 flavors $11
week $42                month                 $34
month $168         2 people                 $68
2 people $336

So the total savings is $268 a month.  What would you do with the money saved?

Found this image on facebook today.

So, what are you waiting for?

Please be aware that you will  probably have some symptoms once you quit smoking.  Here is a site that explains all that.

Here is a link to their website so you can see their many products.

Survival Cement

Survival Cement

(As featured in the August 2008 issue of Practically Seeking)

One of the most useful substances one can use outdoors is Survival Cement.

This mixture of mud and grasses can be used for a multitude of projects, from construction of shelters, cooking structures, kilns and food caches, to wrapping food for clay baking (as seen in my articles on these subjects in Wilderness Waymagazine ) and much more.

Survival cement has been used throughout the eons of history in countless ways.

It is simple to make, the ingredients are easy to come by and it is one of the most durable resources available in a primitive situation. In fact, during a trip to Utah a couple of years ago we encountered some Anasazi ruins that were many hundreds, if not thousands of years old where the survival cement was still intact. (See photos below) How many modern buildings will be able to say that?!

Tips for Making Good Survival Cememnt

  • If you are using your survival cememnt as a mortar, create a mixture that is thinner and wetter so that it will fill each and every crevasse and joint.
  • Cut your grasses based on the length of the item for which you will be using your cement. If you are building a large structure such as a kiln, or cementing over a shelter foundation the grasses can be left much longer and placed so they run all in one direction as opposed to haphazardly throughout the mud. In this way they act almost like re-bar. (See an Anasazi example below.)
  • If you do not gather enough grass and have to go harvest more mid-making, cover and seal your existing survival cement as best you can while you are gone so it will retain the proper moisture content.
  • If you must add water to help rehydrate your mud, do so a LITTLE AT A TIME. It's much easier to add more water than to try to re-create the proper consistancy once the mud is soupy.

Step-by-step Instructions for Making Survival Cement:

  1. Find a source of mud with as high a clay content as possible 'If you smush some of the mud into a ball and it retains it's shape, you should be good.) and fill up a bucket with it — more if you are planning a large project.
  2. Gather mud in a bucket
  3. Harvest a big armload of grasses, preferably dry — more if you are planning a large project — and cut them into lengths of about 6-12 inches.
  4. Dry grasses

  5. Hydrate to your clay to a point where it will squish, not run, easily through your fingers. The consistency must be wet enough that it can be molded, but not so watery that it will not hold it's shape. Wetter mixes are good for mortar between stones, firmer for making bricks and solid survival cement structures, firmer still for wrapping food.
  6. Hydrate to proper consistency
  7. Spread a tarp on the ground and place the bucket of mud and the grasses at the edges of the tarp.
  8. Spread out tarp
  9. Dump the mud out of the bucket into the center of the tarp and place about half of your grass on top of the mud.
  10. Dump mud onto tarp Add half your grass Grass covering mud
  11. Get barefoot, and begin to stomp the grasses into the mud. Or, if you're not inclined to get your feet dirty, do like Eddie and fold a corner of the tarp over top and stomp on that!
  12. Stomp the grasses into the mud Clean feet!
  13. Once the mud/grass mixture has spread out and flattened, step off the tarp and fold it in half, turning the mixture back onto itself. Do this a couple of times until it has formed back into a sort of ball.
  14. Mud & grass mixture flattened out Fold mixture onto itself Fold into "ball"
  15. Add the remaining grass and start stomping once again. Continue to repeat this process until the grass has been thoroughly combined into the mud. You want the grass to be between 40%-60% of your mixture, depending on the project.
  16. Add more grass Stomp it together again Well combined
  17. Begin your survival cement project immediately, as once it begins to dry out the mud will harden and be difficult to mold. In these photos Eddie is fashioning a mud brick for an upcoming project.
  18. Begin your project Mud Brick

Now Get Muddy, and Have Fun!

Examples of Anasazi usage of Survival Cement from southern Utah

On a trip to southern Utah a few years ago we hiked up to explore some ancient Anasazi ruins high up in a canyon. The photos below show some amazing examples of the durability of survival cement after hundreds, if not thousands of years!
The dwellings were mortared with survival cement to amazing effect, and the dried grasses are still fully intact!
Mortared Dwelling Shelter WallBroken Wall Mud BrickNote how the grasses have been placed parallel to each other to create an extrememly strong, re-bar type effect.Grasses are still intact Survival Re-bar

8 Items in your kitchen that will make you a better gardener

8 Items in your kitchen that will make you a better gardener

Did you know that you can use orange peels to kill ants? Or how about Epsom salt to grow healthier tomatoes? You are sitting on a gold mine of resources in your kitchen that can be re-purposed or recycled to benefit your garden. The best part is that you are eliminating the use of dangerous chemicals, while saving money, and not harming the environment.

1. Natural Pest Control

Cayenne Pepper or red chili pepper; if you are using whole peppers combine a half cup chopped peppers and two cups of water in a blender and pour the liquid into a spray bottle, add a tbsp. of liquid soap to help the spray “stick” to the plants. If you are using the powder form of pepper, substitute 2 tbsp for the half cup. Remember that this is not a selective pesticide, meaning it can harm beneficial insects too, so be sure and only use it if you have a major problem.

2. Japanese Beetle Trap

This is a simple one. All you’ll need is a bucket, a brick, and a can of fruit cocktail. Open the fruit cocktail and let it set on the window seal for a few days to ferment. Put the brick in the bucket and place the fruit cocktail on the brick. Fill the bucket with water up to the rim of the fruit cocktail can. Set the bucket near the problem area, the beetles will fly in to get the fruit cocktail and drown in the bucket.

3. Natural Herbicide

Vinegar is a great substitute for the toxic and persistent glyphosate. Add a little dish soap with pure vinegar in a spray bottle and apply during the heat of the day. If you find that your kitchen vinegar just won’t cut the tough weeds, you can purchase a horticultural grade vinegar with a higher concentration of acetic acid and apply it the same way.

4. Natural Fertilizer #1

Don’t put down that vinegar just yet. If your acid loving plants, like azaleas or gardenias are looking a little yellow, mix 2 tbsp of vinegar to 1 quart of water and pour at the base of the plant. Repeating this process every two weeks should turn that yellow to green.

5. Ant Killer #1

Don’t spray or pour those broad spectrum pesticides all over the place, these are particularly persistent and harmful to humans and animals, as well as all insects, beneficial and not. Simply boil some water and dump on the mound, the ants die instantly. Be sure to boil enough water so you can keep pouring until you reach the queen.

6. Ant Killer #2

Don’t put those orange peels in the compost pile just yet. Throw equal parts orange peels and water into the blender and puree. Voila, instant ant killer, that won’t kill you.

7. Natural Fertilizer #2

Epsom salt is a natural mineral, discovered in the well water of Epsom, England, and has been used for hundreds of years. It is magnesium sulfate which stimulates root growth in plants, especially tomatoes. Add a teaspoon to the hole when planting and presto, super tomatoes. The magnesium is critical for seed germination and the production of chlorophyll, fruit, and nuts. Magnesium helps strengthen cell walls and improves plants’ uptake of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur. As an added bonus, a little pinch will also deter squirrels from digging up bulbs in your flower garden.

8. Slug and snail deterrent

Don’t dump out that last bit of coffee that you didn’t finish, throw it in a spray bottle and spray your plants to naturally deter slugs and snails. Also, you can make a slug “fence” around the garden with the grounds. This is a double bonus because as the coffee grounds deter slugs, they are also a great addition to soil and earthworms love them!