Monday, October 1, 2012

How To Get Rid of Drain Flies

For two weeks, I have been battling small, flying bugs in the kitchen.  My normal methods to get of fruit flies were not working on these bugs, and I soon realized they were not, in fact, fruit flies at all.  They are a similar looking flying insect commonly called drain flies.  They are small moths that breed in standing water and in your drains.

Unlike fruit flies, drain flies are not attracted to fly strips or vinegar traps.  I was at my wit's end with these buggers.  I had to keep my kitchen meticulously clean at all times -- not an easy feat with three kids! -- and they still did not go away.

So I turned to Google for an answer.  I found out they were actually a small moth, and they live in wet places like a dish rag left on the counter or a drain.  They especially love a clogged drain.  The only real advice I could find to get rid of drain flies was to seal any plumbing leaks and unclog your drain with a foaming drain cleaner.  The foam cleans out all of the drain to flush the eggs.

tropical moth fly (Diptera: Psychodidae) - indet.
Yuck!

Instead of buying a chemical to clean my drains, I made my own foaming cleaner.  I filled my sink with ice cubes and squired about 1/2 a cup of dish soap.  I ran just enough cold water so I didn't ruin my disposal and turned the disposal on.  The soap bubbled like crazy and the ice cleaned my disposal blades.  I turned off the water and disposal and let the bubbles rise out of both sides of the sink.

Several hours later, I noticed that there were not nearly as many bugs.  Unfortunately, they came back that night.  So the next night, I bleached the sink again and plugged both drains for the night.  The next morning, there were less than 10 bugs.  I keep plugging the sink at night until they were gone.

But the first night I didn't plug my drains, the bugs were back.  These bugs have a short life cycle, but they can live up to three weeks.  Eggs can take up to four days to hatch.  So keep those drains plugged for several days after they all disappear!

I wish I had known this simple trick about two weeks ago!  I could have saved a lot of frustration, but on the bright side, my kitchen has never been so clean :)

Tips

  • Use a cleaner with vinegar, bleach, or alcohol on your counters and sink.
  • Do not leave any dishes sitting in your skin.
  • Do not let wet towels or dishcloths sit out.
  • Even though they are not fruit flies, they will eat food. Clean spills immediately and do not let any food sit out on the counter.  
  • Plug your drains as much as your can and especially all night.  Keep them plugged for several days after the bugs are gone.
  • If plugging your drains does not work, you either do not have drain flies or you have a small leak somewhere.  
Read More »

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Three Tier Wedding Cake SVG

This is a simple wedding cake SVG file, but I used it to make an elegant wedding shower card.  You could also use beads or lace to decorate it for a beautiful card or scrapbook layout.

For personal use only.  Please do not share the file.  You are welcome to share this page with your friends if they want the file.  Thank you for respecting my time as a blogger.

Download the file here.  

I have a different version of a wedding cake available here


Read More »

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Homemade Grape Jelly From Grape Juice Recipe

My kids are on a no high fructose corn syrup or food dye diet, so I have to make many of their favorite foods.  Homemade jelly sounds difficult, but it is very easy to make.  Promise.  I made two batches tonight in under an hour including clean up.  I make my grape jelly with grape juice, so it takes even less time than making other jellies or jams.

If you buy a box of Sure Jell from the store, it really isn't cheaper to make your own , but the taste is worth it.  I am fortunate enough to live by Amish country, so I buy pectin in bulk.  A 1.75 ounce box of Sure Jell is $2.99 at the grocery store.  A 1.78 pound bag of bulk pectin is $5.14!  If you do buy bulk pectin, 1/3 of a cup equals one box of Sure Jell.


I use the quick and easy freezer jelly recipe from Sure Jell.  I have done cooked jelly, but the quick version is just as tasty.  It doesn't set up quite as hard, but it definitely works for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups grape juice
  • 5 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 box Sure Jell or 1/3 cup bulk pectin

Directions

1.  Measure sugar and juice in two separate bowls.
2.  Pour juice into sugar and stir until the sugar is mostly dissolved.  Let sit for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3,  In small saucepan, coming 3/4 cup water and pectin.  I start this about 5 minutes after I combine the juice and sugar.  Heat on high until boiling, stirring constantly.  Boil for one minute while you stir.  
4.  Stir pectin into the juice and sugar mixture.  Stir for at least three minutes until you can't see any sugar granules.  
5.  Pour into clean containers.  Your jelly will expand when it freezes, so leave about 1/2 an inch for expansion.  
6.  Let sit at room temperature for about 24 hours until set.  Then store in the refrigerator for 3 weeks or freeze up to a year.  

The last photo shows how much I made in one batch.  I could have filled them a little more so I didn't have a partial container, but I was making another batch.  My favorite storage containers are the frosting containers because the lids fit snug, but I also use butter, dip, sour cream, or deli containers.  

If you've never made homemade grape jelly from grape juice, you are in for a treat!  You may never buy store-bought jelly again.  In just under an hour, I made jelly to last about 4 months with no high fructose corn syrup, no food dyes, no chemicals, and no preservatives.  

Read More »

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Homemade Chocolate Syrup Recipe No HFCS or Dyes

I have one child on the spectrum and one with Sensory Processing Disorder, so we avoid high fructose corn syrup and food dyes.  One will only drink milk with chocolate, and both like chocolate with their ice cream treat.  Even though they don't get it often, I wanted to make my own chocolate syrup recipe without any artificial ingredients.  It only takes a few minutes to prepare and only uses five ingredients!  The best part?  It tastes even better than store bought syrup!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cocoa 
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Directions
1.  In medium to large saucepan, whisk cocoa powder and water.

It will clump at first.  Whisk until there are no lumps. 


2.  Heat over high heat and whisk until cocoa is completely dissolved.  
3.  Add sugar and keep whisking.
4.  Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 3 minutes.  Keep whisking.
See how it bubbled up?  That's why you need a big saucepan for 2 cups of syrup.  

5.  Remove from heat and add salt and vanilla.  Whisk again.
As soon as you remove it from the heat the bubbles die.  
(I filled the measuring spoon half way; the recipe is correct)

6.  Let cool completely.  Store in the refrigerator.   

I funnel the homemade chocolate syrup in a clean coffee creamer container, and it fits perfectly.  

Did I mention this tastes better than store bought?  Because it does!   Use it for chocolate milk, milkshakes or on ice cream.  Now my kids can have a little treat, and I don't have hyperactive, wild children an hour later.  Win-win.  

Read More »

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Home Remedy For Bee Stings

Earlier this week, we discovered a rather large yellow jacket nest in the front flower bed.  We are on day 3, and there are still several hundred bees swarming around.  We put the first application of Sevin Dust on last night, and we expect that to kill quite a few today.

I thought I was safe to water my plants on the front porch this morning, but I got stung on the finger.  I used an old home remedy for bee stings that I read about on the Internet several years ago, but, fortunately, never had to try.  I'm happy to say that it stopped the pain immediately, and an hour later, I am still pain free!

a bee at work
What You Need
  • Ice
  • Baking soda
  • Meat tenderizer
  • Bowl
  • Water
Directions
  1. Put ice on the spot immediately to control swelling.  Mix equal parts baking soda and meat tenderizer in a bowl.  I used about a tablespoon of each.  This does not have to be exact.  Add enough water to make a thick paste.  
  2. Spread the paste all over the sting.
  3. Let dry before rinsing off.
  4. If you are still in pain, reapply.
The meat tenderizer breaks down proteins, which is what the bee injects in your skin.  By breaking it up, your pain and swelling disappear.  

This bee sting home remedy only took one application for me.  The pain is completely gone, and I never swelled at all.  The sting did make my heart race, so I'll be taking it easy for the day.  
Read More »

Monday, August 6, 2012

In This Home SVG File For SCAL or MTC

I bought a 12x12 tile about 3 years ago, and I've been waiting to find the perfect quote.  I saw this in a store and made my own SVG file to cut with my Cricut.  This is sized for a 12x12 tile, but you could break it apart and move around the words.

I would like to show the finished project, but me and the transfer tape, uh, got in a bit of a fight.  The transfer tape won.

In this home we do second chances.  We do grace.  We do real.  We do I'm sorrys.  We do mistakes.  We do hugs.  We do love.  We are family.

Download SVG
Download SCAL2 file for Sure Cuts a Lot

Read More »

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Homemade Dog Shampoo Recipe


When you buy commercial dog shampoo, it can be loaded with artificial colors, fragrances, and chemicals. It's easy to make a natural shampoo for your pet that gives him a shiny, soft coat. If your dog has sensitive skin, homemade shampoo will not irritate his skin and may help him heal.
Do not use shampoo made for humans on your dog because dogs require a different pH than do people. Also, do not use your pooch's shampoo on your cat. Since cats groom themselves, they can ingest essential oils that did not rinse completely.
Natural Shampoo Recipe
This recipe is great for your dog's regular baths. It will leave him with soft, shiny fur. The vinegar lowers the pH to a safe level for your pet. Glycerin is a humactant, so it draws moisture from the air to your dog's skin to keep it moisturized.
Ingredients
  • Dog is human's best friend
  • 1 cup regular dish soap
  • 1 cup distilled vinegar
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/3 cup glycerin
Directions
  1. Mix all ingredients well.
  2. Wash dog as you normally would. Avoid eyes and inside the ears.
  3. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.
Dry Skin Recipe
If your dog has dry skin, use this homemade dog shampoo to soothe and heal his skin.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1 cup oatmeal
Directions
  1. Use food processor to grind oatmeal into a powder.
  2. Heat water in medium saucepan until boiling.
  3. Stir in oatmeal powder until it thickens. Let mixture cool completely.
  4. Fill and old sock with the oatmeal mixture. Use this to bathe the dog like you would a washcloth, making sure the oatmeal gets to the dog's skin.
  5. Let sit on the dog for 5 minutes before rinsing.
Homemade Flea Shampoo
The essential oils in this dog shampoo recipe naturally repel fleas. Use this recipe when your dog is likely to encounter fleas, or if you notice fleas on him or in the house.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup citronella oil
  • 2 tablespoons eucalyptus oil
  • 2 tablespoons white cedar oil
  • 2 tablespoons peppermint oil
Directions
  1. Place water in a large bowl.
  2. Add essential oils and vinegar and mix well.
  3. Use to bathe your dog at the first sign of fleas or to prevent fleas.

Read More »

Thursday, February 16, 2012

To Die For Whole Chicken In A Crock Pot

I adapted this recipe from a few different recipes.  It's not an exact recipe; I use what I have on hand, and I don't measure when I cook.  Feel free to add more or less depending on what you have or your family's taste.  Since the prep work is done the night before, it takes almost no time to prepare this the day you cook it.  I like to make this whole chicken in the Crock Pot, but you could make bake it in the oven for a crispy outside.

Ingredients

  • One whole chicken (innards removed)
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon thyme
  • Onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Water
Directions

  1. Fill a large sauce pan about 3/4 full of water.  Add salt, peppercorns, onion and spices.  Add whatever vegetables you have to make a broth.  I like to use carrots and celery, but it tastes great without them, too.
  2. Bring to a boil on high heat.  Reduce heat to medium, cover and let simmer for an hour. 
  3. Turn off heat and let cool or add ice to speed up the process.  
  4. Wash and pat dry the chicken.  Place in large bowl.  Cover with cooled brine and add water as needed to cover the chicken.  
  5. Let soak all night.
  6. The next morning, transfer the chicken to the Crock Pot.  
  7. Sprinkle the top of the chicken with paprika, salt, pepper and garlic.  
  8. Cook on high for an hour and turn to low.  Let cook for 3-4 hours or until juices are clear.  
The chicken will release natural juices, so you do not need to add any water or broth when cooking chicken in a Crock Pot.  If you want to bake the chicken, follow the directions on the package for the time and temperature.  Rub olive oil on the chicken before adding spices and baking for a crispy outside.

Soaking the chicken gives it a wonderful taste throughout the chicken rather than just on the surface.  The best part is the prep work is done the night before, so you can have a delicious meal during the week!

I serve this with flavored rice or mashed potatoes and a veggie.  It's very versatile, so you can serve just about anything with it.

Photo credit: jfelias from morguefile.com
Read More »

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Vinyl POW MIA Flask

I made this flask for my husband for Christmas.  I found the image online and converted it to a SVG.  Unfortunately, I can't find the image right now, and the link is on my old laptop.  If I do find it, I will update this post with a link.


I used Wall Pops from Home Depot for the vinyl.  It cuts in the Cricut perfectly and transfers great!  This was a very easy project and my 9-year-old completed it in about 10 minutes.  Shhhh...don't tell hubby that!



Read More »

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Upcycled Tin Can Organizer

I'm almost sure I saw this on Pinterest, but now I can't find it among my boards.  I know I've seen it other places on the Internet, too.

Supplies


  • Lazy susan
  • Cans in different sizes and shapes
  • Paint or scrapbook paper
  • Mod Podge
  • Hot glue
  • Ribbon or stickers to decorate as needed
Direction
  1. Paint lazy susan with plastic paint.  I found mine in my Mom's pile of things to donate, and it was pretty stained.  A fresh coat of paint, and it looks new again.
  2. Remove labels from clean cans.  I had hubby remove the sharp edge from the can opener.  
  3. Apply scrapbook paper with mod podge or paint cans.  Decorate with stickers and ribbons.  I used Tacky Glue to attach the ribbon.
  4. Arrange cans on lazy susan and hot glue in place.  Be generous with the hot glue.  Even though the cans won't have a lot of stress on them, mine had a small gap on the bottom, so I needed a big pile of glue.  

Tips
  • You can still see the ridges on the cans through the paper.  This doesn't bother me, but if it will bother you, you may want to look for smooth cans.
  • I wanted a bigger can for the center, so I used a cardboard container from peanuts.  
  • I saved about 20 cans and picked the ones that work best.  
  • You can paint the inside of the cans and use paper on the outside.  Totally up to you.


Read More »

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Upcycled Bird Cage

I can post again!  Got a new laptop, so I'm back.  Yay!  

Here's just one project I worked on while I was gone.  I picked up this wood bird cage at a thrift store for $4! Squeeee!  I'm sure no one saw the potential in this baby!

Cell phone pic -- I was too excited to get a good pic!

This thing had been painted multiple times, and quite a few coats stuck together on the wires.  I sanded it and used a wire brush to remove the big chunks.  Then I primed and painted.  That took forever to get both sides of the wires and the inside.  Just when I thought I was done, I'd pick it up and find more white.  

After I got it all black, I realized it needed something.  I used fishing line to attach my Amy Butler chickadees  die cuts inside and lined the bottom with coordinating Amy Butler paper.  

This is it now!  I am absolutely in love.  I hung it in my foyer, so it's the first thing you see when you walk in.  Oddly, no one seems to be as in love with it as I am.  They just aren't as cool as me, I guess.  
Read More »