No More Squash Bugs!!!

Whoever has had a garden knows all about these pesty squash bugs! Well I can officially say I have finally found the solution. This was my first year in my garden I didn’t have ONE…..YES!!!! I don’t like to use chemicals in my garden I try to do everything all organic. So any harsh chemicals was a given no go for me.

I tried this same recipe I am going to share with you today the end of last year. I started to see the yucky squash bugs and it killed them and didn’t see any more.

This year I wanted to make sure I never got them, (once you get them they are hard to get rid of, in the past I would just pull my plants because I didn’t even want to deal with them) so I sprayed my leafs with my recipe a few times a month. I only sprayed it on plants where these little guys like to show up such as cucumbers, any squash or zucchini, and pumpkin plants. This really worked like a charm and I am SUPER DUPER excited!!!

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Only 5 ingredients:

Get a spray bottle and fill it 3/4 full of warm water. Add 2 drops of dawn dish soap, 30 drops of Lemongrass Essential Oil, 40 drops of Eucalyptus Essential Oil, and 40 drops of Cedarwood Essential Oil. That’s it!

I am still in shock it worked!

Take it from someone who has gone to great lengths to keep chemicals out of the garden 🙂 Give it a try and let me know how it goes for you 🙂

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Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Let me just say this Chocolate Zucchini Cake is AMAZING! It has a vegetable in it so it counts to say it is “healthy” LOL (wink, wink)

Chocolate cake

Have you ever had a chocolate sheet cake or Texas sheet cake?  This zucchini cake is just like that, but with the addition of zucchini.  It’s dense, moist, rich and very chocolaty.  You can’t even tell there is zucchini in it.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. unsalted butter
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
3 eggs
1/2 c. buttermilk
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. shredded zucchini, peeled or unpeeled

Chocolate Frosting
3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. unsalted butter
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook for 17-18 mins

For the Cake: In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter; add the cocoa powder and stir until smooth and combined.  Bring to a boil, remove from heat and add to the dry ingredients along with the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and shredded zucchini.  Mix until well combined.  Pour into a greased baking sheet and spread out evenly. When it comes out of the oven pour he frosting right on

For the Chocolate Frosting:  Add powdered sugar to a large bowl; set aside.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter; add the cocoa powder and buttermilk and stir until smooth and combined.  Bring to a boil, remove from heat and pour over the powdered sugar.  Add the vanilla and whisk together until smooth and creamy.  Pour over hot cake and spread out evenly.  Allow to cool, slice and serve.

***NOTE:***I peel half of my zucchini and pulse it all in my blender a few times, but make sure you have it all measured after you grate it before you pulse it.  In my oven it is perfectly done at 17 mins just stick a tooth pick in the middle it can take 17-20 mins to cook every oven is different.

Now go make you some of this YUMMY cake and enjoy!

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Brazilian Lemonade

Don’t be fooled by the name, it is called Brazilian Lemonade and it is made with limes no lemons.  It is so refreshing, sweet, citrusy, & creamy!  We have a tradition at our house and we make this every 4th of July (and throughout the year as well). You can make this 2 ways. I will tell you how we make it at my house because we don’t like pulp. So here is what you need to make this great refreshing drink the whole family will love.

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Ingredients

  • 6 cups cold water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 juicy limes (thin, smooth skins are juiciest)
  • 6 Tbsp sweetened condensed milk

Add water, sugar, the juice of 4 limes and sweetened condensed milk into a blender. If you want a nice smooth refreshing drink add all water but if you like a little slush add some ice in place of some of the water. We like it both ways at my house just depends on what we are in the mood for. Blend all the ingredients slightly and serve.

I use this lime squeezer to get the most of the lime juice out CLICK HERE

You can add half the water and wash the limes and pulse them in the blender and strain the peels out just make sure you wash the limes before hand. This will give it more flavor. Play around with both ways and see what you like best 🙂

Enjoy and feel free to leave a comment with some of your favorite summer drinks.

 

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Easy Meal Planning

Easy meal planning

As a Mom of little ones I love my easy meal planning system. This is my favorite way to plan our food for the month. I color code every day for our breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack and, dinner. This helps me save money every month on our food spending which is a big bonus. If you plan you never have to have the dreaded “Whats for Dinner” etc.. talk.

I  love the BLUE SKY  calendars to plan because there is enough space and the calendars have nice lines, they are spiral bound plus they are cute. You can hang them up too. CLICK HERE TO BUY. I love sharpie ultra fine markers to write everything down. I love lists and something about just writing stuff down makes me happy. CLICK HERE to buy markers.

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ACTION PLAN:

I start off with brainstorming ideas I want for the month on regular notebook paper. I make columns with Breakfast/snacks/lunch/dinner.

  • Browse cookbooks and Pinterest for meal time inspiration.
  • Keep a Legend at the bottom of the calendar to know what each color stands for each day.
  • Then I plan out each month.(I try to plan for at least 2 months at a time) We allow for eating out 2 times a month. The rest of the time we try to keep to the plan and eat home as a family.

When we plan out our meals it really does save A TON OF MONEY! I will be having a post about my time saving tips and tricks on how I plan and prepare all of our snacks for the month as well. Enjoy!

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5 habits to do every day

5 Habits to do every day

Here are 5 habits I do every day that make my day better. There are days when I wake up feeling overwhelmed. When I feel tired and behind before my feet even hit the floor. When I just want to roll over and go back to sleep because my to-do list is too long and the night was too short!

Some days, some months, and some years, life is just very exhausting and stretching. Sometimes, you just wish you could find a way to run away to a very quiet, CLEAN place where you don’t have to worry about cleaning.

If you’re in a season of life where you are feeling overwhelmed or if you would just love to find a way to have a little more order and structure in your life, I encourage you to develop the habit of doing these 5 things every single day. Commit to trying these 5 things for the next 4 weeks and see what a difference this can make each day.

#1 Wake up before your kids and get YOU ready for the day:

Some days this is a hard one and I don’t always stick to it. I homeschool my kids so we don’t get up as early as most and there are days where we have a PJ day and stay more relaxed and some days I don’t get my shower in until 2:00. BUT when I stick to this rule I feel SO much better throughout the day. I like to get up at least 30 mins earlier than my kids and make sure I am all put together for the day (quick shower, hair, makeup, cute clothes) When you put a little effort into how you dress, it can impact your entire day. When I have my hair done, makeup on and something cute on it makes me feel so much better all day knowing I had time to “get ready”.

5 habits to do every day

#2 Make your Bed:

Before you leave the house in the morning (or better yet, before you leave the bedroom), make your bed. If you’re in a rush, pull the comforter up to the pillows, and smooth it out to create the semblance of a made bed. This simple act creates a sense of order in your bedroom and sets your day off on a productive note that’s likely to carry through. Teach your kids to make their own beds as well. It makes the bedrooms more put together even if there is a little mess here and there.

5 habits to do every day

#3 Do a load of Laundry from start to finish:

This is a NEVER ending chore. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just snap our fingers and all the Laundry would be done for us?!? I wish I could have a laundry fairy in my house!

Washing clothes on a regular schedule keeps the dirty pile from becoming overwhelming (not to mention, ensures that no one runs out of clean underpants). Those with big families prefer doing it every morning, but if you live alone, doing laundry a couple of predetermined days a week should suffice. Doing this will cut back on the long days of playing catch up on Laundry. It makes life so much easier!

5 habits to do every day

#4 Keep your Kitchen clean:

When my kitchen is clean, it feels like my whole house is pretty much clean. When my kitchen is messy, the rest of my house can be clean, but it will feel like the whole thing is a wreck.

Maybe I’m the only person who is this way, but I can’t encourage you enough to develop a system for keeping your kitchen clean. What works for us is to make sure the kitchen is completely clean twice a day. At night before bed and in the morning after breakfast.

I HATE, HATE dirty dishes in the sink. Get the dishwasher emptied and ready to go for the day. Doing this in the morning lays the groundwork for an easy dinner cleanup at night and keeps dishes from stacking up in the sink throughout the day.

At night and in the morning I will wipe down/clean up anything that needs to be cleaned. Throughout the day, as we use plates/cups, we rinse and stick them in the dishwasher. Each night we run the dishwasher and each morning we unload it.  If you have granite counter tops CLICK HERE for my FAVORITE homemade cleaner to make your counters shine!

keep your kitchen clean

#5 Never leave a room empty handed:

First and foremost is keeping the clutter under control.  Piles of stuff scattered here, there and everywhere can be suffocating and chaotic.  If you don’t have time to de-clutter your home all at once, start with the areas that guests congregate first.  Remember the golden rule: if you don’t love it or use it, get rid of it!

I’ve gotten into the habit of always taking a look around before leaving a space in anticipation of putting it away in the space that I’m going.  Is there a toy that needs to be returned to a bedroom, a cup to the kitchen?  If you happen to be going there, take it with you.  It saves time in the long run because you aren’t leaving it all to clean up at one time. You’re on top of it.

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BONUS: Take 15 mins and do something for YOU

Whatever it is, take time to refuel and refresh yourself so that your tank is not depleted.:)

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The last time you visited someone else’s home did you spend the entire time thinking about their dust bunnies?  Nope, chances are you didn’t and neither are the guests in your home.   So cut yourself some slack for goodness sake.

Above all, remember it’s all about keeping it simple and not sweating the small stuff.

Here is a link to my FREE weekly cleaning schedule that has helped me out a TON as well CLICK HERE

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Kids Craft

Kids Craft

We have a Kids Craft day once a month for ages 4-9 that I am in charge of that we meet at our Library. It is so much fun to get together and see everyone’s creativity and get to know others throughout our Homeschool community. Not everyone that comes is Homeschooled. We have a blast each time the kids get together. We do a fun song and read a story that goes along with each craft. Here is one we did for Thanksgiving time. I try to plan one around each Holiday for each month.

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The set up. I like to have everything all ready on each table before everyone arrives.

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Supplies you need for this craft:

Printable Turkey printout (down below)

Tissue paper cut in squares (you can get some HERE for a great price)

Glue

Googly eyes (get some HERE)

Brown paper bags

Crayons (if they want to color)IMAG6103

Everyone’s is unique. Right click on the turkey image below and save to print your own. Enjoy this fun Kids Craft!

turkey

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Emergency Car Kits

Car kits

Here’s a list of everything you should have in your car emergency kit. For each cold and hot season you should change up your car kit. I like to have one for Summer months and change it out right before it gets cold for the winter months. Many of us spend quite a bit of time in our cars as well as in our homes, so it is important to be prepared in your car as well.  Of course mine will differ from others but this is what we use.

In addition, I urge you to learn some basics for car emergencies, like how to change a flat tire, and how to safely use jumper cables. You never know when you might need to use this knowledge. I have a post on how to do both of these CLICK HERE FOR HOW TO CHANGE A FLAT and CLICK HERE FOR HOW TO JUMP A CAR

This is just a simple list to have with you in the colder winter months you can add to it as much as you like but this will give you the basics to be able to get by in case you ever have an emergency while driving.

 1. Water. If the water is kept in a box/tote/etc. in your trunk, it actually doesn’t freeze as quickly as you might think it would.

2. Food. Think high protein, something filling. Keep treats for younger kids too.

3. A way to make a fire. Waterproof matches, a lighter or two, fire starters, whatever you need to be able to get a fire going.

4. Blankets. You’ll probably be pulling these out even if there is no emergency; I have one for each family member in the winter months.

5. A good knife and/or multi-tool.

6. A shovel. Slide off the road into a snowbank and a shovel can mean the difference between being stuck there and digging 3 feet of snow out of your way and getting back on the road.

7. Gloves. Some sturdy, warm, work-in-able gloves would be best. Hats are also a great idea to have and some ear warmers.

8. Light. There are fewer hours of daylight in the winter and the chances of something happening when it’s dark out are pretty good. Keep a good flashlight handy and make sure the batteries are charged or fresh. I have a few glow sticks for my kids.

9. First aid kit is a must no matter what the weather is always have a first aid kit in your car at all times.

10. Communications. Keep your cell phone charged and in the vehicle with you.

11. I love the hand and feet warmers I like to keep some of those in my vehicle as well.

12. Ice scrapper for windows (that’s a given)

13.  1/2 tank of gas minimum – If you have any less in your gas tank it may freeze in cold weather and creates water in your gas tank when it thaws.

14. Pen and paper- to help pass by the time playing games to keep you alert waiting for help.

15. Owner’s manual, you never know what could happen to your car in the cold so it is always a good idea to have the owner’s manual.

 Now for the Summer/warmer months car kit:

We’re on the go a lot during the summer months, whether it’s a road trip, or just around town.  It means a lot of parks, outdoor activities and FUN!  With all that fun comes the inevitable, and odds are, I’m going to need something out of the car kit that I keep in my trunk. Preparedness is key!

If you’ve got kids, you know that bugs, sun, scrapes, bee stings, dirty diapers, wet clothes, mud, accidents, emergency potty stops along the side of the road (or in the woods), and a myriad of other things are bound to happen at some point during the day. 

1. Hand sanitizer
2. Clorox wipes (helps to disinfect areas you may want to disinfect)
3. Baby wipes (LOTS)
4. Sunscreen and sunglasses
5. Bug spray
6. Toilet paper
7. Paper towels
8. Grocery sacks/trash bags
9. Baby powder–removes sand like magic!
10. Plastic tablecloth–you never know when you need a clean surface to eat on!
11. Blanket to sit on at parks
12. First aid kit:  I always have my first aid kit in my car at all times!
13. Kleenex

14. A few snacks like a box of Goldfish for my kids with glass or metal water bottle for each of us. I fill them up before we go anywhere.

15. A spray bottle with a fan on it and extra batteries in case we get stranded with no AC. Also nice to use at parks to help cool off the kids.

Just a few items in your trunk can make a huge difference. Now’s as good a time as ever to get things for your own car kits.

Traveling – we definitely beef up our supplies if we’re going to be on a car trip!

Just a few items in your trunk can mean the difference between a miserable, possibly life threatening experience on the road and coming out alive and well. Now’s as good a time as ever to get those winter supplies in the trunk

Copyright © 2014 – Food Storage and Survival – Read more at: http://foodstorageandsurvival.com/11-trunk-essentials-for-winter-preparedness/

Just a few items in your trunk can mean the difference between a miserable, possibly life threatening experience on the road and coming out alive and well. Now’s as good a time as ever to get those winter supplies in the trunk,

Copyright © 2014 – Food Storage and Survival – Read more at: http://foodstorageandsurvival.com/11-trunk-essentials-for-winter-preparedne

Just a few items in your trunk can mean the difference between a miserable, possibly life threatening experience on the road and coming out alive and well. Now’s as good a time as ever to get those winter supplies in the trunk,

Copyright © 2014 – Food Storage and Survival – Read more at: http://foodstorageandsurvival.com/11-trunk-essentials-for-winter-preparedness/

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