Monday, May 25, 2009

DIY Cleanser

I have a 28 oz Method Cleanser Bottle that I have repurposed for my own cleaner. It works fantastic and it smells really fresh!

I used:

8 oz of Orange Vinegar (Distilled White Vinegar that I soaked Orange Peels in for a few weeks)
18 oz of Distilled water
1 oz of 92% Rubbing Alcohol
20 drops of Peppermint oil
20 drops of Tea Tree oil
and 5 drops of dish detergent

I am using it on counters, walls, doors, woods, metals, mirrors... and it cleans well! I don't own any vodka or Everclear, but next time I will use something like that instead of the rubbing alcohol. I have to buy some for making cordials/cough syrups anyway and it will be even safer than this one to use.

The Tea Tree Oil and Peppermint Oil are both vermin repellent as well. Mice hate it, and so do other creepy crawlies. :)

Also, it reduces the money you have to spend on other things such as chemical bug sprays. Because the bugs aren't in the house (the pheromone led ones, I believe) the spiders hightail it out of the house because no food supply means no point in sticking around.

Monday, May 18, 2009

How I got rid of Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG) aka trench mouth... ew

Gums that bleed spontaneously. Loose teeth, bad breath. These are all signs of something that has gone TERRIBLY wrong with the bacteria in your mouth. The bad bacteria has overrun the good bacteria, and this is not a good thing. The bacteria from your gums can invade other parts of your body (namely your heart) and can wreak havoc with your health.

Formerly it was found in WWII in the trenches but dentists are seeing a resurgence, especially in college students during finals week and pregnant women. Poor nutrition coupled with stress is a recipe for disaster.

My dentist told me a mixture to use, after my first treatment (which was painful and difficult, I had to be on antibiotics during so that my heart wasn't in danger from the bacteria).

1 part glycol, 1 part salt, 1 part baking soda.
He had me use this twice a day.

When I went in for my second treatment 2 weeks later, he said it didn't even look like the same mouth. My second treatment consisted of him looking at it and poking around and smiling.

The mixture is harsh, but it does get rid of the bad bacteria. It also whitens teeth, freshens breath and removes plaque.

I have made a paste with hydrogen peroxide, salt and baking soda. It isn't "completely" Natural, but oxygen isn't a dangerous chemical. I use it every few months as a preventative treatment now.

This is just something that worked for me. I am not a dentist or doctor. I am just someone who is sick of being sick.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Stretching my meat budget

I buy 1/4 of a cow from a local (to my extended family) farmer and I have it processed at the local meat locker. After processing it comes out to about 2 dollars a pound. However sometimes there is a really fantastic deal from our local grocer to get Ground chuck for about $1.00 a lb for bullets of meat, or less than $1 a pound for the big packs (Price Matching at Walmart is good for this, as is my local Hy-vee). The venison is free from the hunters in our family and ground turkey is about $0.70 for a 1lb bullet.

What I do is I add 1 lb ground venison, 1 lb ground turkey,1 lb good meat and 1 lb bullet ground beef. I brown them all together and then drain in the in a colander. I put it back in the pan, add 2 cubes of beef bullion, 1/2 cup of tvp and 1 cup of water. I have been making beef stock from soup bones and I have been adding 1 cup of that instead of the water/ bullion as of late. It has less sodium and is even more flavorful. I cook it all until it is all evenly browned and the liquid has cooked down or been absorbed by the TVP.

I split up the meat into 5 equal parts and freeze it. It comes out to be less than $0.75 a pound. It does not taste 'gamey' or bland. and can be used in anything requiring ground beef. And since it is already browned it cuts my cooking time down considerably. YAY for homemade convenience!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

No Shampoo, No chemicals, No Tar Dandruff solution, PLUS Managable hair! Frugal, Fashionable and Fantastic. UPDATED and adding a Sugar Scrub

Dandruff. Yucky flakes. Itchy scalp. It's not fun, it's not fashionable and it's disheartening. You buy creams and shampoos and gels and and bottle after bottle of chemical SLS laden or lye based detergents and soaps to try to combat this troublemaker.

I finally found something that finally works for me. I went to beauty school. I know the things that we are trained about using Shampoo, Conditioner and hair masques. I bought into it. The more expensive the product, the better it was, right? Wrong.

In my bathroom, there are two bottles that you wouldn't expect. One is a shaker with baking soda in it. It looks like the ones at Pizza parlors filled with red pepper flakes and cheese. I bought it at the dollar tree for a buck. Also, a repurposed honey bottle filled with 1/4 apple cider or white distilled vinegar and 3/4's water.

2 times a week, I hop in my shower without the water running and sprinkle baking soda in my hair, focusing on the roots. I massage it in with my fingers into make sure it is coating my scalp and wait a few minutes. I run a wide toothed comb through my hair gently massaging my scalp with the teeth. (A pick would do this well) I then start my shower, and do my routine (shaving, sugar scrub, rinsing). I then use my vinegar rinse, focusing on the scalp. It will start to bubble, and fizz. This is a good thing. It isn't harming your hair, the effervesence is bubbling the flakes away. I keep rinsing with it the vinegar until the bottle is gone. Sometimes I use a cool water rinse. Sometimes I use a warm water rinse. Sometimes I only use the vinegar rinse.

Using both of the products is essential. Baking soda is alkaline and drying by it's self. And Vinegar is acidic. Using the vinegar in conjunction with the baking soda is ph balanced, and makes your hair soft and manageable. I even have colored and permed hair and this works fantastic on me. Once your hair is dry, there is NO vinegar smell. I have much less hair breakage and split ends since I started using this hair care routine.

Apple Cider Vinegar enhances Warm tones in your hair, and White Distilled Vinegar is better for Cool or Ashen hair tones. Not sure which you have? Hold up your hair to a piece of white paper. If it is reddish then it is warm. If it isn't than it is neutral or cool :)

Give it a week or two. See if you like it. I am hooked. I haven't washed my hair in the 'traditional' way in over 3 months. My color hasn't faded like it usually does with regular shampooing and my curl hasn't 'fallen out' like it has in the past.

I found my hair was getting a bit dry, after nearly a month of just baking soda and vinegar. My scalp was doing terrific, but my ends were getting a bit crinkly.

So, I did what any self respecting frugal, do it yourself'er would do. I headed to the kitchen to find some protein for my hair, and then decided to make a moisturizing sugar scrub for my skin!

I know that Coconut oil is really awesome. It regulates your bowels, it lowers your bad cholesterol, and tastes YUMMY! It is also a nice antiviral, anti bacterial, anti fungal, it fights the bugs that give you ulcers, fights giardia infections from bad water, improves your vitamin absorption, dissolves kidney stones, helps control blood sugar, and tons more (seeCoconut Oil Health Benefits )

Ingredients for sugar scrub:
1 cup of Sugar
1/4 of a cup of coconut oil.

Ingredients for protein pack for hair
1/4 cup of Coconut oil
Regular Shampoo ( I use a tea tree oil, clarifying shampoo mix)
Regular Conditioner ( I had some garnier fructus leftover from before the no shampoo adventure)


Get 2 non breakable bowls, and in one, put 1/4 of a cup of Coconut oil. In the other mix the Sugar and oil. It should be grainy and not liquid. If it is soupy, add more sugar. (Alternate scrub: Use Epsom Salt, but be careful if you have any cuts on your skin, or abrasions or something like eczema or psoriasis. The Epsom salts burn on wounds)

Add the coconut oil to your hair, and leave it in for about 10 minutes. I put it in my hair, and put on a shower cap (or just a hair towel if I don't have one). I hop in the shower and use the sugar scrub focusing on my elbows, ankles and knees. The sugar scrub is very invigorating! I even use it on my face (but GENTLY!) I don't use a body wash afterwards, I like the glowy skin! Coconut oil is very light, and if I used a different oil I would use a body wash.Then I rinse my hair under the shower, and after getting most of the oil out (CAREFUL! Your shower will be slippery!) I add the shampoo, and wash out, and follow up with the conditioner.

I only suggest using these treatments once a week for the hair, and 2 times a week for the sugar scrub. Your skin and hair will feel amazing!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

MockGrownup Ketchup

So you know you have that dirty little secret. Ketchup. You secretly want to slather your scrambled eggs, your hashbrowns, your french fries, your cottage cheese... (okay, not me on that part, but I am sure someone does) but the tomatoey goodness is marred with High Fructose corn syrup and preservatives that you pretend you don't care about but secretly dread because you think it MAY turn you into a zombie after you die of natural causes (big deep breath in).Okay maybe that last part is totally me.

The Mockhomestead is having a barbeque tonight. That means grilled stuff, and my mom coming over. My ketchup bottle was about.... 10 years old and the stuff left at the bottom looked alright but I wasn't going to risk it. So I made new ketchup. A delicious ketchup gleaned from a few places on the web (hello hillbillyhousewife and that instant gratification girl.. I have lost her web addy) and added a few of my own touches. and Volia, yummy ketchup.

So, what I did.
Washed out that old ketchup bottle with hot water and soap. Took off the labels, and let it dry in the drainer.

I opened

(3) 6 oz cans of tomato paste (ALDI! woot!)

and dumped them into a 2 quart sauce pan. I saved one can and didn't put it into the recycling bin yet.

to this red yummy goop, I added

3/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
1/4 of a cup of organic sugar
1/2 tsp of Molasses
(substitute 1/4 cup of Brown sugar for the sugar and molasses if yours isn't all clumpy like mine and I didn't feel like microwaving it again to soften it)
1/4 cup of honey
1 tsp of RealSalt (use whatever you have, this was just what was right there)
1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon (you can put a stick in a muslin bag if you don't have any ground up just take it out when you are done cooking)
1/4 tsp of ground cloves (you can stick a few whole cloves in a muslin bag and add that if you don't have any ground or just leave it out, whatever)
a pinch of cayenne pepper
a pinch of allspice
a pinch of dried mustard powder
a pinch of dried garlic or garlic powder

Whisked this together and turned the burner on medium high heat until it started to bubble. Remember that one can? I filled it up with water, and whisked it in. Waited for it to bubble again, and did it again, and then again. 3 cans of water. Whisked it until it was bubbling again. I let it bubble for 5 minutes and then took it off of the heat. Tasted it, and was shocked at how delicious it was! I used a funnel and ladled the ketchup into the old bottle and stuck it in the fridge. It's supposed to get better as it sits, though I don't know how that will be possible. It's THAT good.

Now, this should last quite a while if you don't eat it all right away. Vinegar is a natural preservative, as is the sugar and garlic. As long as you don't have any yeasties or mold in the bottle (which surely you don't because you WASHED it, for the love of pete) it should be safe for a long time.