If you’re a parent with an iPhone, you’re probably like me and have thousands of photos and video clips of your kids on your camera roll. Although I love the ease of taking and saving photos and videos with my phone, I’ve always thought that it would be great to make a complete professional quality movie with the click of a button. The OneDay App can do this! It helps you create moments to record with your family, then turns them into a movie with music, in a matter of seconds. It makes sharing with loved ones easy, too!
See more about how this fabulous app works in my post at Scratch Mommy. Check out the movie I made with my girls, and also enter to win a $250 Target gift card!
One thing that is so wonderful about fall is the food that transitions us between summer and winter. It’s tough to let go of the warm gardening months and fresh fruits and veggies of summer, but the comforting foods of fall make the colder months easier to welcome. Apples are the first thing that come to my mind when fall approaches! There are so many ways to enjoy them while they’re in season.
One of my favorite ways to use a bushel of apples is to make apple chips. Actually, you can make apple chips with just a few apples, and it’s really easy to do! Check out my latest post at Scratch Mommy that shows how to make oven-dried apple chips, along with the 5 fabulous ways to season them.
What are your favorite things about fall? Letting go of summer has always been tough for me but I find comfort in the beautiful fall colors, food, gardening, and walks that we take outdoors. I love DIY projects with my little girls this time of year, like our Halloween Trick-or-Treat Bag Sewing Project. These are the cutest little trick-or-treat bags and they have so many other uses! You could make a few of them with different fabrics to use throughout the year.
This is a simple project that’s great for any level of expertise on the sewing machine, even with little ones by your side. I had to smile because my toddler pressing the pedal on the sewing machine reminded me of my siblings and I trying my mom’s patience while she was trying to sew. I hope you’ll enjoy making memories with your little ones and that you’ll love using your tote bags through out the years! Head on over to Scratch Mommy to see my full tutorial on how to make them.
Ever since we moved from Michigan a little over a year ago, my allergies have been different. Spring and fall used to be the times that my symptoms flared up and I could expect that every year. The first year living in South Carolina has been tough because the seasonal stuffy nose, itchy throat, and watery eyes challenge me for the better part of every month. It’s the worst right now while ragweed is in full bloom. Actually it drives me almost insane. I guess what did I expect since the ragweed in our backyard is taller than I am?
I want to share with you the natural methods that I’ve been using to deal with all the pollen that’s been making me nuts. I’m not saying that these things cure, prevent or treat allergies, but they can help support the body’s natural functions to ease discomfort. My allergy symptoms are not 100% gone by any means, but I’ve noticed a difference in the way my kids and I have been feeling.
Local Raw Honey
We’ve heard farmers and beekeepers who have lived in our area for years say that eating a teaspoon to a tablespoon of local raw honey can help our bodies fight allergy symptoms caused by pollen. If you’re curious, this article supports this theory. I’ve been more than willing to try it so I take a teaspoon of local raw honey per day. I have also heard that it can take up to a year to feel a difference, but at the very least honey coats and soothes my itchy throat and eases my cough. It’s delicious in tea!
We have hives in our yard and the bees have been all over the ragweed. Hopefully ragweed pollen will transfer to the honey so we can eat it and build an immunity over time.
About a year ago I wrote an in-depth post about my neti pot. If you’ve never used a neti pot before, my post will help you get started if you’d like to try it. I promise it’s not scary!
By using a neti pot daily I’m rinsing my nasal passages with a sterile saline solution that aids in flushing out irritants like pollen and dust. It’s also very healing for irritated nasal membranes. The neti pot particularly helps me at bedtime because rinsing the irritants out helps me sleep better (i.e., sneeze less.) I also use it when I have a cold because it helps to break up the nasal congestion and reduce sinus pressure.
I use a ceramic neti pot because it’s very easy to sterilize and it doesn’t contain any of the chemicals that can be present in plastic types.
My favorite way to use essential oils is by diffusing them into the air. My entire family, including my two little ones, can receive benefits from the oils this way. The calming scents of our favorite oils help us to relax which is beneficial when we’re all driven crazy by constant sneezing and itching. Lavender, lemon and peppermint together are my favorite oils to diffuse for all of us during allergy season because their properties help our bodies maintain proper nasal function and overall wellness.
I use pure, unadulterated essential oils that were manufactured for therapeutic use. They were produced from plants that were grown without the use pesticides or herbicides. Read more about them here.
In addition to eating right, exercising, reducing stress and getting enough rest whenever possible, these natural remedies have helped us promote wellness during our allergy season. They may not be your miracle solution, but I’ll say that they’re definitely worth a try!
There’s not much that can compete with the fresh flavors of summer, except for recipes that will have you reminiscing when that season has come and gone. By preserving summertime fruits and veggies, you can enjoy them throughout the colder months. That’s what we did with the organic peaches that we stocked up on from the farmer’s market. I’ll tell you that having sliced frozen peaches on hand makes recipes quick and easy! One of my favorite ways to use frozen peaches during the fall is to bake with them. You’re not going to want to miss my mouthwatering Countryside Peach Bars recipe over at Scratch Mommy! I also included some tips on freezing peaches.
Garlic harvested from the garden is a beautiful thing! The question is, how can it be properly stored so that it will last for months and be planted in the garden for next year? If I keep a few garlic bulbs in the dark pantry or cupboard in our kitchen, they usually last a month or two before they start to sprout or rot. I go through garlic fairly quickly as I cook with it often. I also mince it and add it to herbed butters and oils, then freeze to be used later in sautéed veggies, sauces, and soups. That’s one way to preserve it but it’s really nice to have a stockpile of bulbs available so we don’t ever need to buy garlic. Here’s how I do it!
Here is my post on how to grow and harvest garlic. I cured our garlic by tying it in bunches and hanging it in a dry, dark, moderately cool (about 75 degrees) closet for 6 weeks. It cured beautifully. After curing I took it down and trimmed the leaves and roots, leaving about an inch at the top and a quarter inch of roots. I removed only the dirtiest outer papery wrapping because the rest of the layers protect the garlic cloves and keep them fresh.
Damaged garlic bulbs shouldn’t be stored because they spoil more quickly. They should be used right away and if there are brown spots, just trim them off and the rest of the clove will be fine to eat.
I put the cleaned garlic bulbs in mesh cotton bags, then hung them from the ceiling in our crawl space. It has vents so the air circulation will be fine for storing garlic. If you’re super lucky to have a basement, that would be a great place to store it as long as it’s not too damp or too dry. A closet would be okay as long as it’s dark and there’s ventilation along with a stable temperature. The ideal conditions are a temperature of around 65 degrees F, with moderate humidity and some ventilation.
Under ideal storage conditions garlic can last for up to 8 months. Of course, storage time will vary based on the variety of garlic and the conditions. I sorted my garlic bulbs and set aside the biggest ones with the healthiest wrappers for planting this fall. If you plant your biggest seed garlic cloves every year, your harvest will keep getting better and better!
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Whenever a new season approaches, I get this uncontrollable urge to organize something. Sometimes it’s just a little bit, and sometimes it’s like the major nesting instinct I had while I was 8 months pregnant. I can’t ignore it. My pantry is begging to be organized this fall. It has been a mess since we moved into our house a year ago. Do you ever feel like you could save so much time in the kitchen if you just knew where everything was? I don’t even want to imagine how many minutes I’ve spent digging through the pantry. I can, however, imagine how many other ways I can use those extra minutes!
Based on my fall pantry project, I’m excited to give you some great tips to help you get yours in shape. The pantry was the biggest project to tackle on my organizing to-do list, but it motivated me to get a few other areas of the house in order, too!
The first thing I did was head over to Walgreens to pick up some new Sharpie Pens for my projects. They’re great for labeling just about everything. They come in tons of pretty colors, the ink doesn’t bleed through paper, and the eco-friendly aspect is that they’re refillable. Pick up a few new ones and and I bet you’ll be excited to tackle your project!
DIY Wooden Shelves
My pantry had wire shelves that were starting to bend and sag in a serious way. They weren’t safe anymore. My solution was to take them down and replace them with sturdier wooden shelves that I found at our local home improvement store. I like that they’re unfinished hardwood because they give our pantry a natural homestead look.
Our shelves are 16 inches deep and about 1″ thick. I attached 1″x4″ inch boards to the walls to brace the shelves on both sides, and attached a metal bracket underneath each shelf in the middle for extra support.
I saved the stackable wire racks that I was using before, and they’re much more substantial on the wooden shelves. I like how they provide an extra layer of storage and it’s nice to be able to move them around.
Glass Canning Jars
I moved dry food items in the pantry such as rice, beans, cornmeal, shredded coconut, etc. from bags into glass canning jars. Using my Sharpie Pens, I labeled each jar. Surprisingly, this really made the shelves more neat and tidy and freed up a lot more space. The bags created chaos because it was tough to see what was in them and they were making a mess by spilling all over the pantry.
Bushel Baskets and Wooden Crates
Bushel baskets work wonderfully to store veggies such as potatoes and onions. Previously, they were rolling around on the wire shelves. That was clearly not working especially since I was harvesting them from the garden and quickly running out of space. What a difference the bushel baskets make. They’re easy to slide out from the shelves to pick out what you need.
Nowadays, you can find unfinished wooden crates at just about any craft store or home improvement store for a really inexpensive price. They come in different sizes and they stack. I designated a couple of smaller sized crates as snack bins, and a few narrow crates as canned goods bins. Like the bushel baskets, they’re easy to slide out to get what you need.
If you’re into canning, you’ll love how these wooden crates stack nicely to store jars. This is a separate closet from the pantry but you can see how the crates make perfect sturdy shelves. My favorite part was labeling, especially with the cute little wooden tags I found at the craft store.
Before & After
It’s easier to stay organized now that everything has its own place in the pantry. It definitely saves me time in the kitchen.
Moving along from the pantry…actually, not too far for us because our living room is part of our kitchen and dining area. Our indoor space is pretty small so we have to be creative about how we store toys. We keep them in canvas bins on bookshelves, which works out great because the girls can easily get them down on their own and dig in. The issue we’ve been running into is organizing the toys INSIDE the bins.
My solution for keeping smaller toys together is empty oatmeal containers. They’re so functional. The lids are easy for kids to take off and put back on, and there’s just enough space for things like small metal cars, puzzle pieces, little wooden animals, and so on. I labeled the lids using my Sharpie Pens, drawing pictures to help the girls find what they’re looking for (and they have fun picking up their toys and matching them with the lids!) The containers fit nicely inside the toy bins.
I hope you’ve found a few tips that will help you in your quest to get organized this fall. The satisfaction of having a little extra space and time saved is the best feeling of all after the project is completed!
What are you organizing this fall?
Squash bugs and squash beetles are attacking my fall pumpkin and cucumber plants! I don’t understand it since my summertime cucumber bed made it without a single pest. There were aphids, but ladybugs took care of them. That’s what I first thought the squash beetles were on my pumpkin vines. Unfortunately, it turns out that they’re definitely not helpful ladybugs.
Squash beetles (different from squash bugs) are hungry little devils that can destroy a squash, cucumber or melon plant in a day’s time. Even though the bugs and beetles are two different pests, they affect the plants similarly. They can even spread bacterial wilt, which causes the vines to rapidly wilt and die.
The most effective way to get rid of squash bugs and beetles is to go out during the day when you can easily see them on the plants and pick them off by hand. I’ve done this and it’s really time consuming. The squash beetle larvae are downright creepy so picking them off isn’t my favorite thing to do. They’re yellow, spiky, mean looking little pests. Trust me, you’ll know one when you see one.
Here’s a DIY hot pepper spray which is 100% safe and natural, that I spray directly on my cucumber and pumpkin vines to get rid of squash bugs and beetles. A local farmer told us about it at the farmer’s market. The key is to apply it either at night or first thing in the morning, before the insects are really active and before the sun can burn the leaves. The goal is to force the existing pests off of the plants, prevent them from laying eggs on the plants, and to prevent new bugs from being attracted to the plants in the first place. It may not be 100% effective, but it sure does reduce the amount of squash bugs and beetles, saving you the time it takes to pick all of them off by hand.
I spray this solution on my plants every other day or so, or more often if it rains.
- 2 hot peppers
- 1 tablespoon organic canola oil
- Chop up the hot peppers and add them to a jar. Crush them really well to release their juices.
- Add 1 1/2 cups of water to the jar of peppers, then allow to sit overnight.
- Strain the pepper pieces from the pepper water, reserving only the water.
- Pour the pepper water into a 32 oz. spray bottle.
- Add the canola oil plus 4 cups of water.
- Shake the solution well before each use.
Do you have an effective method to get rid of squash bugs and beetles? Please share!
I remember researching colleges and universities. It was one of the most exciting and overwhelming times of my life; deciding where I would spend those transformative years that would prepare me for the responsibilities of full-fledged adulthood. I remember the incredible amount of factors to consider beyond the academic standpoint. You’re making a large investment in your education at an institution that leads by example not only for students, but also for community and beyond. I am so glad to see that in this modern day, one of the examples set by many colleges is a strong commitment to sustainability. Now that I have two small children, I am realizing more than ever the dire need to protect the health of our environment for our future generations.
Adelphi University’s Green Initiative
One university that is continually making major efforts to ensure a cleaner, fuel efficient environment is Adelphi University on Long Island. They are applauded for their role in creating and preserving a healthier environment while preparing their students for employment in a green economy.
Over a decade ago, Adelphi began using 100% natural, organic techniques to maintain the grounds of their Garden City campus. I personally can’t stress enough how important this is! Whether it’s a university, home, neighborhood, business, etc., a huge step in removing environmental toxins is to stop using persistent synthetic chemicals. The safe alternative is to use natural, organic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers which actually nurture plants, soil and wildlife habitats. Industrial chemicals have been shown to be harmful to human health, as well as being one of the reasons why species such as honey bees are in danger. Did you know that ladybugs are an effective means to control pests? In June 2014, Adelphi released thousands of ladybugs to naturally control aphids and other insects on campus.
With two small kids who love to play outdoors, I would love to have peace of mind knowing they’re not being exposed to chemicals wherever we go to play. I thank Adelphi for playing a big role in setting a national example for others to strive towards clean and responsible landscaping!
Adelphi University is also a registered Arboretum. Check them out on Pinterest to see the beautiful flora on campus.
Many times we take the sun for granted. It’s often times one of the everyday parts of our lives that we don’t even notice, unless we’re making a point to protect our bodies from its heat and UV rays. The thing that’s most often taken for granted is that it’s one of the most important sources of renewable energy available to us. Just as plants use it for energy to grow, we can convert it into electricity and heat. The downfall is that the means to use solar energy are expensive so it’s not yet widely incorporated.
It is investments in this new technology that will help it to advance and eventually be more widely accessible. Aside from installing geothermal systems, energy efficient fixtures, and purchasing 100% green power for the campus, Adelphi installed a photovoltaic solar energy system on the roof of their Swirbul Library. The 180 solar panels have no moving parts and require little maintenance. Won’t it be wonderful someday when solar energy systems like this are commonplace in our country? Adelphi is helping to set the example!
Over the years I have been taking steps to remove toxic chemicals from my household. I am all about homemade natural cleaning products! I now clean my home with ingredients like vinegar, essential oils and baking soda. We’re no longer breathing in toxic chemicals, absorbing them through our skin, or releasing them into the environment. I know which steps we’re taking at home, but I often think about businesses and schools.
Using eco-friendly products is another part of Adelphi’s green initiative. Back in 2005 they began switching to environmentally friendly cleaning and paper products. They now use Green Seal Certified® products, which are recycled from waste paper, newspapers, and magazines. The products have had contaminants removed and are eco-friendly.
Fresh Air Campaign
In their continued focus on bettering the health and wellness of their community, Adelphi has launched a 2-year fresh air campaign.
- By fall of 2016, there will only be 3 designated smoking areas on campus.
- A reliable, cost-effective rideshare program will encourage carpooling to help reduce carbon emissions.
- Electric vehicle charging stations were installed in a parking garage on campus.
Adelphi Leads by Example
These are all efforts that inspire people to better their health and wellness. Again, it’s an example that will lead Adelphi’s surrounding community and the nation! Here are some other green standards Adelphi is adhering to:
- Decreasing our reliance on fossil fuel
- Reducing energy use and improving energy efficiency
- Utilizing alternative forms of energy wherever possible
- Decreasing the production of emissions that contribute to climate change
- Conserving energy in information technology and computer usage
- Greener construction
- Replacing Public Safety patrol vehicles with hybrid vehicles
- Encouraging the use of public transportation by providing free shuttle service to all major hubs for students, faculty and staff
Adelphi shares some tips on what YOU can do at home to save energy. Read them here on their website!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Adelphi University. The opinions and text are all mine.
I’ve been slightly obsessed with glass bottles in the garden lately. There are so many ways to upcycle glass bottles and make your garden that much more beautiful! I think I got started on my kick after I longed for the perfect garden markers, and finally made some I love by repurposing mini wine bottles. All this DIY talk brings me to tell you about Hometalk, the social media site dedicated to home and garden projects. You can browse through TONS of projects and clip the ones that spark your interest to your boards. You can share your own projects with the Hometalk community, and even post questions.
I LOVE Pinterest, but Hometalk especially takes care of us DIY-ers who have a special interest in home and garden. Enough said; click here to check out Hometalk, and here to check out my “Glass Bottles in the Garden” board that got me started. I can’t wait to do some of the amazing glass bottle projects that I clipped to my board!
Are you on Hometalk? Follow along with me! I’d love to see your projects!