Natural cleaners using Mandarin peels

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In these handmade recipes, you can use any citrus fruit peelings. Oranges, mandarins, lemons, grapefruit, etc….

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I wanted to stop using one of my favorite and not so natural cleaners. COMET

  I researched many different ways this could be replaced and came to one of my favorite blogs, “The Nerdy Farm wife”. Here is her link to the recipe.

I love how she uses dried herbs as a scrub. I really wanted to use up our Mandarin peels and give it a try. Plus, how nice is it to have the clean, fresh smell of any citrus while you clean?

 I decided to dry only half the peels we saved and use the other half for another homemade citrus cleaner.

Once the peels were fully dried, I ground them up into a fine powder with the food grinder.

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Ingredients:

1 cup of Baking Soda

2 Tablespoons of dried finely Ground up Mandarin peels

10-15 drops of essential oil “Sweet Orange”

Mix everything well and place it into a glass jar that can be tightly sealed to retain the scent.

This natural scouring scrub is used for sinks, tubs, toilets, showers.

Feel free to use other dried peels and essential oils.

HOW EASY IS THAT?

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How to Make a Citrus and Vinegar Household Cleaner

With the undried half of Mandarin peels I made this cleaner to remove grime and residue.

Once you have enough peelings, fill any glass jar, then add white vinegar to cover all the peelings. Leave enough space to screw on the jar lid. Place your jar in a dry, cool area for 7 to 10 days.  This will allow the mixture to macerate (blend). This will make your cleaner smell wonderful at the same time creating the cleaner. This is a true cleaning agent and can be used throughout your home.  Be careful on wood and other porous surfaces as it can discolor it. Once your mix is ready, remove the peels and compost them. I have not yet tried this mix, it’s not quite ready yet. I can’t wait to add this to my spray bottle and get SPRING cleaning.

I can’t believe I haven’t made these sooner. I’m hooked and now I want to send my husband out to get me lemons.

Natural “All purpose” cleaning spray

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I have never thought of adding my natural cleaner into a spray bottle before. I always used my natural laundry soap mix, ( 2 Tablespoons) with hot water and mixed this into my cleaning bucket with a rag. I love this method but wanted something I could grab and spray.

The spray bottle is a great tool to have around the home for quick clean-ups

I decided to try a recipe I found on the web.

Here is what I have tried.

1/2 cup of white vinegar

2 tablespoons of borax

1/4 cup of Castile soap  Dr Bronner’s Tea Tree Liquid Soap 

“They have many different scents, so pick your favorite”.

2 teaspoons of Lemongrass essential oil.

I mixed all these together, then added 3 cups of water.

I filled a spray bottle with my mix and stored the rest in a glass jar.

Benefits for cleaning your home with these ingredients:

CASTILE Soap~Acts as a surfactant and helps lift away dirt and cut through grease. An all-natural soap that’s surprisingly strong. A few drops go a long way.

Tea Tree oil~A natural oil that cleanses and disinfects.

Lemongrass Oil~ Has some antiseptic and deodorizing properties, which are helpful in homemade cleaners.

Vinegar~Effective for killing most mold, bacteria, and germs, due to its level of acidity.

Borax~Disinfecting

I love this mix. I have been using this for a few days now .The smell makes me happy and adds enjoyment to cleaning.

Breath Well

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Today I’ve decided to make some natural room spray. This can save on some serious cash, while saving your home environment and lungs from chemicals, toxins, and a whole lifetime of respiratory problems. Try making your very own with 100% essential oils. They don’t just smell amazing, they also have therapeutic benefits. I have been mixing essential oils with nothing more than water for years to freshen our home. I always took my favorite scents and blending them without thinking about their benefits. Now, I am reading up on the many different benefits and uses. I made a room spray to keep the cold and flu away.

Here are some essential oils that work wonders for just that:

Peppermint:

Eucalyptus:

Lemon:

Lavender:

Tea Tree:

Thyme:

Oregano:

Most of these oils are antiseptic, antibacterial, detoxifying, disinfectant, germicide, fungicide, purifying, cleansing, deodorizing….

I did have some of these oils so here’s what I’ve mixed.

20 drops of Lemon Eucalyptus

20 drops of Peppermint

10 drops of Lavender

10 drops of tea tree

This was added to a 4 oz blue glass spray bottle with spring water and shaken well. Please note that a dark glass bottle is much better than clear glass or plastic ones, the darkened glass will extend the life of your spray.

to extend the life of your spray.
to extend the life of your spray.

Fresh Bread

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I have been putting my hands to making more bread over the last few months. And, I’m so proud of myself. It’s taken me years to make an edible bread., yup, my first few tries had been tears and stress over making bread.

When our older kids where little, I would pull out the flour, yeast and whatnot, get my hands messy and try making bread, Henry would come home to find me flustered with bread in the garbage. I had no idea why my bread never turned out.

Now, I think I go into it much differently. I prepare myself mentally before hand. I tell myself to remember to be patient. I also have a special something, my Grandmothers bread bowel, given to me when we first moved back home here. For some reason, everything just turns out perfect when I mix in it. Like magic. The photo above is an easy no knead bread. If I can make this bread, anyone can. I enjoy her sense of humor in her writing and easy to follow steps.

Above is the No Knead bread with the link of the recipe below.

No Knead Bread

aThis bread is the same recipe I have had for years. I have 1 cookbook in my home and have tried this recipe many many times, years ago. This is the bread I have cried over, and swore I would never try it again.

Over 7 years later,” and my magic bowel”, this bread tastes amassing. I have also replaced the milk in the recipe with our hand made Soy Milk. It saves on money and gives it a slightly different taste. Now that I feel confident in my bread, I want to try many more recipes.

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Oatmeal and Honey Bread

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I took my soy milk bread recipe and added leftover cooked oatmeal and honey with it. I had to add extra flour when kneading it. It’s one of my best breads yet.

Do you make your own bread? What challenges did you have? Do you have a favorite recipe?

Today – Outside

 

The New Year came in like a Lion, snow, snow and more snow along with cold temperatures and high winds. Even with all this crazy weather it is enjoyable to be outside.

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We make snow caves and tunnels in the drifts and snow piles, it’s an endless playground and the caves provide shelter from the blistering wind.

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I’m gradually running out of space to pile all the snow from the driveway, especially around the mill which is slowly disappearing behind 7 foot high piles of snow and drifts.

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Once done with outdoor activities there is hot Turkey soup and a warm fire to melt away the chills. The extended forecast is calling for warmer weather and rain ….. I’ll have to put away the shovel and snowshoes and get out the umbrella.

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Outside

 

 

We’ve had a fair bit of real winter weather lately, two feet of snow and counting plus a dash of rain to top of the fresh snow. Yesterday morning we were greeted to a beautiful sunrise after some major snow. This was short lived as the weather turned white once more.

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The view this morning is quite different, yet pretty in its own way.

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Nature has such a eloquent manner of decorating herself for a Yuletide spirit. Cones, Icicles and a frosting of snow embellish the trees with a festive ambiance.

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Along with all the other hustle and bustle around the house shoveling piles of snow has become the main activity over the past week. The mill has sat silent for quite a while now, hope it doesn’t feel neglected.

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Maybe later today, if time permits, I’ll take the kids sledding. School has been cancelled for the last two days and they are going totally bonkers not to mention driving Tracey and myself nuts.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

 

 

School Garden project and local markets

It’s been a very busy week here for us. Our children Liam and Hanna were on the local CBC News talking about their tiny school and the garden the school grows each year. This is the first year our children have attended this school and we are loving it.

 Their school is the heart of Middle River. Papa and I ( and many other parents) helped the students bunch up some herbs and vegetables the day CBC news came by. The students sold some of their products to a very popular cafe close by.

hSilas also enjoyed running around with all the children and playing with some toys.

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iIt’s a wonderful feeling to see the children so excited about their hard work with the garden. They set up the tiny gym like a farmers market and waited to see what they would sell.

Also this week, we are getting ready for our first Christmas market. We are selling our handmade soaps and maybe some hemp/cotton washcloths. I’m excited to sell at a few Markets. We sell a lot of our products on line and hardly get the chance to meet more local crafters.

Not many people here know what we do or sell.

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We did attend the market yesterday and sold some soap. Talked with other wonderful vendors and met another family who just moved here. Their 2 daughters now attend the Middle River school after being home schooled for a bit.

It’s lovely to see more families join our community.

Spazieren Gehen (Going for a walk)

Now that a routine has been created with the kids in school again I’ve fallen into a daily ritual of taking Silas for an extended walk through the woods and meadows around here.

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Silas explodes with excitement as I prepare him for our adventure. Outside we are greeted by a heavy dew that has settled on everything overnight and rubber boots are in order. The cool nights help keep the pesky bugs away so we can enjoy an unhindered stroll. We begin our trip down the path behind the barn and into the woods.

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It’s a big world out here for this little “man” and countless stops are made along the way to explore anything new and intriguing. Once down the path we usually enter the woods. The trees here are pine which were intensively block planted in the mid to late 70’s to replace the  forests decimated by the spruce bud worm outbreak at the time. A pest that was created and propagated by poor forest management practices at the time which continue to this day. Anyways I’m digressing here and will save this rant for a later post.  Once we enter these woods Silas has free range to explore and play among the trees.

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The forest floor in these woods is almost completely void of any undergrowth due to the dense canopy the trees create, allowing very little sunlight in. Also contributing to this virtual dead zone is the dense mat of pine needles on the ground. We follow the straight rows of trees for at least half a mile before making a slow detour back out among the more densely packed natural forest. The world viewed through Silas’s eyes is much different than that of grownups and I enjoy taking this time to get down and absorb his perspective.

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After a couple or three miles of strolling among our wilderness we slowly saunter back. He is never very enthusiastic to return home but with a little coaxing he plods back up to the house.

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Tracey enjoys the free time she gets while Silas is out of the house, this provides much needed time for her to catch up on errands and orders she has to complete. Silas will be two years old next month and the boundless energy he now shows is just a precursor of what to expect over the next few years. I just hope he will continue to enjoy strolling through the woods and meadows with his dad when he is older.

Beeswax Hemp fabric wrap

Something has been bugging me lately with our children’s lunches. Before school started we bought them stainless steel containers so that we wouldn’t use plastic for their lunches. These are wonderful, however they just don’t hold enough food to send a child to school for the day.  We have been sending them with an extra plastic bag to hold muffins, cookies, fruit, etc… but it’s killing me.

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Every time I pull out plastic, I’m thinking, what a waist, how harmful, what am I teaching my children.

We’ve seen beeswax food wraps a few times. These are available in some lovely on-line shops but we already have hemp scraps and beeswax and lots of it too. I really wanted to try this myself so I looked up a few tutorials and got busy.

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Here’s what I did.

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 I cut some Hemp/cotton muslin into 10″ by 10″ squares to start  off for the first try. I surged all 4 sides and tucked in the threads. If you try this out you can cut your fabric to any size you wish, there is no need to surge your edges.

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I used 100% pure beeswax. You can try this with a beeswax candle if you have one. Grate the beeswax into fine shavings. Preheat oven to 150 – 170 °F. My oven was at 200 because that’s as low as I can get it.

Take a cookie sheet and apply a layer of tin foil over it.

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Sprinkle the beeswax shavings onto your fabric. I first added a small amount but had to add more so the cloth was evenly soaked with wax.

The photo above was my first try.

Place in the oven, the wax will melt in less then 10 minutes. Keep an eye on your cloth. Once the wax is fully melted, take it out of oven and quickly remove the fabric from the tin foil.

I had a string suspended over my sink and hung the fabric there with clothespins to harden.

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The first 2 turned out perfect. You can use these to place over bowls instead of plastic wrap. They are also great to wrap up sandwiches, cheese, veg’s, etc.  Just use the warmth of your hands to mold them into place.

Care for these is so easy, cold water to rinse and wipe down with a cloth. Do not use hot water because you will melt the beeswax again.

If you just don’t want to make your own but would love to buy some, check out this company here: ABEEGO

We met this lady a few years ago at a small farmer’s market in Vancouver. It was wonderful to see how well they are doing today.

Eco Christmas

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I know what your thinking….” Christmas already?????? ” It’s not even Halloween yet!

But when your someone who makes all the gifts you do need to start early.

Over the weekend our son Liam made us a beautiful, natural Christmas tree garland. He took some thick Hemp rope and natural stained wooden balls to make this. I love the natural colors mixed with the raw look of hemp rope. Each year for the last 12 years, Henry and I have made Christmas gifts for everyone. Each year is different from the previous, so it’s time we get some ideas together and get busy. This Christmas, I think I will make some Hemp/cotton comfy pants for everyone. I have lots of extra fabric and they are quick and easy for me to make.

All our gifts are made with natural and organic in mind. From herb boxes, clothing, soaps and recycled projects. I feel that a gift made by us is much more heart felt. We stay clear of the craziness in stores, the craziness of other people who forgot the true meaning of gift giving and kindness.  I have enjoyed each year making my gifts and will do so as the years go by.

We (Really me) have made pants a few years ago for everyone however, I’m thinking those all long gone or don’t fit some of them. Along with our handmade soap, this should be a wonderful gift to give.

What do you make for Christmas gifts?

Will you make something new this year?

Do you keep Eco friendly in mind with your gifts?