DIY Office Decor

As we’ve settled into our new home, I’ve been very deliberate about creating spaces to read, write, pray, and work. I’ve had a few DIY decor items that have really pulled the spaces together.
I love having the ability to have pictures, notes, and inspiration in my spaces. Even more, I love being able to change them as my goals and motivations change. Magnet boards and cork boards work great for me.
Continue reading

Homemade Fly Spray

I have a horse with skin allergies. Every summer is a battle to keep fur on him and to keep him from being itchy. One of the things that has worked well for us is feeding apple cider vinegar and using homemade insect repellents. You can also put apple cider vinegar in water troughs to naturally repel insects. We do this for our dogs and cat to avoid having to use harsh chemical repellents.
Unfortunately, many of the so-called natural insect repellents still have harsh ingredients that either set off an allergic reaction or damage his beautiful black coat. The term “natural” can be deceiving, because companies can claim their product is natural if it contains any naturally occurring compound even if the compound has been altered synthetically.
There are several recipes for homemade repellent products below. I highly recommend experimenting and finding the right one for you and your equines. I personally find that a simple combination of apple cider vinegar, dish soap, and water works the best for us.
Recipe 1
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1 cup Avon Skin So Soft
2 tsp eucalyptus oil
Recipe 2
1 cup of apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
20 drops of tea tree oil
Recipe 3
6 caps full of Avon Skin so Soft
1 cup white vinegar
1 squirt of Ivory liquid soap
20 ounces water
Recipe 4
2 cups light mineral oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 tsp. pure citronella oil
2 tsp. eucalyptus essential oil
2 tsp. lemon dish soap
Recipe 5
4-7 parts water
1 part citronella oil
Recipe 6
1 quart apple cider vinegar
1 tsp citronella oil
Recipe 7
2 cups white vinegar
1 tbsp eucalyptus oil
1 cup water
Recipe 8
1/2 tsp oil of myrrh
2 cups water
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 tsp citronella oil
Recipe 9
1 cup vinegar
1 cup baby oil
1/4 cup original Pinesol
1 tbsp dish soap
1 tbsp Skin So Soft
1 cup water
Recipe 10
4 oz Avon Skin So Soft
1 oz citronella oil
12 oz vinegar
12 oz water
Recipe 11
1 cup water
1 cup Avon Skin So Soft
2 cups vinegar
1 tbsp eucalyptus oil
Recipe 12
18 oz white vinegar
2 tbsp dish soap
Recipe 13
2 tbsp dish soap
2 cups water
½ cup white vinegar
For a little bonus, here’s how you can make a homemade fly trap!
3 cups Water
1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 cup Sugar

Home Remedies for Dogs

For those of us that are animal lovers, our main expense is often animal care. From high cost solutions to keep away fleas and ticks to yearly vaccinations, pet car has become almost as costly as human healthcare. Richard Adams’s Home Remedies for Dogs offers some low cost, natural remedies for common canine ailments. Below are a few highlights.
Managing Arthritis
Many older dogs suffer from arthritis. The best way to deal with arthritis is to prevent your dogs from developing arthritis by keeping them at a good, healthy weight and having them exercise regularly; however, sometimes arthritis is inevitable with old age. A very good way to help your dog with his or her arthritis is by slowing switching them to a natural diet and removing processed foods from their diet completely. Avoid doing this overnight as it can cause major health problems to drastically change their diet rapidly.
Your dog’s diet should be raw meat (eggs are good too), fruits, and vegetables. Do not include heavy spices, onions, garlic, grapes, or any other food that can be toxic to your dog. Do include fruits and vegetables such as apples and raw carrots to help keep their teeth clean and foods that are naturally high in vitamin E because it is an anti-inflammatory and will help with your dog’s arthritis.
Skin Allergies
Skin allergies are something that can be just as unfun for your dog as it can be for you. The problem for dogs is that much of the time it’s our habits that cause these allergies or make them worse. Just as using harsh chemicals in and around our homes is unhealthy and harmful to us, it is also harmful to our furry family members.
Our skin is the largest organ we have. It is also the only one that is always exposed to the world. The same is true for dogs, but their fur provides an extra layer of protection that can be very helpful in your dog’s fight against skin allergies.
The most common causes of allergies are external irritants, lack of exposure to the sun, insect and flea bites, and an imbalanced diet. The first thing you should in fighting allergies is check your dog’s diet. The next thing to do is look at the environment. Stop using any harsh chemicals around their bedding, kennel, food dishes, etc.. Wash their bedding in mild cleaners. Finally, make sure that you check both your dog and your yard for fleas. Try a natural way to repel or rid your dog or yard of them.
There are two categories of parasites that affect your dog:

  1. Outer parasites (fleas, ticks, mites)
  2. Inner parasites (worms)

Since outer parasites feed on dead skin and blood, the best way to keep them away from your dogs is to keep their skin and coat as clean and healthy as possible. Oatmeal is great for your dog’s skin. Place oatmeal in your blender,and run the blender until the oatmeal looks like flour. You can either mix it with a little water to produce a paste, or you can mix it in the bath. If you create a paste, you should let the solution dry onto your dog and then rinse it off or wipe it off with a towel. Also, brush your dog daily.
Buy the kindle version of this for just 99 cents for more great home remedy information!

Tips for Using White Vinegar

What is the one thing you should absolutely have in your household arsenal? White vinegar! There are more uses for white vinegar that I can list here, but here are just a few from

  • For carpet stain removal, mix 1 teaspoon of liquid detergent and 1 teaspoon of white distilled vinegar in a pint of lukewarm water. Apply to the stain with a soft brush or towel and rub gently. Rinse the area with a towel moistened with clean water and blot dry.
  • To get streak-less windows, mix equal parts distilled white vinegar and warm water. Dry with a soft cloth.
  • To kill weeds, spray distilled white vinegar on weeds.
  • To use as bug spray, combine equal parts water, distilled white vinegar, and liquid dish soap in a spray bottle.
  • For sunburn relief, rub white vinegar on sunburns.
  • For rust removal, soak rusty items in white vinegar overnight and wipe rust off in the morning.
  • To get rid of smoke odor, place a shallow bowl about three quarters full of vinegar in the room where the scent is the strongest. has over 1,001 uses for vinegar, all of which can save you money on household products!

Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things

Did you know that you can use crayons to fill in scratches on wood furniture? Or that you can remove price tag adhesives with peanut butter? Or that you can prevent rust on tools by rubbing them down with hair conditioner? Did you know that you can keep a cake fresh by storing the cake with a half an apple?
If you don’t have a copy of Reader’s Digest’s Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things, get one! This books has 2,317 ways to save time and money by using ordinary household items to perform tasks that would normally have you running to the hardware store or the As Seen On TV isle at your local Walgreens. You can give up the Kaboom for natural things like vinegar that cost less and pose less of a hazard to you, your family, and your pets.
Here are two tips I’ve used more than once:

  1. Use on wooden furniture. Choose the crayon color closest to the color of your furniture. Soften the crayon with a hairdryer and color over the scratches. Then, buff the repair job with a clean rag.
  2. Remove ticks by dabbing the tick with alcohol to make it loosen its grip. Then, grab the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull it straight out.

Trust me… You will not regret the $13 investment in this book. It has saved me thousands!