Seasonal Foods

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Toothpaste Recipes Links

There are many things that you use at home that you can make for yourself, in a previous article I wrote about how to make THREE big bottles of liquid laundry soap for the price of ONE name brand bottle. Considering that I have 2 kids, and a husband with a more often than not dirty job, that can be substantial savings! ( you can find that here: ). I also posted my most recent article about how you can wash your hair with TWO items that most people already have in their own homes! You can read about that here: , and these items are VERY inexpensive to purchase!

If you check out my October’s  Article posting here:, you will find a few different options on how to make toothpaste. The article focuses on three different recipes, which I tried personally, and what I thought of them. There are many other recipes to be found, so I have not tried them all, but here are a few links to point you to where I have looked:




Coconut oil:

Here is another toothpaste recipe: ½ cup baking soda, dash of salt, ¼ cup hydrogen peroxide, 1 drop peppermint oil, and a dash of stevia powder. Mix these all together into a paste like consistency and there you go. I am not sure how well this works, as I can not use peroxide, so this would be a try if you don’t mind the ingredients. The peroxide is a cleaner and whitener, the peppermint oil is both for flavouring and for it’s ability to be cooling and soothing. The stevia powder has a naturally sweet flavour that is not sugar based, so it’s kinda like aspartame, only health for you!

There is also Dentist Dr. Ellie:, who has suggestions for those who are trying to recreate healthy gums, teeth and tissue. However, some of the things that she suggests may be hard to come by in our area, and may also be cost inhibitive. But there were quite a few people who did find her “System” to work at making them require fewer dentist visits, and that it helped to improve their overall dental health. Which I guess I should try, since I fear dentist visits with a passion! I’ll update you all as to whether it does help out, or not, but that will be a year in the making unfortunately!  :(

Anyways, hope that this can help you all out, and that you find the dental toothpaste recipe that works for you!  :)

October's The Stew Magazine article

So, in an effort to try new things that can both save my family money, and be beneficial to their health, I’m tackling toothpaste!

You might be saying to yourself, “How can that be important?” Well, without a healthy mouth, you have a harder time digesting your food, because your digestion starts by chewing the food with your teeth. There’s also the pesky problem of cavities, plaque, and gum disease that can make you either suffer greatly, or pay a dentist a small fortune.

So in looking through the internet, I found so many recipes I could use for toothpaste that I couldn’t even begin to try them all thoroughly. I have, however, attempted to try the most frugal methods I found.

The first method that was mentioned a lot was to just use baking soda. Wet your toothbrush, dip it into baking soda, and scrub. This method does help to keep your mouth in the alkaline balance that it needs to be to be healthy, and it most definitely gets your teeth clean. The only thing I worry about with using only baking soda is that it might be too abrasive on its own for everyday use, and I found that my mouth seemed to dry out while brushing.

A different method was to combine 3 tablespoons of baking soda, 1 tablespoon of table salt, 1 teaspoon of glycerin, then add water to get it to the paste-like consistency of your choice. This works as well as the baking soda on its own, but it’s not as dry. It also tastes salty (naturally), but I’m not that fond of salt, so I won’t use this very often. The glycerin adds a sweetness to the toothpaste, but it’s hard to say how much it might help your teeth. In my research about glycerin, some scientists believe it coats your teeth, and that this can prevent your teeth from remineralization (basically it prevents them from healing), but others believe that it is fine to use.

The final toothpaste recipe that I tried was made up of  2 tablespoons of coconut oil, 3 tablespoons of baking soda, a half packet of stevia powder, and 20-30 drops of peppermint oil. Mix it together with a fork, and it has the look and feel of store-bought toothpaste! It also worked well at cleaning my teeth and making them feel smooth like the commercial stuff.  

The next batch I make, I’ll be changing the recipe a little. I will be using 2 tablespoons of Xylitol for the sweetener instead of the stevia. I will be also be using 10 drops of cinnamon oil, 5 drops of orange oil, and 3 drops of clove oil.

Why will I be making these changes? Clove oil has long been considered an herbal help for toothaches, but it has a VERY strong flavour, so the cinnamon is to help mask a bit of that flavour. The orange oil is to also help alleviate the strong flavours, but it is also a bit of an anti-inflammatory and has antiseptic properties.

Coconut oil is thought to be able to combat tooth decay, which surprisingly was in a CBC news article in September ("Coconut oil can combat tooth decay, study suggests”). It also helps prevent yeast overgrowth known as Candidus Albcans, and encourages calcium absorption into the body.

The reason I will be using Xylitol as a sweetener in place of stevia is that it has been proven to help fight plaque and yeast growth. In fact, many sources have suggested that 6 grams a day is needed for the best dental health! As for storage, all you need is an airtight container. I use small, glass, baby food jars — they are the perfect size for the amount the recipes make.

For more information about this article, head to

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

June's Article Links

In the olden days...WAY before my time (maybe), people washed their clothes by hand, then eventually people created machines that washed them, then you put them through a wringer, and hung them on the line. Now we have machines for both washing and drying, a technilogical time saver for all. Now you’re asking yourself, what has that got to do with you? Alot, wether you are wealthy or poor. Hand washing required no electricity, was relatively cheep to start doing (a wash tub), and had far less commerciallism involved. Does the washing machine clean your clothes better than you could do by hand? I depends on you, and how hard you work at washing them.
(wind powered)
(plunger like thing $22.95 US)
(large salad spinner)
(Laundry POD)
Wonder Wash $48 US and Mini Spinner

I found the most unusual article on the web the other day, on, in their green articles section. The article was called “DIY: Hillbilly Washing Machine” by Heather Clisby. I thought it was the greatest thing I had EVER seen! It is perfect for washing your clothes in the summer, and to cut down on your electrical bill. If you are washing your clothes at a laundrymat, you can save even MORE! All you need is a big plastic bucket (I buy mine from the local ice cream place for a dollar, but you can get them from a hardware store for . you also need a toilet plunger (preferably new), that does not have an inner piece, if all you can find are those kinds , then you can just cut out the extra part of rubber.

June's "The Stew" article

To plunge, or not to plunge?

That is a question that only you can answer, but why am I asking the question in the first place? Well, I have been reading at various sites online that some people use a plunger (a new, clean, toilet plunger) to wash their laundry.

Now, why would a person even want to use a plunger to wash their laundry? There are many answers to that question. Maybe you’ve gone camping and traditional laundry facilities are unavailable, maybe you think it will be better for the environment, maybe you simply can not afford to go to a laundromat to wash your laundry.

How does a person do laundry with a plunger? There are quite a few options, but the method I tried started with a new plunger, one without the additional rubber extender part (I still have no idea what professionals call this part). Put six quarter-sized holes in a circle around the rubber bell part of the plunger. These holes will help prevent the laundry soap from sudsing too much, and make it easier to rinse the soap out of your clothes.

Put some clothes into the tub along with about half the amount of laundry soap you would usually use, and add enough water to cover the clothes. Some people like to use a six gallon bucket with a lid that fits tightly, and put a hole in the lid that is big enough for the handle of the plunger to fit through (to prevent splashing, and to make it transportable). Alternatively, you can use utility tubs, kiddie pools, even your kitchen sink!

I did use a broom handle in the place of the plunger handle, for a longer reach (the better to save my back with). Unfortunately,I believe I had too many clothes in the tub, and did not use the plunger enough to adequately agitate the laundry, as the clothes did not come out clean enough for my liking. Maybe I should have tried a technique that a friend of mine suggested — to get the kids into the tub to stomp on the clothes until they were clean.

Alas, my kids are teenagers and they looked at me like I was an alien when I suggested it, but it might work for moms with younger kids!

I also had a problem wringing the water out from the clothes — that is a lot of hard work for a person’s forearms, wrists, and hands! I had to wring the clothes out after my poor attempt at washing them, rinse and agitate the soap out of the clothes, then wring the clothes again.

I now have more of an appreciation for my grandmother, who washed her entire family’s clothes by hand every day, for seven children! I also envy the fact that she had a wringer attached to a bucket, which helped her get as much excess water out of the clothes as possible before she hung them on the line.

I am sure that doing your laundry like this could work, if you have enough patience (which is a virtue I have yet to master), and so long as you do only a few items at a time. There are also a few other methods for doing your laundry by hand, but they cost a little more to get you started.

Some things that can help are: a washboard; a rapid washer, plastic or galvanized (like a plunger, but designed specifically to push water through the clothes and clean them); a wringer; an industrial salad spinner (use instead of a wringer to get excess water out, can be electric or hand cranked); a bucket; and so many more items that you may have to look online for yourself to see them!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pamper Yourself Wednesday

So today's post isn't to really give you a pampering recipe, but basically to find out what sort of things YOU do to pamper yourself.

I know I LOVE to take a really long bubble bath, and just soak without anyone interupting me. Sometimes I enjoy just reading a book...ALONE, with kids that can be rare! What I want to know is what sorts of things you do to relax, so that I can find things that might interest you.

I enjoy researching ideas, and figuring out how much they cost individually, and finding out which is better for the cost. I know..I'm a bit of a geek...but I like that about me!  :)

So tell me what you like in the comments below, and I will try my best for you to find a pamper recipe just for you!  :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Links for March 2012 Article

For more information on the "no 'poo" method (I agree with my husband...they need a better name for it!), here are a few links to get you started!  :)

March 2012 Article is here!

The “No Shampoo” Method

I happened to run into an article on a group of people who believe that shampoo is bad for your hair, and that going without is better, overall, for your hair. This group of people make up the “No ‘Poo Movement” and they say that all the chemicals that are in shampoo actually make your hair more oily, because they make your sebaceous glands produce more sebum oil. If we weren’t to use the shampoo, they say, the glands would stop overproducing, and our hair wouldn’t be greasy, and would be healthier overall.

Well, since I believe that the sudsing chemical in shampoo causes cancer, and that chemicals overall are not good for you if they are not naturally occurring, I decided to try this out. I started at the beginning of February, and have been doing it for just over three weeks as of the writing of this article.

I know, everyone is probably saying, “Ewwww, that’s gross!” but the way I have been doing it does require items to both clean and condition the hair. As a matter of act, these items are found in most homes already!

For the shampoo you’ll need two tablespoons of baking soda and two cups of water (comfortably warm). Put both into an old, clean shampoo bottle and shake. To use, dampen hair, and use the baking soda solution to wash your hair. Massaging the scalp is very important! It helps to clean the scalp and hair, as well as encouraging circulation and hair growth. Rinse out, massaging your scalp as you do so.

For the Conditioning rinse you’ll want two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and two cups of water. Put both into an old, clean conditioner bottle and shake. To use, after washing hair, use the vinegar solution on your hair, massaging it into your scalp as you did with the baking soda solution. Then rinse out, massaging the scalp as you do so.

You’re probably thinking that I must smell like vinegar or like something pickled, but I don’t! The water and scalp massage rinses it away! I do have to say that I altered the recipe for the conditioning rinse with a few drops of essential oil, because I’m a girl and I like to smell nice. While the vinegar rinses away, the fragrance of essential oils tend to stay, though just a little.

Now to the important part: How my hair reacted to the change.

I would wash my hair every second day, as I did when I used shampoo, but in the first week my hair felt oily by the second day. My glands needed time to get used to the change, and they eventually lessened the amount of oil they released. By the third week my hair was doing well.

However, in saying that, I have read a lot of articles covering the subject, and found that many people had to wait months for their hair to get used to the change. As well, some people recommend brushing your hair in the morning and evening to help distribute the beneficial oils throughout the length of your hair.

The goal of the “No ‘Poo Movement” is to eventually just use water to wash your hair. I myself have not gotten to that point, and I’m not sure if I ever will. I’ll just have to wait and see.

If you wish to read more about this subject, or other topics on frugal living, visit my blog at

Saturday, March 10, 2012

DIY Tuesday...a little late.

Sorry, my dear readers, for the tartiness of this post. I should have done it all in advance, unfortunately I hurt my back unexpectedly, so I did not get to post it. From now on I intend to have it ready for you all sooner! My lesson has been learnt!

Since I did not get the chance to make my original plan for DIY, I am going to post one of my articles from "The Stew Magazine" from last april. Apparently alot of people enjoyed it, but I never actually put it up on the site. I did post more pictures to help people understand how it was built, so here it goes:

How To Make A Cat Tree

I know...most people do spring cleaning in spring, but we have an indoor cat that picked us just before Christmas from the SPCA, and she hasn’t had much to do. So we decided that a cat tree was just the thing she needed! We looked around at the ones in the stores, and although beautiful and well made, that they were out of our price range.

With a little ingenuity, after waiting for the right things to show up at the reuse shed, we gathered up the materials to make one fairly cheap. The main materials that are needed to make a cat tree are thick cardboard tubes that carpeting stores may have, carpeting or sisal rope, something that is reasonably thick and wide for a base (plywood is an excellent choice), and screws or industrial staples.

Our monstrosity of a home-made cat tree is six feet tall, has three tiers, and uses an old 80s style black-and-brass headboard as it’s base. The top tier is a thrashed drawer from an unusable desk (a little wood glue made it serviceable), the middle tier is an 18.9 liter water bottle (with the top cut off), and the low tier is a little white laminate wall cabinet (we screwed it shut).

With a huge stroke of luck, we managed upon two rolls of the same carpeting when visiting the reuse shed. United Carpet was kind enough to give me three six-foot lengths of thick six-inch diameter cardboard tubes, although I only used two of them. Lastly, we went to Speedpro Signs, who also gave us two thick four-inch diameter cardboard tubes.

We did have to buy some things for the constrution, such as the L brackets to secure the tubes to the base. We used three L brackets for the bottom, then three brackets for the top, for each tube. Using the brackets also required us to use nuts and bolts, along with washers, to secure them to the tubes and the base.

Now, just so you know, screws and bolts are not the same thing. Screws allow you to screw something into another thing, making it’s own hole. A bolt, however, requires that there be a hole already there. In other words, we had to use a drill to make the holes for the bolts. Also we were afraid to use screws because the sharp end could hurt our cat, with the exception being the brackets for the base, where it was more sensible.

They always say to measure twice and cut once. Unfortunately, we learned the hard way that with carpet, you need to add to the measurement if it is really a thick carpet with built in rubber underlay. Our first cuts were about two inches short, so take into account that your dimensions may be bigger than you measure due to the thickness of the carpet.

We also learned that cutting the boxes was affected, as our first attempt left the edges without carpeting. As well, cutting a slit to where the post (the tube) meets the box, and cutting a hole for the post, was by far a better approach than starting from inside the box. Doing it from the outside in will give it a much more finished look, because all you have to do to finish it after the edges are inside the box is cut a piece of carpet to fit the bottom.

To start building our cat tree we had to come up with a design for the materials that we had. I wanted the tree to be six feet tall, to give our cat a challenge, and to get her away from my kids. I also wanted it to have three tiers, so that as she got older, she had easier choices on how to get to the top. I wanted the largest box (the big drawer) to be on the top, so that she could hide from view if she wanted to. With those things in mind, my husband came up with the design of the taller tubes in back, with the smallest one in front. He also figured that with the height that I wanted, and being unsure about cardboard tubes over 4x4 post, that it might need extra stability, hence the smaller tube between two of the tubes.

Holes had to be drilled into the three tubes on each end, so that the L brackets could be attached to the base and the box piece (be it a drawer, water bottle, or the like). The important thing here is that on the inside of the tubes you use washers on the bolts so that the nut has more surface to hold onto (less wear). Once you have your tubes attached the way that you want, and the boxes attached, then you need to get to work on the carpet.

Remember our struggles with measuring carpet? It’s better to have extra than to have too little. You can always cut the excess off after, but too little leaves a gap. We have a household staple gun that we used, using ½ inch staples. I have to say that with the carpeting as thick as we had, I think we may need to rent an industrial one that can take longer staples. If your carpeting is less than ½ an inch thick, you’ll be good to go.

Our final product, as you can see, also includes some sisal rope. It is not required to make the cat tree, and we had to buy it (two rolls for $16 from Rona), but we thought that it would be better than trying to put carpet on the outside of the water bottle. The rope was glued on at quarter intervals using a hot glue gun. The rope was also glued on the ends to keep it from unravelling. We also used some leftover foam board from a previous project as a balcony for the water bottle, as the cat was having a hard time getting inside it.

The cat tree we made is an oddity, but our whole family put in two weekends to make it for our cat. I am sure that if you choose to make one, it will far surpass ours in looks, but our trial and errors will hopefully help you. I will be posting some web addresses for cat tree designs that are either free or inexpensive, along with many more pictures of the cat tree, on my blog at

I also have the link to see the photos of how my husband did it, with the materials I managed to acquire! Hope you all enjoy, and next week will be posted on time!  :)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday's $10 Dinner For Four

Well, here it is my first "Friday's $10 Dinner for Four". Sometimes things don't go the way you planned, or maybe most times, but at least there are some cheap decent meals that can be made. So here we go!  :)


2 cans Chickpeas, drained (2/$4 on sale)
1/2 teaspoon Salt (already had on hand, but can buy a 1kg box for $1, approx. $0.002)
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (had on hand, but can buy a spice shaker of it for $1, approx. $0.01)
1 teaspoon Parsley (already had on hand, but can buy a spice shaker of it for $1, approx. $0.014)
1/2 teaspoon Garlic (cost me $0.33 onsale for an entire bulb of them, approx. $0.055)
2 Eggs ($2.99 for a dozen, approx. $0.50)
1/4 cup Flour (had on hand, but at most $0.07)
A baking sheet
Oil to coat baking sheet

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Take the drained chickpeas, mash them in a bowl, mix in the rest of the ingredients. Shape the mixture into small meatballs, and place them on the baking sheet, rolling them to coat them in the oil. Cook for about 20 minutes, until they are a nice golden brown.

I know that not everyone may have all these items at home, and that paying $10 for a bag of flour may be expensive at first. In saying that, my monetary breakdown of the meal is based on the cost for the amount used, not how much it costs to buy each item individually. So the Falafels come to a grand total of $4.65! It might be more if you don't have these things in your panrty already, but even then, it is still reasonably affordable.

Hope you enjoyed this, and I hope to add many more for you in the future!  :)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pamper Yourself Wednesday!

Well, it’s my very first “Pamper Yourself Wednesday”! So I hope that this will be a good start for everyone. This may not be everyone’s “cup of tea” so to speak, but if you’re not interested, you can always check out my other posts for other things.

Now, to REALLY get started! I figured for the first one I’d go with some basics, so here goes:

Basic Body/Facial Scrub

2 parts either Sugar/ Salt
1 part Oil

From what I can tell, this is the average recipe in my research. You chose either the sugar (easier on the face, and delicate areas like the stomach), or salt (which gives a better grit for scrubbing, but you have to give a delicate touch for scrubbing the face and stomach). I figure it’s up to you which one you use. I personally tried the salt, since salt is cheaper to purchase. I went with ¼ cup oil, and ½ a cup of salt. I also put in 3 drops of ylang-ylang to make it smell nice, but it is not necessary.

This was a very invigorating rub for me, or maybe it was just the fact that it was my morning shower that (thanks to my kids) was getting quite cold when I was doing this. I did wind up making my stomach and sides a little red from rubbing it too hard, so now I know not to do that (I’ll probably forget tomorrow, *sigh*). It definitely exfoliates, which is the point of a body scrub, I think that when I run out of this batch, I’ll be trying the sugar instead.

Avocado Face Mask

This is basically taking 2 avocados, mashing them, and putting the mash on your face for about 15 minutes. It sounds horrible, but it’s really refreshing for your face. At least it was for me, after I stopped fidgeting and scratching at it, but I’m not big on facial masks (the things I do to thoroughly research things for others...and my curiosity, but that’s BESIDES the point...).

Oatmeal Bath

½ cup Oatmeal
clean non-matched sock (I swear the washer eats the other ones!)
A tub of water
music and candles (if you wish)
¼ cup of powdered milk (optional as well)

Fill the sock with the oatmeal, making sure to tie the end into a knot. Then place the sock in the tub, and start running the water. If you wish to add the milk powder, do it while the water is running. Usually at this time I grab my candles and set them up, and I try to remember the towel too (I’m occasionally successful at it too!). If you want music, please remember that this is a bathroom with water, so keep it as FAR from the water as possible (after all, if you’re reading my blog, I want you around to read them some more!) :)

The oatmeal is great for helping moisture the skin, and the milk is great for giving it softness. Oatmeal is also great for helping with getting the itch out if your skin is irritated from being dry. I know I made my kids have oatmeal and baking soda baths when they get sunburned, which is thankfully not often. I also use the sock filled with oatmeal as a scrubber, instead of getting a cloth. I don’t know for certain, but in my mind it adds that extra “oomph” to my skin. Remember to rinse off, or you might get itchy afterwards.

Well, I hope everyone enjoyed my first “Pamper Yourself Wednesday”, and hope to see you back here again. If you have any thoughts and/or concerns, feel free to leave a comment. I look forward to hearing from you! :)