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Happy October

So, I gotta keep it real with y’all. October, November and December are my three favorite months of the year. Apple picking, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas…. I absolutely love them all. And I think it’s mostly because of the abundance of family activities, crafts and fun foods I get to make. I could probably due without the impending snow but hey, it comes with the territory right?

Before I fast forward to the days where I’ll have to stop Olivia from eating the white stuff that has been peed on by one of the neighborhood dogs or when Caiden tries to sword fight with icicles I’ll celebrate the present, the  magnificent Autumn days.

I had been promising the kiddos since the middle of September that we would make our cider “soon”, but as a parent “soon”  really means “I hope they eventually forget because I already have 99 million things to do.”

Honestly though, I was looking forward to making the first batch of cider. It makes my house smell soooo good and we make apple sauce with the remaining apples in the crock pot. I’m really excited to share this recipe with y’all because it’s apple season and who doesn’t enjoy a warm glass of cider. I think you’ll actually be surprised how easy it is. It just takes a long time, well worth the wait though. My recommendation is to use a variety of apples, some sweet, some tart. I usually use a mix of Honeycrisp and Granny Smith AND surprise surprise, you’ll also be adding an orange to the mix!

HOMEMADE APPLE CIDER

INGREDIENTS

  • 10 medium sized apples cut in eighths
  • 1 orange, peeled and segmented
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 tsp ground cloves
  • Honey… adjust to taste. I personally don’t like a lot of honey, and only use a couple tbs but if you like your cider sweeter you can up to a half a cup

DIRECTIONS

Put all ingredients into your crockpot and add enough water to cover the fruit.
Cook on low for 7 hours (Or high for 3). I prefer to cook mine on the lower setting for longer. Don’t expect some scientific explanation as to why because all I can say is “because.” I think I learned that from my 4 year old.

At this point the fruit will be super soft. Grab your masher (or giant spoon if you don’t own a masher) and mash the fruit. This is the part that really releases the flavor and also the part where we get really excited because it’s almost done.

Let cider cook on low for 1 more hour

Now it’s time to strain! SLOWLY strain the cider through a fine mesh sieve, using a spoon to press down and squeeze out all the liquid into whatever you’ll be storing your cider in.

Serve warm or refrigerate for up to 1 week. Yea right…. like anything in my house lasts more than one week.

We like to use the remaining solid apples to make apple sauce. Just remove the peels and mash a little more.

My oldest daughter suggested that we make something Halloween related every day of October which I thought was a dope idea. It may not necessarily be edible but I’ll be posting pics every day on my Instagram. Last night we made apple cider floats (just put one scoop of the ice cream of your choice into a mug and add cider) and these cute little ghost brownies which were so simple to make, mainly because I took a shortcut (ugh I cringe thinking about all the added crap in em) and used already prepared brownies. I got the idea from Betty Crocker

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Homemade Laundry Detergent

laundry detergent

So, nobody told me that when I became a mommy I would be spending the rest of my life doing laundry. I mean seriously, sometimes I’m doing laundry and I’m just like, where did these clothes even come from? I swear I’ve never seen this sweatshirt before. And then I have the type of kids that wanna change outfits 72 times a day. What do they think this is, the Grammy’s? No matter how caught up I feel like I am, I’m never really done washing clothes. There’s always that surprise basket of laundry that emerges from the darkness, taunting me, as if to say “Ha, woman! You thought you were done with laundry!” I swear I’ve heard the dirty bath towels do the evil laugh before.

Well, I figured since there is no escaping doing the laundry I might as well find the most affordable way to do it. I think I was spending close to 470 billion dollars (this is not an exaggeration) a week on laundry detergent, fabric softener, dryer sheets etc. (which I use all homemade versions of now…thank God).

The best part for me is that this homemade detergent only requires three ingredients AND they are easy to find…you don’t have to special order anything or go to a specialty store. I usually get my ingrendients from Meijer but if you don’t have a Meijer where you live you can find this stuff at Walmart, Target, Kroger etc. All you’ll need is

2 cups Borax

2 cups Super Washing Soda

9 oz of bar soap such as:

Zote

Fels Naptha

So, for about $10 you can make enough laundry detergent for about 80-100 loads, depending on the size of the load and how much detergent you use. You only need to use 1-2 tbs of the detergent for each regular size load but for larger loads you may  need more.

And now for how to make it. Omg! Easy Peezy…..even the baby helps me sometimes

olviahelp

First thing you’ll need to do is grate the soap. I just use a regular cheese grater and I’m weird so I like to combine two different bar soaps. (1 full 4.5 oz bar of each) Usually Zote or Fels Naptha,but you can also use Dr. Bronners, Kirk’s Castile or Ivory as well.

gratedsoap

This next step is optional but I put my soap shreds in the food processor/blender after grating just because I feel like it mixes better with the other ingredients. It’s totally not necessary and won’t change the way your clothes are cleaned. You can see though it’s a lot finer after being in the food processor.

soap shreds

Next thing you’ll want to do is mix all ingredients together, the Borax, washing soda and grated soap. I pour mine into a big bowl and stir before putting it in the container I’ll store it in just because I feel like it gets mixed more thoroughly. You could also pour directly into the container and shake I suppose. That’s the way I did it the very first time I made laundry detergent but it wasn’t mixy uppy (I’m sure that’s a word) enough for me

soapbowl

And now it’s ready to store. I keep mine in a Mason Jar. Actually I pretty much keep everything in a mason jar these days. But it’s perfect, air tight and doesn’t take up too much space in my laundry room. And Voila, there you have it. Homemade Laundry Detergent. That wasn’t so bad now was it. Now smile at all of the money you’ll be saving, not to mention the chemicals you’re getting rid of!! Woo-hoo! Let me know in the comments how this worked out for you!

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Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

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I am sooo excited that fall is upon us. This is definitely one of my favorite seasons. I cannot wait to indulge in everything apple and pumpkin of course. For the kids first day of homeschool I wanted to make them an extra special breakfast…so I made Apple Cinnamon Pancakes. These were absolutely perfect and easy to make. Oh, and I made my pancakes without eggs this time. I was always curious how they would turn out and I really couldn’t tell the difference. So, enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tbs baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 tsp pink salt
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 4 tbs butter
  • 4 apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 cup maple syrup

DIRECTIONS

Mix together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl)

In another bowl mix together milk and oil

Add to dry ingredients

Lightly butter pan and make pancakes,flipping when they start to bubble- using about a quarter cup of batter per pancake

APPLE TOPPING

In a medium saucepan melt butter

Add apples,  and syrup and cook until tender…about 5-6 minutes

When done spoon over warm pancakes and Enjoy!!!!!!!

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DIY Pancake Mix

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Seriously guys who doesn’t love pancakes?? *insert crickets here* Everybody loves pancakes!! We even eat them for dinner sometimes. Having a big family….and even if you don’t, it’s so much more convenient to use pancake mix instead of having to measure everything out EVERY single time you want to make “pannycakes” as my 4 year old calls them. The problem with pancake mix, though, is all the extra ingredients in there that you don’t need. So why not make your own mix? It’s really easy to do and I put a label on the front of the jar so the kids know what to add if they want to make it on their own. Their quite the little chefs these days…….You can even store the mix in a ziplock bag if that’s easier. So, here’s what you need:

INGREDIENTS 

(for 24 medium sized pancakes)

  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 7 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp pink salt

DIRECTIONS

Um, there’s not much to it. Just mix the ingredients together in an airtight container. You could use tupperware, a ziploc bag….or my personal favorite, a mason jar. Write somewhere on the container what you need to add to it:

  • 2 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbs honey

And just cook like you normally would any other pancake mix

*TIP* PANCAKES ARE READY TO FLIP WHEN BUBBLES START FORMING

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DIY Toothpaste With Coconut Oil

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Okay so besides the fact that I’m completely obsessed with coconut oil (I use it in my hair, on my skin, for cooking….) I am in LOVE with this homemade toothpaste. I can’t lie though, I was scared to try it. I knew that I wanted to eliminate fluoride first of all. fluoride is HIGHLY toxic. Did you know that it was used as a rat poison and an insecticide….Ewwww. No thanks. Doesn’t sound like something I should be putting in my mouth. Maybe that’s why they make such a big deal out of swallowing it. Hmmmm……Also according to the largest study conducted on fluoridation and oral health there is no evidence that fluoride actually prevents tooth decay. Okay soooooo….why are we even…..just, okay. Or how about the fact that TOO much fluoride can lead to your teeth becoming discolored and crumbling.Ironic, huh?  Excuse me but I’ll pass. So yeah, I could go on and on with all the negative effects of fluoride on your body and mind but i think you guys get the point.

So why not just buy a fluoride free toothpaste you ask? (I can hear you….all of you) Well first because there are several other harmful ingredients in toothpaste (glycerin, triclosan, etc.) and secondly I would like to have as much control as possible over the ingredients I use. There you have it, my personal reason for wanting to switch to all natural DIY. You only need three ingredients and it’s quick and easy to make.

AND…….drum roll please……the kids love it!!!!!! Go Mommy…..Go Mommy!! Winning!!  I mean after having to explain to my two year old a few months ago why she couldn’t brush her teeth with ketchup this was an easy one. This recipe can be adjusted to fit your individual taste…..more or less essential oil, or even a different flavor, like orange or eucalyptus!! If you need a sweetener you can add a tsp or so of a sweetener like stevia or xylitol but I left it out!


THE RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • About 40 drops of peppermint essential oil

Mix together in a bowl and store in an airtight jar! Keep out of reach of small children that for some unknown reason feel the need to brush their Barbie dolls hair with the toothpaste!!

enjoy15

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Homemade Italian Dressing

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HOMEMADE ITALIAN DRESSING

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 4 tbs. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp organic honey
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp pink salt
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic

Put all ingredients into a mason jar, salad shaker or any container. I actually used an empty Starbucks frappucino bottle the first time, as long as it has a tight fitting lid. Shake for about 30 seconds. Dressing will last in fridge for up to 2 weeks.

TIP: Make sure none of your children have had access to salt prior to making or there is a STRONG chance that you will end up with half a bottle of salt in your dressing and you’ll have to start over…..entirely….even if you’re late for work. ENJOY!