lovin’ the natural stuff

One thing I love about pinterest is how ideas can be shared from thousands of different people.  Even better than that, I feel so many of the ideas are ones that have been passed down from generations.  Whether it’s great-great grandma’s sure-fire way to remove even the toughest of stains to that friendly neighbor Beatrice (who was your great aunt’s best friend) who made the best darn snickerdoodles known to man, all of these are not lost.  I love this!

I am also fascinated by how resourceful our ancestors were.  In our use and throw away society, I am still amazed by how families made do and knew how to stretch anything from money to food to make things last.  While hunting isn’t for me, pioneers didn’t let any aspect of the animal go to waste – I really admire this.  Especially, since right now, I am not very good at living simply.  I want to get better.  I want to figure out how to do more with less.  So, I’ve been searching our friendly internets for some ideas and these are what I am currently either doing or looking to do.

1.  Sunburn soother – basically when I go outside my skin starts to catch on fire.  Maybe a slight exaggeration!  But yesterday I was outside for a total of (maybe) 15 mins and I burned my chest.  It wasn’t super red but you know that itchy, burning sensation (yikes, that is a really horrible description!).  But I read cucumbers can help and guess what?  They do!  I cut some wedges, laid them on my chest for a half hour and it really did make me feel better.

2.  Borax – Whenever I think of Borax, I think of some kind wicked chemical that can burn a hole through rubber.  Now, maybe it can but I also know it’s a great cleaner.  Here is a great article about the pros and cons of Borax – this blogger did a lot more research than I did!  I was too lazy to go and buy some but it’s on my list for tomorrow.  We have really hard water in this area and nothing seems to work on my shower.  This is promised to kick some soap scum booty.  I’ve also read it’s a natural ant repellant but I don’t want Simon getting into it.  And some ppl use it in their beauty routines – I don’t think this is my choice but just to put it out there.  Plus there are horses and something about mules on it – so that means it’s pioneer approved!

it looks pioneer-ish, right?

3.  Vinegar – if you haven’t heard of the magical powers of vinegar than perhaps you haven’t been on pinterest for a while.  Okay, here are a few things I know about the good stuff:  A)  When you have a pan/dish with baked on business, soak it with water and dish soap then add a splash of vinegar.  It strengths the soap and then you basically wipe it clean.  B)  you can add some to milk to curdle it a bit and make buttermilk for baking.  C)  I have poured it down my sink to help clean the pipes (I was the only one in my complex so the water wasn’t run a lot=smelly sink.  D)  If you have fruit flies put some water in a bowl with some dish soap and vinegar.  It traps them – this really works!  E)  This one I am trying next – 1/2 apple cider vinegar mixed with 1/2 water and then used on your hair.  It’s supposed to help your scalp, make your hair grow faster and a whole other host of goodness.  I am very intrigued by this as I have a sensitive scalp, so either I will run screaming from the shower or boasting about this glorious conction from the mountain tops!

I have no idea about this book but my place is turning into a vinegar house!

Vinegar has so many uses and my above list doesn’t even begin to detail them.  Pinterest and the internet in general can do a lot better job than I can of explaining all of the uses.  I will say, when I find “new” ways of using vinegar, I will write about them.

4.  Face scrub – Again, pinterest – but pore cleanser was 1/4 cup milk mixed with 2 tblspoons of baking soda (tied with vinegar for the 8th wonder of the world).  Make it into a sort of paste and using a make up sponge clean areas of your face where you might need some pore refining!  I used it on my “T” zone and I was fairly impressed.  There is another one that involves baking soda, and lemon juice that I also want to try but we’ll see.  It might be too harsh for my skin, which is one of the reasons I liked the milk/baking soda combo.  There are a quite a few others out there, some using honey, some using tea tree oil, so I suggest googling it and see what you can find.

5.  Baking soda – wow, just like vinegar the uses of baking soda never seem to end.  This is a hard-working powder!  It bakes, it cleans, it makes your skin feel all nice – yeah, basically you could marry the stuff!  I have poured some straight into the washer to freshen my laundry (especially my smelly running gear), make it a bit of paste to clean my sink, deodorized my fridge and sink drain and clean my toilet.  Again, there are so many uses for it – I always have some on hand.

There are so many recipes out there for diy products!  I know a college student who makes his laundry detergent because of how much cheaper it is.  There are other recipes for shower cleaners too where harsh chemicals are not on the ingredient list.  Or did you know spiders don’t like mint?  And slugs don’t like copper – pennies around your plants will keep them away!  Get a ladybug house (you can order the lady bugs too) and they will eat the harmful bugs in your yard.  A bat house will bring all of the bats to your yard (milkshakes will NOT work) and they too will keep the bug population down.  Really, bats can eat a ridiculous amount of bugs!  I love this kind of stuff!

click on the pic for an informative website with lots of recipes!
click on the pic for an informative website with lots of recipes!

So there you go – that is my list so far of the natural things I am looking at and trying.  I even qualify making my own ice coffee as going more natural buuuut I am not quite sure this qualifies!  By the way, my coffee is cold brewin’ as I type this!  Soooo close to yummy goodness!

Any other ways of using some of the above products?  What about homemade beauty, cleaning or whatever that you use?  I would LOVE to hear them!