I don’t think you’re ready

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I don't think you're ready

for this jelly….fish.

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DIY Vanilla Extract

So, I love to bake.  Love it.  LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE.

I also love to be cheap. LOVE x INFINITY.

I think one of the biggest wallet blows whilst baking is a good vanilla extract.  I’m always a little gutted to walk down the aisle and see the price of a decent vanilla extract(and personally I just can’t bring myself to buy the imitation, I love baking and I respect baking).  When I started reading around, poking about Pinterest, et cetera, I saw a recipe for vanilla extract. What did I say? YOU can make your own vanilla extract!  Guess how much it’ll cost….go ahead….

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Vanilla Extract

vanilla beans(2 or 3)*

vodka**

a glass container(depending on your container you may want a funnel and if you don’t have one, you can fashion one out of paper if you’re really in a pinch)

a knife

5 seconds of your day

Clean your container and make sure it’s nice and dry.  Get out your vanilla beans and slice them length wise(my favorite part because it smells so yummy and I spent all night sniffing my fingers like a weird beast) then place them in your container. Use your funnel and pour your vodka into the container. Put lid on and place in a dark, dry area.

Now comes the hard part:  let it sit for 8 weeks, shaking every day.  I try to shake it when I get my morning coffee together.

You can use them just like store bought vanilla extract.  Some people top it off as they go, some people wait until it is low and then refill it and wait another 8 weeks.  You can use these beans over and over for I’ve read 8 months to a year. I’ve read some people who said that they have gone even longer.

*Some people use the casing of the vanilla beans after using the beans for another recipe, also.  If you need your beans for something, you may as well try it out, right?

**You can use other types of alcohol for you base.  I’ve read that some people have had wonderful results with Jack Daniel’s in particular while some people have used rum.  Try different things out. You can buy 2 vanilla beans for the price of a bottle of vanilla extract so you will end up winning either way.

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I had originally made the vanilla extract on July 19th and as of today, August 5th, this is how my vanilla extract appears…

If you look at my bottle in particular, you can see loose vanilla beans in the bottom and oils in the top.  The color has obviously shifted from completely clear to a nice amber/brown.  I can’t wait to try it!!

Natural Homemade Laundry Detergent

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Natural Homemade Laundry Detergent

One of my favorite DIY cleaning adventures thus far has been this laundry detergent. Super easy to make, easy to get your hands on the ingredients(seriously, we’re already on the internet, utilize it) and I love how my clothes feel when they are done.
I followed the recipe from shalommama.com(if you click the photo of my detergent, you can reach the page with a lot of her input and information)

1 box Borax powder
1 box Washing Soda
3 bars Fels Naptha soap
1 32 oz. container oxygen bleach
40 drops essential oil (I used sweet orange)

Grate the soap bars.  Mix everything together.  Put in a container. Use. TADA!

The hardest part was grating the bars of soap, as my food processor is too small for the bars to fit and I needed some me time. The only items I ordered online that are on this list are the fels naptha and the oxygen bleach, because I didn’t want to use oxyclean. I DO WANT TO POINT OUT, if you can buy borax and washing soda in the store, please, save yourself money and do that. I was pricing everything out and these boxes both are only about $3 each in the grocery store but if you order them online, they are around $10+. Really, it’s not worth it to buy online. I am hoping to find an oxygen bleach I can trust locally because I feel like it would make it even more reasonable of a price.
Also, I added the essential oils and while they make my laundry area smell absolutely delicious, they don’t seem to make it through to the end product for me. I’ve even tried applying it to some homemade wool balls and nada. Oh well, right? At least when I throw my doors open, it smells fresh and bright.

I have a smaller sized washer, not high efficiency, and probably older than me, so I just use a 1/4 cup measuring spoon and eyeball it depending on the size of my load. Much better for me, since I was using liquid before and I couldn’t tell you how much I used on anything, I just pushed the button and fell asleep.

This recipe makes a good amount, so be prepared to store extra away. I filled two of those jars pictured, one to the top and the other 2/3 of the way. I wouldn’t be surprised if I have enough to make it through a few months and I try to do a load of laundry every day.

Beatbox

Yesterday, we had decided to work on the yard.  While I was weeding in the front yard, my husband was attacking poisonous spiders that were hiding along our car port.  We were very successful, including busting out the weed whacker and trimming up one set of palm trees.

In other news, while I was kneeling and pulling weeds, I heard two young boys, around 11 or 12, making all of this racket– screeching and hollering.  They were on their bikes and slowly pedaling up the road towards me.  As they closed in, I heard the one boy say to the other, “I beatbox like a pro, you beatbox like my mom.”  To which his friend laughed and said that his friend was funny.  My heart then proceeded to shatter when the first boy started to “beatbox” in a manner that make me think of the ever horrifying Skrillex.

I feel so sorry for this generation of children growing up that have absolutely NO idea of what beatboxing really is and if they ride by making that noise again, I may push their bikes over.

Super Simple Side

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Super Simple Side

  1. Slice and dice a zucchini, make fun shapes, whatever you like
  2. Cut up red onion(about a 1/4 amount of the zucchini)
  3. Rip up or chop fresh basil
  4. Add two tbsp of lemon juice
  5. Salt and pepper to taste
  6. Mix & eat

It is refreshing. The red onion and basil give it immense flavor. I think it is my new favorite summer side dish AND it makes a great topper for a burger!