Sunday, June 26, 2016

Ways to Fight Ants Naturally

It's summer and no matter what I do it seems as if I have been invaded by ants!  And it seems I am not alone in my quest to rid my home from ants.  However, I am not big on using pesticides in this house.  With kids, pets, and more in my house I want to fight the ants naturally but how do I do that?

Here are five ways to fight ants naturally:

1.  Essential Oils

I am a huge fan of essential oils and when it comes to getting rid of ants naturally it appears tht essential oils can be the perfect answer.

For ants Peppermint Essential Oil and Tea Tree Essential Oil are two essential oils known to combat ants.  To use essential oils to combat ants wipe down your baseboards, and other entry points to prevent ants from coming into your house.

2.  Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth

Food Grade Diatomacacous Earth is perfectly safe for humans and pets but it is deadly for bugs.  Just sprinkle a thin layer of Diatomaceous Earth where you are are finding ants, along widow sills, under cabinets, etc.  

One thing to keep in mind when using Diatomaceous Earth is to make sure you get the Food Grade version.  Make sure that you DO NOT get the kind that is used to filter pools as it is not safe to breathe or use in your home.

3.  Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Castile Soap Spray

As we mentioned earlier with essential oil ants don't like peppermint and the peppermint in Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Castile Soap Spray has the same effect.  To make the spray mix 1/4 cup of Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Castile Soap with a quart of water.  Then spray directly on the areas where you find ants, on baseboards, and on any other entry points where they may be entering your home.

4.  Vinegar

Ants do not like the smell of vinegar and vinegar causes ants to lose the scent trails that they follow.  Use a mixture of 50% vinegar and 50% water to clean the cabinets in your kitchen, wipe down your baseboards, or anywhere that you see ants.

5.  Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is another natural deterrent for ants.  Wipe lemon juice around your baseboards, and other points of entry to keep ants away.

Why Finding Dory May Not Be Appropriate for All Children

Finding Dory is the long anticipated sequel to Finding Nemo and kids of all ages have been eagerly anticipated seeing it.  But this movie may not be appropriate for all children due to emotions that it may trigger.  For some families a trip to the theater to see Finding Dory may not be a fun trip to the theater.  It has already been said that this movie is not a good movie for families who have foster children or children who have been adopted but I am going to take it a step further and say that it may affect other children as well.    

Why is that you may wonder?

On Facebook Tera Wolf shared a post from an adoption page that laid out clearly why this movie may not be appropriate for children who are in foster care or have been adopted.  In her post she states:
WARNING! Before seeing Finding Dory, all foster/adoptive parents should preview the movie first! We thought our teenage bio kids & 9 yr.-old adopted son (we've had him for 4+ yrs) could see it without us previewing it. Our kids sat in the row in front of us. Halfway through the movie, our 100 lb., very tall son, got up and came and sat on my lap for the duration of the movie. Dory has childhood flashbacks throughout the movie as she seeks to find her birth parents. The movie deals with multiple levels of abandonment and loss. While the ending is sweet as she is reunited with her birth parents & we realize her birth parents were looking for her too, there are elements of the ending that can have detrimental results for our adopted kids.
1) It was Dory's forgetfulness that caused her to be separated from her parents.... basically, her separation was her fault.

My thoughts: Many children who are in foster care or who have been adopted may see this as saying it is their fault they are not with the biological parents. I would take it a step further and say that this may even be a trigger for kids whose parents are divorced and have an absentee parent due to the divorce or for kids who are being raised by family members who are not their biological parents. It is in the nature of kids to internalize this blame to begin with, so to have a movie that shows that it was the character's fault she is not with her parents can reinforce this false belief. 

2) Her birth parents were physically, emotionally, & mentally stable and ACTIVELY seeking for her. This is not the case for MOST of our tender-hearted kiddos. This birth parent 'fairytale image' can create a false image in their forming minds.
My thoughts: In the case of foster children where the children were removed from the home the birth parents were found that they were not capable at the time of being able to care for the children in the home. Some families whose biological children may be working with authorities to have their children returned to their home and reunification may be possible. In some cases however, the birth parents are not capable of caring for their child and are not actively working to regain custody of their children. 

This movie may give the idea to kids that their birth parents want reunification with them as much as they want it but in many cases this is not true.

My oldest son and daughter are not biologically mine. My husband had full custody of them when I met him. They were the tender ages of 9 months old and 4 years old. They have always lived with us, and there was an 11 year time period where they did not see her biological mom. During that time she was living just an hour from us, knew where we lived, and still made no effort to see the kids. My son began to see my husband and I as the reason that his biological mom was not in his life and he put the blame on us, acting out in many ways. He has just now began to see this is not the case, but during that time period it made for a very difficult time for us. This movie may trigger these feelings or reinforce these feelings in some children.
3) At the end of the movie, once Dory, Marlin & Nemo find Dory's birth parents, they ALL (including the birth parents) travel back together to Dory & Nemo's home and all live TOGETHER Happily Ever After. Some young foster/adopted kids might think that is the end goal.

My thoughts: This may actually be the end goal for some families but for others this will never be possible. I think it is a positive however that this movie does show how Nemo and Marlin support Dory in her search for her adoptive family and that just because she wants to find her birth parents it does not mean that she does not still want or need Nemo and Marlin. I think this is a very important thing and can show the search for adoptive parents in a positive light. I think this can also show children of divorced families that it is okay that they love both parents and that they do not have to chose between one parent or another.
So, bottom line... preview the movie first & evaluate for each child. There are some heavy topics brought up in the movie that are difficult for every foster/adopted child to deal with even at older ages, so don't think this cute Disney movie is for everyone.

While this movie may bring up many negative feelings in some children, feelings of abandonment, self-doubt, and blame for an absentee parent, it can also be used as a tool to discuss these feelings. I think the best way to approach this movie for families who have children who may be triggered by the feelings that this movie brings up is to watch the movie at home instead of a movie theater. As the children react to the movie or as difficult parts arise you can then stop the movie and immediately discuss these topics with your children. As with any movie, it is important to remember that you are the one that knows your child best and will be the best person to judge how your child may react to a movie.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Menu Plan Monday: May 2-8, 2016

How is it May already?  This year is just flying by and we are almost to the half-way point of 2016!  Time seems to just go by so fast, and I am sure it feels that way because our life is so hectic.  Thank goodness for my menu plan each week or there is no way I could keep it together enough to cook dinner most nights.  And then there are the nights where we are soo busy there is no eating at home.

Before I get to my regular menu plan for the week I wanted to take a minute to share my Kentucky Derby Menu plan for 2016 since this Saturday is the Kentucky Derby.  You can find that menu here.  

Here's what I have planned for this week:

Monday:  Pork loin cooked in the crockpot, Low Carb Mac 'n Cheese for Grownups, My Grandmother's Green Beans

Tuesday:  Eating Out

Wednsday:  Taco Salad

Thursday:  Eating Out

Friday:  Eating Out

Saturday:  Hamburgers, Sauteed Mushrooms, Slow Cooker Baked Potatoes, corn on the cob 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Dirty Dozen and The Clean Fifteen: The 12 Most Pesticide Contaminated Fruits and Vegetables and the Fifteen Cleanest

I am not a whole food momma by any means.  You will find some processed goodies in my pantry for my kids, we eat dry cereal, and I don't always buy organic.  However, I am doing better than I used to.  I am learning more about GMO foods, the difference between organic and conventional grown produce, what raw milk is, and about RBGH free dairy.  I have changed my food habits immensely over the past few years, and I am on a journey to becoming a whole food momma, but I am not quite there yet.

In my journey I have learned about the USDA Dirty Dozen  list.  It's a list of the most pesticide contaminated fruits and vegetables, and is updated each year by the USDA.  If you can't afford to buy organic all the time, you will want to consider splurging to buy organic when purchasing items on this list.  Many of the items can actually be grown easily yourself, so you could also consider growing them as well.

This year's list is out and it includes:

1.  Strawberries
2.  Apples
3.  Nectarines
4.  Peaches
5.  Celery
6.  Grapes
7.  Cherries
8.  Spinach
9.  Tomatoes
10.  Sweet Bell Peppers
11.  Cherry Tomatoes
12.  Cucumbers

This year's list also included two bonus items that don't quite meet the criteria for the Dirty Dozen list but the USDA felt we should be warned about.  Those two items are hot peppers and leafy greens (like kale and collard greens).

And in comparison to the Dirty Dozen list is the Clean Fifteen.  The Clean Fifteen includes fifteen of the cleanest produce items, where buying organic is always necessary.

This years Clean Fifteen Includes:
1.  Avcados
2.  Sweet Corn
3.  Pineapples
4.  Cabbage
5.  Frozen Sweet Peas
6.  Onions
7.  Asparagus
8.  Mangoes
9.  Papayas
10.  Kiwis
11.  Eggplant
12.  Honeydew Melon
13.  Grapefruit
14.  Cantaloupe
15.  Cauliflower

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Review of

One of the joys of homeschooling
 is getting to choose which programs work best for your child.  For my youngest computer based programs have always been the best way for him to learn. is a great online program designed for two to seven year olds.  The program focuses on reading, math, science, arts and colors.

 It has a very impressive scope and sequence that covers a wide variety of information in each subject area.  ABCMouse's approach to learning is a stepping stone type approach with each lesson building on the previous lessons.  The program is designed to encourage children to acieve goals in order to achieve the next step of learning.  One of the great things is that with this program kids do not even realize they are learning but instead they think they are just playing a computer game.

Another feature that I like about ABCMouse is that it does have a built in timer which makes it easy if you want to limit your child's use of the website.

I do think that ABCMouse is a great program and is appropriate for it's target audience.  I think for ages 2 to pre-k this is an excellent stand alone program but for those in kindergarten and beyond it is more of a supplement.  Some relaxed homeschoolers will be fine with it being a complete kindergarten curriculum, so it really does come down to a personal choice.

Are you ready to try for yourself?  

Throwback Thursday - Waking Up Early When You Are a Late Riser

For this Throwback Thursday post I am sharing this post from August 14, 2013.  While it was written towards homeschooling moms the post is useful for anyone, which is why it has become one of my more popular posts.

One of the joys of homeschooling is the fact that it doesn’t have to run on the same time frame as public schools.  However, I have learned that the later in the day we start our school day, the less it seems we get done, and the grumpier my kids are.  I don’t like getting up early in the morning to start school.  I use to work third shift and getting up at 7 AM is extremely hard for me.  After talking with many other moms who homeschool I have found that I am not the only one who finds getting up early so hard.  After some work I have managed to get used to getting up early each day.  Here are some tips to help you make the adjustment from sleeping in each morning to getting up early.
Start Small
If you are use to getting up at 10 AM, try getting up at 9:30 AM for a few days, then move it up to 9 AM for a few days, then after a few days of getting up at 9 AM try getting up at 8:30 AM for a few days.  Keep moving the time up until you reach the time that you want to get up each day.
Go to Bed Earlier
You can’t expect getting up at 6:30 AM to be easy if you are staying awake until midnight. Making it a point to go to bed earlier will allow you to get enough sleep so that your body won’t keep fighting your desire to wake up earlier in the morning.
Move Your Alarm
When you set your alarm move it to the other side of the room from where you are sleeping.  By moving your alarm to the other side of the room you will force yourself to have to get up out of bed to turn it off.  Once you are up don’t lay back down, instead jump in the shower to wake yourself up completely. 
Let the Sunshine In
If your room is dark and cave-like you are going to want to hide out in it all day.  If you live in an area where it is okay you can leave the window coverings from your windows open at night so that the sun will shine in each morning.  However, if leaving your window coverings open overnight is not possible you can purchase window coverings that will allow the sunlight to stream in through them in the morning.
Get a New Alarm Clock
If you live in the North part of the country where it is dark and dreary in the morning letting the sunshine in is not always possible.  You might consider getting a new alarm clock that offers a sunrise feature.  With the sunrise feature the alarm will mimic the glow of the sunrise in the morning.
Also if you like to hit the snooze button on your alarm in the morning consider buying one that does not have a snooze button.
Don’t Sleep in on Weekends
Getting up early every single day of the week will help your body adjust to your new sleep schedule.  Sleeping in just one day can wreak havoc on your sleep schedule so be sure to avoid the temptation to sleep in on the weekend.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Menu Plan Monday - April 25th to May 1st

Join us for Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

As I mentioned last week, it is the season of the year when we are busy and don't eat at home a lot, despite my best intentions.  On nights when we are home I do my best to take advantage of the opportunity to cook.  This week is a typical spring week in our home, and we have only a few meals planned.

Here's what I have planned for us this week:

Monday - Eating Out

Tuesday - Pizza Braid for the kids, and a yummy THM pizza on a Joseph's Pita for me

Thursday - BLT Frittata, Trim Healthy Mama cookbook page 74

Saturday - Eating Out