Bathroom cleaners

Update: I have been sick and I’m still at war with mom’s home help company. I really just want to get back to consistent posts, but life and the Lord/Lady seem to have other plans for me. But here yet another post in my cleaning series.

So while I covered most of the bathroom cleaners, there is still the best ever toilet clean and some miscellaneous products that can also be useful in the bathroom.  So today I’m going to share four more clean and green recipes to both save you money and promote a toxin free home.

Now, before we get too far ahead, I do want to mention something I forgot in the last post.  I mentioned that these will save you money. It’s just an added bonus for me…but if you really want to know the cost breakdown (well approximately) many of these recipes came from the thrifty couple. http://thethriftycouple.com/2013/03/15/make-23-homemade-natural-cleaning-products-for-around-12-printable-shopping-list-too/ The link will send you to their article covering around 20 all natural home cleaning products. If there is one that you are particularly interested in seeing the cost breakdown on….click it and scroll all they way down to the bottom where they highlight it. If going Green isn’t enough of a motivator for you here, then the huge savings could be.

I mean for me, I was sold when I learned I could make up to 6 months of laundry detergent (we’re getting to that post soon)…that works just as well if not better than some of the name brands….for 20-30 dollars. I didn’t believe it till I priced it out. Or that I could make a floor cleaner for pennies on the dime. Didn’t believe it until I tried it…but it really does work.

I will give you an example before I get off the money saving soap box so to speak. My former landlady is the one who directed me to this site. She used the detergent and she passed along some. It worked and we kept using it…we looked back to the site and went to their original recipe (she had modified it) and all was grand. We spent around 22-ish dollars in Louisville in 2014 on that powder detergent….when a box of powder or liquid can be anywhere from 9-12 dollars depending on what you like and get. That was over 50 dollars a year we were paying in detergent for the two of us. While with this we made it once and it lasted six months at a cost of around 22 dollars. If you have a bigger family, I’m sure the savings are larger as well.

Now that I’ve put away the laundry box….I mean soap box….let’s get back to it.

The four recipes we’re going to talk about today are: toilet cleaners, drain cleaners, antibacterial cleaners (both a spray and wipes).

Also, once I finish up with my series on cleaning I will be posting a link to all the recipes that are more printer friendly. That was my only problem with the Thrifty Couple’s website. It was really hard to just get the directions.

Antibacterial Wipes and Spray

I’m going to start here because the two are easily made together

Here’s what you need:

  • empty container for baby wipes or clorox wipes
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 roll of paper towels (don’t buy the cheapest)
  • 5 drops lavender oil.
  • 5 drops lemon oil
  • 3 drops tea tree oil
  • 3 drops oregano oil (optional as the oil smells but great for more antibacterial properties.)
  • Spray bottle.

.

First you’re going to get a roll of paper towel and cut in half.  Then you are going to squeeze it into a used container for either baby wipes or something like the Clorox wipes containers.

Once you have it in there you are going to pour two cups of warm water over the wipes. Let it absorb into the paper towels. I would give it at least twenty minutes to make sure it’s soaked through.  

Once it’s fully absorbed. pull the cardboard out from the center. ONce you have that out, you are going to pour the excess into the spray bottle to use as a spray or later with more wipes.  

Now you can reach in and pull a wipe from the center and pull it through the opening in the lid. Enjoy.

Drain Cleaner/Freshener.

This one is very simple all it takes is a cup of baking soda and ½ cup of vinegar (you can use either apple cider or white vinegar).

Whether you are using it for prevention, deodorization or to get rid of a nasty clog….first you are going to pour the baking soda into the drain.

Then measure out your vinegar and pour it down the drain. Be sure to have the drain stopper ready to plug the hole so that your solution actually stays in your drain.  It’s going to fizzle and bubble, which is what is going to help break up all that gunk down there.

If you are just freshening and maintaining your drains you don’t have to let it sit more than 15 minutes, but if you are trying to unclog a drain….leave it in there for 30-60 minutes without using the sink.

Then you just rinse out the sink with warm water. You may need to repeat for tough clogs. I’ve used this drain cleaner for plugs in our old apartment at least 10 times.  We only had to go out and buy something stronger twice….and it turned out that one of those times, it wouldn’t have made a difference anyway….it was a frozen pipe that the city water company had to come take care of….Geeze was that a mess.

Anyway….it really is as simple as that.

Toilet cleaner

For me this is the hardest one….mainly because I find it the most tedious.  

Here’s what you need:

pumice stone

1 cup apple cider or white vinegar

4 drops of any ONE of the following essential oils: lemon, tea tree, orange, or lavender.

½ cup baking soda

Another 10 drops of your choice.

Gloves.

Toilet Brush

Put on your gloves and get that pumice stone in there if you have any unsightly rings that don’t just wipe away.  Just like those stones get rid of nasty dead skin…it will get rid of those pesky rings that just don’t want to go away.

Next you pour the vinegar into the toilet. Let it sit there and do its job for 30 minutes. It’s a natural antibacterial and disinfectant.

When the timer goes off grab your toilet brush and do the usually scrub routine while adding some baking soda. I would start with a 1/4th cup and work from there depending on how long you’ve let the bowl go..  Make sure you get around the edges where people often miss and under the rim for the cleanest bowl possible.  

Add your four drops of oil and flush. This is really an optional step and an added measure. Each of these oils is great for cleaning and will also flush away what some may consider the undesirable smell of the vinegar.  Personally, I like the added clean, but if you can’t afford the oils this will work without them….just not as well….at least in my opinion.  

Finally, you really should put 10 drops of oil in the water tank.  This will help flush out the internal system and get the water to where you may not have been able to reach with a brush.  I do recommend this part if only for that benefit.  

LIke I said it isn’t bad….I just have trouble with the patience part of the equation.  

So there are our recipes for Going Green in your Clean for today. We’re going to hit the kitchen next.  Also, if you find any better recipes feel free to post them here or share any modifications. What works for one home may not be the best for another.

Blessed Be.

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Green and Clean Bathroom (Part 1)

So I wanted to start a series that I could post on both of my blogs. Last week was a blast to put together. And if we are looking to teach our children or ourselves pagan values, we have to live it.  We can’t just walk the walk. We have to talk the talk and part of that is taking care of the earth. It also means taking care of ourselves.

Now, I used to think that cleaning supplies that you bought at Walmart were essential until I found out about all the toxins in them. Then we tried a wonderful company called Melaleuca, which uses tea tree oil and nothing has toxins in it….not even their makeup. It’s a great company if you have the money, but we were spending way too much on all the things we needed to keep our house Green, so we went back.

Ever since then I had been working on a way to get back to being Green.  It wasn’t because I was pagan. I just felt that it was healthier for me.  It just so happens that later I made a personal determination that being healthy and working towards freedom from toxins in my life was essential to my pagan path. I’m still working on it, with mixed results, but nothing worth doing happens over night.  

However, I wasn’t at a place in my life where I really had the time or reason to focus too much on it. It was around then that I went to college and I really didn’t need many cleaning supplies as much of that was done by the housekeeping staff, but it was also when my health starting to get worse again.  So when I got my apartment, I got back to it.

Now that I’ve explained why I want to clean Green, I want to start by talking about one room. The room that most of us hate to clean the most. It is the room that most of us often believe is the dirties in the house….even if Mythbusters has proven otherwise.  The Bathroom.  

 

So what do we have to clean in the bathroom?

Mirrors

Toilets

Tubs

Showers

Grout

Sinks

Cabinets

Floors (hopefully not carpet as in our ensuite in my parents double wide).

 

So what do we clean them with if we remove all toxins from our house?

The following are some of the best recipes I found. Most of them come from thethrfitycouple.com blog. Particularly their cleaning challenge from back in 2013. They have a number of other recipes listed, but the ones listed here are the ones that have worked best for me in my personal experience. Some of my other favorites come from Wellnessmama.com

 

Window Glass and Stainless Steel

Vinegar and Water work just as well as windex and you don’t have to worry about your child getting into it.  Just mix it 50/50 with water and use a rag to clean as you normally would. Simple enough right? Also, if you’ld like a little bit of an extra kick a little bit of baking soda in that spray bottle can really give that recipe a boost. And if you want additional antibacterial power you can add three to four drops of an essential oil.  The ones I recommend the most often are Melaleuca (tea tree oil), Lemon, Orange, Peppermint or Lavender.  

The oils are also a great investment as you will get a container that can last you a year or two for all of your cleaning supply needs. Just make sure that they are natural. It adds a bit to your start up cost, but some might find it worth it to have that clean smell they are used to.  It also works that some of us may already have a collection of these oils for ritual use.  

The original recipe I found also uses a drip of dish soap, but I found that this really made no difference and actually made it harder to get that streak free look.  

 

Laminate Floor Cleaner

The recipe here is their third attempt with a few modifications. Again it was the one that worked best for me. It goes as follows:

  • 1.5 cups  Water
  • 1.5 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Several drops of Orange or Lemon essential oils.
  • Mix all ingredients together and pour into a fine mist spray bottle.

Now that I left out the dish soap….just a few drops and they used lavender oils. But any of the oils I mentioned earlier would work.  

We also made our own swiffer pads so that we could use this with our original swiffer set I had for my tiled dorm room.  We just bought some microfiber cloths at the Dollar Tree and cut it down.

 

Natural Mildew And Mold Remover

Every once in a while we all face the dreaded mold…especially if your life is like mine and you get busy.  For this one I do follow their exact directions. For some reason the Tea Tree Oil worked best for me when we used it in our bathroom.  

To make the remover put a TBSP of baking soda in a small bowl and pour a TBSP of vinegar (white) into it.  You’re going to see it react, but just stir it until it is mixed. Once that has settled you need to add 5-6 drops of Tea Tree Essential oil and mix it again. It’s going to be a thin/medium paste.  I apply it directly to the affected spot and let it sit there for a while. Once it has sat there for, lets say half an hour to an hour I come back and scrub it away. You may need to repeat this a few times but it will get the job done.

 

Homemade Soft Scrub

This is another great one from the thrifty couple. And it is the only one where I use even a semi toxic product and that is because I just haven’t found a good substitute for the dish soap, but I’m still working on it.  Eventually I plan on figuring out my own homemade version of dish soap that is all natural as well.


Here’s how you make it. Take 2 TBSP (or more depending on how much you need just be sure to double the rest appropriately). and add five drops of lemon or orange oil.  These oils are both known for their cleansing properties.  Then add five drops of dish soap  (hopefully in the same scent).  Then add 1 TBSP of hydrogen peroxide. The original recipe recommends 3% but I’ve found that just about anything you can buy at Walmart will work.  

It’s going to form a paste.  If it’s not thick enough add pinches of baking soda until you get a medium paste.  You may also find that the thickness you need depends on what you are cleaning. So you may have to experiment to find your happy medium.  

This is one of the only recipes I haven’t had luck storing.  It just doesn’t work after sitting around for so long.  

Once it’s made apply to the surface you need to clean and scrub gently with a toothbrush before letting it sit for 20-30 minutes. Then scrub gently again and wipe away.  I have used it on tile grout and a pesky oven stain but I’m not sure I would use it on wood, glass or painted walls just to be safe.  

Total Supply List

 

Vinegar (White or Apple Cider) Note: I prefer the Apple Cider Vinegar.

Water

Baking Soda

Essential Oils: Lemon, Orange, Tea Tree, Peppermint, Lavender.

 

Labels for Spray Bottles

Spray Bottle for Window, Glass and Steel Cleaner

Spray Bottle for Laminate Floor Cleaner

Toothbrush

Small Bowl for cleaning.

 

Also, not everyone is going to like every recipe. I went through a number of sites before I found a set that I liked. If mine don’t work to your taste, try doing your own research and see if you can find something that does work for you. All I’m trying to do here is remove the toxic chemicals from our home because our body is a part of our temple and we should all respect it.  And more importantly, we have to teach our children this by our own example.  

 

So there you have it. Aside from the essential oils (which are just a startup cost and easily sustainable once started) everything is easily obtainable. I’m also fairly sure that a good number of them might work without the oils, but I’ve never tried that. Also, I like the clean smell without the chemicals so I’m not sure I would like them without the oils.  

 

Test out a few and tell me what you think.

 

Next time we are going to talk about some more bathroom cleaners to help you go Green in your home.  Then after this week I’ll get back to some separate posts related more specifically to my individual blogs.  
Blessed Be.  

Wasting Away in the Kitchen

 

I was going to start my organic cleaning posts here, but I found another post that inspired me more. The post was about our household kitchen. It’s probably the place where we waste the most. So I’m going to take some time to highlight some ideas to lessen our footprint on the earth through controlling the waste in our kitchen.

 

I’ve covered a couple of these in another post on green living on Mama in the Wyrd but there are a few more here that I’ve discovered or implemented at home since that post.

 

  1. Replace the plastic shopping bags with reusable ones and hot/cold bags.
  2. Replace plastic baggies with homemade baggies (just make sure that you make them with food safe fabric.
  3. You can replace plastic produce bags with organic mesh ones. It’s an investment, but will save you money over time. It’s in my eventual plan for our home once we move out.
  4. Plan exact portions for your meals, You still may have some waste but not nearly as much as if you just guess.
  5. Coffee grounds, onion peels, carrot tops, egg shells and other non-meat food waste can go into a countertop crock, then on to a compost pile in your yard. Or use vermicompost bins,in which worms turn food waste into a nutrient-rich soil. I plan on eventually creating a worm compost when I have my own yard.
  6. Learn what your local recycling center accepts and send as much there as you can. They will reprocess it and reuse it.
  7. There is a good amount of money to be made in making pop tab purses. I even know a few moms who make them and sell them for $20 a pop. Then they donate the money to the Ronald McDonald house.
  8. Buying in bulk can also help you save. Just keep a few dispensers to keep under your counter.
  9. If you find that your local cleaning bottles and detergent containers often end up being landfill bound, consider making your own. I hope to eventually cover this as well.
  10. Ditch the disposables. Be adults and wash your dishes. I know it’s tempting to take the easy way out, but avoid temptation. You can even get rid of napkins by buying cloth ones or making your own.  Just think of all the money you will save over the years by not buying those items.
  11. If you want to cut down on food waste or over buying keep a list of what you have on a dry erase board or other device.  Then you can just buy what your family uses on a regular basis.
  12. If you would like to conserve electricity you can always opt for hand operated devices instead. Now, I’ll never give up my blender but I don’t mind a hand churn or whisks. I actually get a lot of satisfaction out of whisking things myself….just don’t ever ask me to make meringue again….I wish it had been as fun as it looked on Master Chef Junior.
  13. Donate your excess. It doesn’t matter if its foods or utensils. Find what you use and eliminate the rest. No point in a cluttered kitchen.  I know Alton Brown recommends doing the closet check with your kitchen. See what you’ve used after we’ll say three months, and donate the rest to someone who can use it. Or better yet find items that are multipurpose so you don’t have to have as much in your kitchen.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend and Blessed Be.

Natural Remedies For Common Ailments

So, I thought i would take yet another break from my normal posts to talk about home remedies.  Everyone deserves to treat things naturally. There are already so many chemicals shoved down our throats in the form of medicine, food, and even cleaners.  In my personal opinion, I would much rather do anything natural before even considering something unnatural and chemical.  So here is my list of natural remedies that I have either used personally or that I’m fairly sure may work based on the properties of the plant or item.

 

Ginger

Ginger is great for nausea. You can create a tincture from it and then freeze it. The resulting ice cubes can help you get through pregnancy and the nausea after surgery.

If eaten regularly it can boost the immune system and help prevent colds. It is also supposed to have anti-inflammatory properties….so even if you don’t eat it, you may benefit from supplements. Just ask your doctor first.  And girls…the anti-inflammatory properties will help with cramps as well.

 

Sugar

Two teaspoons of sugar for hiccups works great. Really you can use any coarse substance as the granules rest the irritated nerve, but sugar tastes the best.  Another option for hiccups is to drink with a pencil in your mouth. You end up being so focused on not spilling it all over yourself that you stop hiccuping. It works for me when sugar isn’t available…even if it sounds silly.

 

Garlic

Garlic has many great uses.

First you can mix six pressed garlic cloves in water. Gargle twice a day for a sore throat.  You can also do this with salt, but I prefer garlic. It taste better by my personal opinion.
Garlic can also be applied directly to the face to help treat acne.

Eating garlic regularly can help prevent illness as it is packed full of immune boosters and antioxidants.

Crushed garlic diffused in warm water is supposed to be a great treatment for fungus in the feet or under nails. I’ve never tried this one, but I plan to. Right now I just apply vicks vapor rub and it mostly works.

 

Lindon Flower Tea

Great for lowering fever it also dilates blood vessels and stimulates the hypothalamus to better regulate temperature.  Buy or grow the dried herb yourself and diffuse in water with a steeper or reusable tea bags.  Cheesecloth works as well.

For a higher temperature you can also take a bath in tepid (not cold) water to lower your body temp.  Just make sure you bundle up and get back to water once you’re done. http://www.prevention.com/health/healthy-living/natural-home-remedies/reduce-fever

 

Aloe Vera

Keep a plant on your window sill (it’s really hard to kill) and crack a piece open for any burns, heck even sunburns.  We used to have one and I’ve been meaning to get another one.

Use it to condition your skin. Just harvest the juice and use as you would a toner.

Drinking aloe vera juice aids in natural cleansing of the digestive system. There are many food substances that can cause fatigue and exhaustion, which you can combat by drinking aloe vera juice. When consumed regularly, aloe vera juice will also help increase your energy level and help you maintain a healthy body weight.

I have been told that you can use it to treat gum disease, but I haven’t tested this nor do I have a reason to yet. But if you try it let me know how it works out (and yes it is safe to ingest).

 

Peppermint

Peppermint is good for reducing flatulence. It kills bacteria and relaxes the intestinal muscles for smoother digestion.

 

Odor Killers

You can soak your feet in white vinegar or water and baking soda to get rid of stench.

You can also make homemade deodorant in a pinch by making a milky mix of baking soda and water.

Black tea is also supposed to be good for this though I haven’t tried it.

 

Raw Honey

Put some in your tea, but make sure it’s raw honey from your area. It can help you reduce allergic reactions to pollen and allergens specific to your religion or city.  Why does it work? (http://www.diynatural.com/local-honey-for-allergies/)

It has to be raw because raw honey still contains all the living enzymes needed to protect your body from a histamine overdose. It has to be local because it has to be the pollens causing your reaction. There is no magic number for how close the producer needs to be to your home. Finally, it needs to be harvested around the same time your allergies affect you. If you have fall allergies a summer harvest honey isn’t going to do you any good. It’s not the same pollen, hence not the same allergies.

 

Baking Soda

Baking Soda is a wonder. While I’m not sure it will cure cancer there are claims that it can do so (or at least help), but here are the things I know it will work for.

First you can use it as a natural teeth whitener and toothpaste.  Second, you can gargle it to get rid of bad breath.  Third, as an antacid with a bit of water.

 

Olive Oil

Great for chapped lips. It takes a few days, but will help them to heal.  Can be used to moisturize and heal dry and cracked skin.

When it comes to hair care products, you simply cannot ignore olive oil. Packed with fatty acids, several antioxidants and vitamin E, olive oil works as a great moisturizer for your hair. It can help treat dry and damaged hair by sealing the cuticles or the outer layers with moisture. Olive oil is the right solution for hair problems like split ends and frizzy hair. It can even strengthen and add shine to your hair.

To nourish dry tresses, give yourself a hot olive oil head massage.

  1. Apply warm olive oil thoroughly on your scalp and hair shafts.
  2. Using your fingertips, massage the scalp for 5 minutes.
  3. Cover your hair with a warm towel and leave it on for 30 minutes or overnight.
  4. Shampoo and condition your hair as usual.
  5. Do this once a week.

 

Witch Hazel

Use it for cuts to kill bacteria. It’s also great for clearing acne. Just apply to face daily as a toner.

  • The big one for me: Spot and blemish control. Witch hazel can reduce the inflammation on a pimple. …
  • Soothe and heal diaper rash. …
  • Shrink bags under the eyes. …
  • Soothe and reduce external hemorrhoids. …
  • Varicose vein relief. …
  • Soothe poison ivy and poison oak. …
  • Treat chicken pox blisters. …
  • Heal your bruises faster.

 

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar is my favorite household product. It is good for your health, cleaning, and a number of other things.

First, it can be used in a sinus rinse (a drop or two) to help kill a fungal infection in the sinuses. It can also be drank by itself or mixed in water to achieve the same result (though not as quickly).  Just a warning on the rinse though…it does burn like the dickens, so be careful. I’d only use that one if you are just so down right miserable that a little more pain won’t matter.

You can use it to clean product from your hair.  Just pour a cup and rinse your hair with it before you get out of the shower. And if you don’t want to smell like apple cider for the rest of the night you can use lemon juice afterwards. it will naturally lighten your hair and I know it has some other hair properties….I just can’t remember them. Some recommend mixing it with water, but I have no problem using it straight. It will also kill any fungi that may be attacking your scalp. I just suggest only doing it once or twice a week.

It is a natural teeth whitener when gargled and it will also kill bacteria in your mouth. i mix it with baking soda, which will do the same thing. Honestly they taste better together than apart in my opinion and packs a double whammy.

A small dose of raw ACV can be used to treat constipation and supposedly aids in weight loss….we’ll see. I’m taking it for sinuses….so I’ll let you know if I see any significant change here.

When applied to the skin it can be used to treat skin blemishes.  Some even say it helps diminish wrinkles and fine lines. I’ve not ascended to the crone, so if any of you wonderful wise women out there try this let me know how it works. I would love to know.  I was told just to apply it as a toner. I can attest that it does help with acne.

It can be mixed with honey and warm water to soothe your throat and end a cough caused by a cold.  It will also help your body fight off infection.

 

Eggs

The whites can be used as a face mask. Just let it dry and then peel it off.

You can take the yellows to use for a dry scalp treatment….just be sure to wash your hair with cold water unless you want egg bits in your hair.

 

There are tons of natural remedies out there if you only seek them out. Many of them work far better than their toxic companions that you would otherwise buy in the store.  And there are tons of sites dedicated to the topic as well. The ones I’ve shared here are just ones I”ve tried or heard about from others.  I hope you benefit from them as much as I have.
Blessed Be.

Natural Remedies for common Pests

Today is going to just be a listing of all sorts of natural remedies for pess that our families may face. Some you may have heard of before and others may be new.

 

Bed bugs.

These pesky vermin run rampant in my parent’s community, where we currently unfortunately live.  I have three natural remedies for this. However, only two of them can really be done by yourself.

 

First, pure peroxide. 100%. Spray the little buggers directly and they die. Only problem is that it only works with direct contact.

 

The second, and probably the best option is diatomaceous  earth. It’s powdered unicellular algae fossils.  You just have to sprinkle it around your floor boards. It breaks down their exoskeleton and dehydrates them. I know this also works on ants. It supposedly works on common garden pests and can be sprinkled on pets as an anti flea treatment and internally (with food grade only) for worms. I don’t know for sure about the garden or pets, but its worth a try. We’re buying some for prevention and to try for its numerous health benefits to humans.  We’re also going to give some to the boyfriend’s parents to try for their dog.

 

The third will require a professional, but it is the quickest way to get rid of them.  Heat. You will have to vacate your house for up to twenty four hours after removing a myriad of food, flammables, aerosols, and anything else they list. In addition to their list I suggest game systems, expensive electronics, vinyl records, and any precious non fabric family items that you adore. We were lucky to have a room where we could bag these and section them off for three months instead.

 

Lice

….they are gross, but not a sign of dirty hair. They actually only enjoy clean scalps. So don’t think of it as being dirty. It doesn’t help that they are passed around schools, prisons, and camps like wild fire.  Regardless, they are annoying no matter what kind of hair we have.

Whatever you do please do not use the chemical treatment you get at the store. It has a ton of toxins in it that are entirely unnecessary and damage your hair. Not to mention that it is way overpriced. If you want to get rid of lice there are much easier ways.

 

The best thing you can do is smother them and comb them out. To do this you’ll coat your hair with a substance (I’ll get to that in a moment) and then let it sit there for about thirty minutes before washing it out. Then you just comb out your hair.

 

What works best (http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/home-remedies-for-head-lice#4) is almond or olive oil (which is commonly found in the pantry or kitchen). If you don’t happen to use this there are a few alternatives, but be prepared to wash your hair several times due to the oil factor. These options from best to worst include vegetable oil, canola oil, mayonnaise, and peanut butter. I only list all the ones I know work because I know that there are times when money is so tight you have to just use what you have.  Anyway, if you suffocate the little buggers, they will die and then it’s just a matter of getting the eggs and nits out, (just like you’d have to do otherwise, but at a fraction of the cost.)

 

The link above does list some essential oils that one can use, but I know that not everyone has those readily available or can afford them. Nor have I tested those methods yet (and I hope I don’t have to -fingers crossed). So test them at your own risk.

 

Ants

I mentioned the diatomaceous earth earlier, but here are a few other tips and tricks that help waylay ants….though so far the food grade diatomaceous earth seems to be the best option I’ve seen.

Cinnamon, cucumber and cloves placed at points of entry are supposed to deter them, but it’s a short term solution. If you’re waiting to get something better it works as a bandaid but eventually your line will get broken. At least with diatomaceous earth its fine enough to spread under your floorboards and into cracks.

Borax and sugar works, but there are concerns and debates about how natural or toxic borax is….so do your research on borax before deciding if you really want this in your home.

 

Cockroaches

Diatomaceous earth works here. And Catnip is a natural deterrent. So are garlic and bay leaves.  But once again, a deterrent is more of a temporary solution than a permanent one.

 

Fleas

Diatomaceous earth, citrus oils and tinctures work as well when sprayed.

I haven’t actually tried this one, but cedar oils and shampoos are also supposed to be great natural flea deterrents and can be used for continuing treatment.

 

Mosquitoes

First of all change any standing water you may have like bird feeders at least once a week if not twice or more.

Second, if you love the grill toss some rosemary and sage. They will naturally help repel bugs and mosquitos when you cook out.

Marigolds are also good at deterring these pests.  It has a scent that they do not like.  The same goes for Tai Lemon Grass which contains citronella.

 

Moths

Place cedar or cedar oils on a cloth inside your closet. This is why many men’s clothing stores use cedar hangers for suits.

 

Homemade moth-repelling sachets can also be made using any of the following: bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cloves, eucalyptus leaves, lavender, pepper corns or wormwood.

 

Dried lemon peels are also a natural moth deterrent – simply toss into clothes chest, or tie in cheesecloth and hang in the closet.

 

And there is my list of helpful ways to get rid of common pests. If I learn any more I’ll post about them here.

 

The Catch All

I tried to originally condense all of this into one post, but Teaching Witchcraft has so many good points about love and its importance in the Craft that one lesson became three posts.

While all of this is in the lesson about love….some of it just felt like it didn’t fit. So I tossed it all here.  I thought about excluding it entirely, but that didn’t feel right either. So we’re going to go over a number of topics that we put together in Teaching Witchcraft and that I honestly just don’t have a better post to fit them into.  So here we go down the rabbit hole.

Issue 1: How do I tell someone in my family that I’m studying the Craft?

If you’re still following me at this point you’re most likely fairly sure that this could be the perfect path for you. There’s still time to get out, but you know you’re interested in something said here.  If you’ve told anyone, they’ve probably asked a lot of questions, some of which are a little scary or frustrating.  Still it’s better to give the news gently than to outright lie.

For example, you can tell someone that you are a part of a nature oriented study group or that you’re learning about alternative religions.  I still say that when I’m in a situation where I can’t be sure if the people around me are open to what I am.  People who are not open to our faith can be open to that and from there a dialogue can be achieved.  The reason I say that we don’t want to lie is that people have lied and hidden this path for years and that’s why there are so many misconceptions…a lack of education and a history of deceit. Even if that deceit was a way to protect ourselves from persecution.  We only perpetuate the mistrust when we distinctly lie about what we are doing.

Issue 2: Will Jesus still love me if I’m a witch?

You hear this a lot from people coming to the Craft from a Christian path.  The answer in the book is that it is ultimately up to you.  It’s a personal question that I struggle with. There is so much of the Christian faith that I do still hold dear. Maybe not in the same way that I once did, but those lessons are still a part of me. For me the answer is one that I still haven’t fully answered. For you it may be a distinct yes or no.  But what keeps me here is that feeling that a truly loving God, a penultimate being of compassion and love, could not hate someone for following a path that is based on love and good moral values.

I have to believe that there is a place for both Jesus and the Craft in my life. And I can honestly say that no pagan I’ve ever met has ever demanded that I completely abandon that part of me to follow the Craft.  There are tons of people in the Craft who practice another religion in conjunction with the Craft. I don’t continue to practice Christianity myself, but I do still ascribe to the teachings of Jesus…which were all about love and compassion.

As Miles Betty says, what we have to remember is that the bible was penned by man and man is fallible.  If God (and his counterpart the Goddess) are really as loving and compassionate as I believe them to be, then there it is entirely possible for the answer to this question to be yes.

Issue 3: Can I marry someone who’s not a witch?

I’ve seen it work too many times to say no.  My own mentor had parents on differing paths. Her father was a Christian minister of a particular denomination while her mother was a devout pagan. They made it work through being open minded and through communication.  It just comes down to respect.

Pets and Familiars

I put this here because pets and familiars are things we love….and it was a part of this lesson.

A lot of witches have pets. Some witches even keep an abundance of animals. My ex’s mom was like this. Last time I was at their house they had seven puppies, two dogs, a galapagos turtle they found on the side of the road (and no zoo would take in because it didn’t have papers), a parrot, two snakes, and a blind cat that sat in the bathroom near the space heater.  It was great. I wouldn’t want that many pets, but it was always amusing to watch the pups play king of the hill on the back of the turtle who slept under the raised wood stove.

And many people, pagan and non pagan alike, give their pets names as colorful as the pets themselves. In the past there were even people accused of witchcraft just for talking to their pet affectionately or due to their pet having a colorful name.  Which leads us to familiars.

What is a familiar and what makes it different from a pet? Some say its a guardian in a pet form.  Others say that they are empathically bound to a person.  Or that they make a witch stronger.  Some say that they offer security.  Whatever you believe, it’s appropriate to say that those who have familiars are very loyal to them.

Love the World

It’s no secret that we’ve messed up and harmed the Earth.  We scar the planet with our greed and corruption. We mar it with toxins and destruction of its beauty. We even strip it of its resources.  Witches revere the Goddess, respect nature, and love animals. That is why many pagans feel drawn towards healing the earth however they can.  And it is a form of love, not only for the Goddess and our world, but for the future generations that will inherit this world.

There are many that even consider this a part of their pagan rituals and faith.  It goes back to the all acts of love and pleasure are our worship quote from earlier.  And it can take many forms. You can donate time or money to an organization aimed at helping the Earth or you can recycle from home and pick up trash in your neighborhood.

Seeing as this kind of a catch all let me leave you with a very short story.

A traveling man passes a stranger by the side of the road. He’s planting a tree.  The traveler asks the stranger why he is planting the tree in such an odd place.

The man says “I see it as giving back to the Earth. It’s my way of saying thanks for the privilege of living on this planet.”

“Oh so the tree represents your gift” asks the traveler.

“No, think of it as paying rent.” Is the man’s reply.

Blessed Be.

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