H.I.N.T.S A "Must Read" Blog

My brain is officially full!

There are too many story ideas clogging my brain. Therefore, I need to take a blogging break in  order to spend more time writing. It has been fun, and I hope you enjoyed reading about the helpful household advice, the natural alternatives, and the simple solutions. The blog will remain posted on my website for those needing a recipe or a reminder. There should be something for everyone as I shared household cleaning tips, how to control ants (both inside and out) and how to get rid of gnats. There are all natural recipes for homemade disinfectant cleaner, four thieves oil, a cold buster cocktail, dishwasher detergent, mosquito repellent, deodorant, toothpaste, whipped skin moisturizer, dryer sheets, and lavender hand scrub. I also explained how to organize all of your new wonderful products! My current novel Circumvent is completed and ready for editing. I am working on a fun, new cozy mystery series set in the Little Italy community of San Diego. If you would like to stay informed, be sure and sign up for my… Read More »

All Natural Gift – Homemade Lavender Hand Scrub

Sharon, from the Herb Factory has agreed to share the recipe for her amazing Lavender Hand Scrub. What a treat! Thank you Sharon! Hello from the Herb Factory!  Can you believe Christmas is only 19 Sundays away? Personally, I always try planning ahead to avoid the hustle and bustle of the season. I imagine entering December in calm and peace, enjoying the joy and wonder of the True Reason for the Season… Then life gets busy, and I somehow get caught up with regrets of not planning ahead. Since I am positive we all would like to get a head start, I invite you to join me this year by hand crafting an all-natural gift. It is thoughtful, classy, and quite simply delightful! Better yet, is easy to make and the cost per gift is under five dollars. I know it is hard to imagine planning for the Holidays in August, but I promise you will not be disappointed. Below is my recipe for an all-natural Lavender hand scrub gift I absolutely love making. Make… Read More »

Pest Free Plants by Doing Nothing!

When we moved from a condominium into a row home, I was excited about having a small garden. My husband and I designed the look of our tiny yard, and then selected and planted a beautiful assortment. Within weeks, the bugs arrived. We then made the big mistake of trying to control them. When one bug was destroyed, another took its place. Gardening quickly became an unwanted chore. Shortly thereafter we visited the San Diego Zoo on one of their early morning openings. To our good fortune, we saw one of their horticulturists at work. I looked at the beautiful bug free plants and asked how the Zoo controlled the insects. They do nothing! The horticulturist explained how it is best to do nothing, and let nature take care of nature. If one type of pest is eradicated, the insects that eat the eradicated pest will move to another plant. When the food source is gone, so are the insects that consume the food source. This will leave the poor plant open for another pest… Read More »

Stop Using Toxic Dryer Sheets AND Save Money!

It is not difficult to discover the many problems associated with dryer sheets. One quick Internet search provides alarming information. In my “Ants in the Pantry” blog posting, I even explain how to use dryer sheets as an ant repellent. (A toxic red flag!) There are wonderful natural alternatives, and not all are homemade. The most economical dryer sheet is one you make yourself, but I know many who do not want to take the time. Trader Joes sells a pack of four Lavender Dryer Bags for $3.99. Since each bag is typically good for 15 to 20 loads, the price calculates to 80 loads for $3.99. This is a great alternative! If you are ready to make your own dryer sheets, there is a simple, inexpensive and effective way. First, you will need a wide mouth quart glass jar with a good sealing lid. In that jar, pour two cups of distilled white vinegar and fifty drops of lavender essential oil. Shake it well, label, and set aside. Next, I have four, white inexpensive… Read More »

Homemade All Natural Whipped Skin Moisturizer Thanks to Sharon from The Herb Factory

We are in for a treat! Sharon from The Herb Factory is sharing the recipe for her amazing Whipped Skin Moisturizer. She uses this fantastic recipe on her hands and face, for skin irritations, and even as a hair flyaway tamer. This moisturizer does it all! Here is the recipe: · 5 ounces Organic Shea Butter · 1 ounce Organic Raw Coconut Oil · 6 drops Organic Essential Oil – The Herb Factory recommends French Lavender Use an oven proof metal or glass bowl large enough to melt and whip all in the same bowl. This recipe may be doubled, or even tripled. Remember that the volume will increase when you start the whipping process. Begin by melting the Shea Butter in a 150-degree oven. Closely watch the Shea Butter until it is just melted. It typically takes from ten to twenty minutes. Remove from the oven, and add the Coconut Oil. Thoroughly mix with a spoon until the Coconut Oil is melted. Cool until the mixture has the texture of soft butter. (You may… Read More »

No Need to be Blue over Black Socks!

Tell the difference between black and blue socks – even in the dark! When attempting to get dressed in the early morning hours, sometimes it is impossible to tell the difference between black and blue socks, or black and blue tights or leggings. Taking your socks, tights or leggings into a brightly lit room often does not help. The absolute best way to tell the difference between the two colors is in the bright afternoon sunlight. Here is your tip: After washing and drying your socks, tights or leggings, do not fold or put them away until you can do so in the daylight. Natural light is the only true way to distinguish between the two colors. Once paired, roll your blue socks, tights or leggings, and fold your black ones. It is as simple as that! Roll the blue and stack the black! If necessary, you can even get ready in the dark. If you want blue, check for the roll. If you want black, check for the fold. Be sure and follow me… Read More »

All Natural Homemade Toothpaste! Special Message from The Herb Factory!

It is my absolute pleasure to be a guest blogger for H.I.N.T.S. this month! After I share a glimpse into an extraordinary journey that has become my life, I will also share one of my favorite recipes – Homemade Toothpaste. Not only is this one of my favorites, it is also one of the first recipes I made after reading about the dangers of fluoride. It all began as I was made aware of the toxic chemicals lurking in homes and personal care products. The more I researched, I became alarmed by their potential harm. I am not one to overreact, but research overwhelmingly supports the facts. Therefore, I am a believer! Our family is gradually replacing home and personal care products with quality homemade alternatives. We have chosen to make our own because it is very simple, inexpensive, and most of the ingredients are readily available. This has been a satisfying and rewarding personal experience. Notice I wrote, “Gradually.” Take your time, make small changes, and find what works. As the journey began, my… Read More »

All Natural, Homemade Deodorant – That Works!

After deciding to use all natural deodorant, I tried at least ten. None of them worked! Instead, I decided to make my own. It took several attempts to find the perfect blend: 1/8 cup Organic Baking Soda 1/4 cup Organic Corn Starch 4 tablespoons Organic Coconut Oil 4 drops Organic Tea Tree Essential Oil 4 drops Organic Lavender Essential Oil Mix all ingredients in a large, glass bowl or measuring cup. It is best to mix the baking soda, corn starch and coconut oil first, and then add the oils at the end. Be careful to mix extremely well so there are no lumps. After the ingredients are mixed, I find it best to use the back of a spoon to smooth the mixture against the side. This technique helps to reduce any lumps. When finished, I place a heaping tablespoon of the deodorant into one ounce plastic cups. These plastic cups with lids are easy to find online. You can also purchase them at several restaurant supply stores such as Smart and Final. Store… Read More »

Getting rid of Gnats! Home Gnat Trap

Here is another great solution to a pesky problem! Some might consider them “extra protein,” but I really do not like gnats going for a swim in my glass of red wine! Before inventing our own solution, we tried several found online. This one works better! In addition, you can enjoy a banana before you set up your trap. First eat a banana and save the peel. Place the banana peel in a gallon sized zip close storage bag and roll the top so the bag stays open. Place the bag on your kitchen counter in an area that attracts the gnats. When the gnats congregate on the banana, quickly press the bag together in order to seal the opening. Some may wish to take the closed bag outside to free the little pests, while others may decide to squish or squash them. The choice is yours, and I promise not to judge! Be sure and follow me on Pinterest. I have created a board for most of the products mentioned in this blog. There… Read More »

The Natural Way to Stop Mosquitos from BUGGING You!

It’s mosquito season and grilling season all in one. But who wants to grill while being attacked? After numerous attempts, I finally perfected a natural insect repellent that WORKS! It was first tested in a mosquito infested yard on a very sweet (and brave) young lady! Since the first testing, this repellent has been used time and again with the same great success. Try it! 1/8th cup Witch Hazel 1 cup Distilled Water 1 teaspoon Organic Lemon Essential Oil 1 teaspoon Organic Citronella Essential Oil 1 teaspoon Organic Rosemary Essential Oil We even bring this repellent when traveling. In order to stay within the 3 ounce TSA guidelines, I mix the witch hazel and all three essential oils in a small container. In addition, I pack a larger empty spray bottle. When we arrive at our destination, I pour the witch hazel and essential oil mixture into the spray bottle, and add a cup of tap water if distilled is not readily available. Be sure and follow me on Pinterest.  I have created a board… Read More »

Homemade Natural Cleaning – How to Organize your Products!

The best way to organize your cleaning products is to keep them in each room. Under the kitchen sink we keep: G.L.R. – Grapefruit, Lemon and Rosemary Essential Oil Disinfecting Spray as posted on September 12, 2014 Four Thieves Oil Disinfecting Spray as posted on January 13, 2015 Glass Cleaner as posted on October 15, 2014 Homemade Dishwashing Machine Detergent as posted on April 8, 2015 Under each bathroom sink we keep: G.L.R. – Grapefruit, Lemon and Rosemary Essential Oil Disinfecting Spray Four Thieves Oil Disinfecting Spray Glass Cleaner Mason Jar filled with Baking Soda as posted on November 17, 2014 Glass Spray Bottled filled with Distilled White Vinegar as posted on November 17, 2014 Another great recipe will be featured in the next posting. Be sure and follow me on Pinterest. I have created a board for most of the products mentioned in this blog. There are also boards for organizing, cleaning, home repair, gardening and more. Also, follow me on Twitter for updates and #fornoapparentreasonbook fun facts. Remember, it is all about the… Read More »

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Recipe – Rinse Aid Too!

Now you can save money by making your own dishwasher detergent. This recipe works great for our family: 1/2 cup citric acid – We purchase in the bulk spice section of our local Sprouts grocery store. 3 cups 20 Mule Team Borax 20 Drops Organic Grapefruit Essential Oil Mix all ingredients well, and store in a quart sized glass Mason jar. Just one tablespoon of detergent works best for us. Remember to shake well before each use. (The product will most likely remain moist due to the essential oil.) Save even more if your dishwasher has a refillable dispenser for a rinse aid. We fill the compartment with distilled white vinegar, and our glasses are spot free! Check out the savings! A one gallon bottle of distilled white vinegar sells for approximately $3.50, while a 16 ounce bottle of a popular rinse aid sells for $6.50. That is almost twice the price for a fraction as much! Plus, you can save even more if you purchase the distilled white vinegar from one of the big… Read More »

Cold Buster Cocktail – Another Cold and Flu Season Must!

Here’s hoping that the Four Thieves Oil recipes are working for you. Since so many are battling colds, I asked a very special lady to share her Cold Buster Cocktail recipe: · 1 Cup Warm Water · 1 Tablespoon Honey – Preferably Local and Raw · 1 Tablespoon Raw Apple Cider Vinegar · 1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice · Pinch of Cayenne Pepper · Pinch of Turmeric Mix together and enjoy at the first sign of respiratory discomfort. This wonderful recipe is compliments of Sharon from The Herb Factory in North Carolina. Readers of For No Apparent Reason know that North Carolina is the main setting for the story. Is it a coincidence that The Herb Factory is also located in North Carolina? If you just happen to be at the Pitt County Farmer’s Market, and have the pleasure of meeting Sharon, owner of The Herb Factory, you can ask her! Be sure and follow me on Pinterest. I have created a board for most of the products mentioned in this blog. There are also… Read More »

Four Thieves Oil – A Cold and Flu Season Must!

There are many online recipes for Four Thieves Oil, including an abundance of information about the uses and benefits.  Since it can be a bit overwhelming, I decided to provide this short blog posting as a starter. Make your base oil first.  Since Four Thieves Oil is a combination of other essential oils, it is best to first combine your selection of oils in one dark glass bottle.  These are the oils I combine: 80 Drops Organic Clove Bud Essential Oil 70 Drops Organic Lemon Essential Oil 40 Drops Organic Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil 30 Drops Organic Eucalyptus Essential Oil 20 Drops Organic Rosemary Essential Oil 20 Drops Organic Lavender Essential Oil The Four Thieves spray is one of our favorite products: 4 Drops Four Thieves Oil 4 Ounces Distilled Water We use this spray when extra disinfecting is needed, and as a general room freshening spray.  We also use it as a decongestant by spraying lightly onto a facial tissue before inhaling.  Always remember to shake well before and during each use. Another favorite… Read More »

Baking Soda and Vinegar – A Powerful Combination!

In the previous posting I provided information on how to thoroughly clean your bathtub and shower using natural ingredients.  This posting will provide information on how to use all natural ingredients to thoroughly clean your toilets, sinks, counters, mirrors and floors. The inside of your toilet bowl can be cleaned with a combination of baking soda and distilled white vinegar.  We keep a Mason jar of baking soda in each bathroom, and a glass spray bottle of distilled white vinegar.  First, sprinkle the inside of the bowl right above the water line with approximately an eighth cup of baking soda, and then spray the baking soda with a mist of distilled white vinegar.  Allow the mixture to foam for a few minutes before using the same mixture to clean the inside of the bowl.  Remember to always use a separate sponge, cloth or bowl brush.  We clean the toilet seat, lid and all outside areas of the toilet with the G.L.R. natural disinfectant recipe listed in a previous posting. Clean the sink by plugging the… Read More »

Great Homemade Natural Cleaning Recipes!

There is no need to break out the gas mask just to clean the bathroom!  It is even possible to remove water caused deposits, rust stains and mineral buildup without toxic chemicals.  On this posting I will provide information on how to thoroughly clean your bathtub and shower using natural ingredients. Plug the drain and make a small batch of hot soapy water directly in the bottom.  Currently we use Ecover dishwashing liquid purchased at a savings from Vitacost.com.  If extra cleaning action is needed, a paste mixture of 1/4 cup Twenty Mule Team Borax and 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar works wonderfully.  This mixture will even remove mold and help to whiten grout.  We have glass shower doors, so the combination of a squeegee and a Mystic Maid cleaning cloth works well.  Stubborn water spots can be removed with an equal part mixture of distilled white vinegar and water.  After the water spots are removed, clean and polish the glass with this homemade Glass Cleaner recipe: 2 drops lemon essential oil 1/4 teaspoon Dr.… Read More »

Homemade Natural Disinfectant Cleaner – and more!

When I first decided to finally switch from using toxic chemicals to clean our home, I made mistake after mistake.  The spray bottles did not work, the products did not work, and I purchased unnecessary ingredients.  Hopefully, my previous mistakes will save you time, money and frustration. I prefer using the clear glass, four ounce spray bottles available from specialtybottle.com and essential oils from mountainroseherbs.com.  Although there are many online recipes for natural disinfectant cleaners, here is the recipe for the one that works the best for us:

Divide and Conquer – House Cleaning Made Easy Continues. . .

As stated in the previous cleaning posting, there are three types of cleaning with the Divide and Conquer system.  Two of the methods, Quick Clean and Good Clean were reviewed.  In this entry, I will explain how to Great Clean, and elaborate on Good Cleaning compared to Great Cleaning. Each room is Great Cleaned only once per year.  Great Cleaning can be compared to Spring Cleaning over a longer period of time.  It does not matter when you Great Clean a room, although it is best to coordinate with one of your Good Cleaning sections.  Each month, select a room to receive extra special attention, and take the entire month to finish the Great Cleaning.  If you do not have twelve rooms in your home, select a room every other month.  To avoid any confusion, each type of room will be listed with an explanation of the cleaning method.  Hope it helps! How to Good Clean a Bedroom: Vacuum the carpets, or sweep and mop the floors, making certain to clean under the bed.  Dust… Read More »

Ants In The Pantry – Ant Control Tips

For those who are being invaded by ants, I decided to take a detour from the Divide and Conquer cleaning system in hopes of providing much needed relief.  Unfortunately for our household, we are getting a lot of practice learning to control these very formidable insects! First, make certain that the outside perimeter of your home is protected from invasion.  Although, we do not like to use pesticides, we spray the outside walls with Ortho Home Defense.  However, there is no guarantee.  An expert recently informed me that ants can tunnel under the foundation, enter through hairline cracks, and make their way into flooring and walls.  If you live in an apartment or condominium, it is even more difficult to control the perimeter of the entire complex. Baiting is the best method of controlling ants that have made their way into your home.  Spraying ants with pesticide only creates more problems.  The most important reason to avoid spraying is for the health and safety of your family.  The second is that it only masks the… Read More »

Divide and Conquer – House Cleaning Made Easy

For years I have used what is referred to as the Divide and Conquer system for cleaning our home.  Since many of my friends also agree that it works, I decided it must be a system worth sharing: Mentally divide your home into four sections.  The sections for a larger home might include: Section one:    Master bedroom and bathroom. Section two:    Two bedrooms and second bathroom. Section three:  Living room and family room. Section four:   Kitchen and dining room. The sections for a smaller home might include: Section one:    Bedroom. Section two:    Bathroom. Section three:  Living room. Section four:   Kitchen and dining area. The same Divide and Conquer system works for both large and small residences.  Although there are fewer number of rooms per section in a smaller home, the rooms are often more difficult to clean due to the lack of storage space. The three types of cleaning with the Divide and Conquer system are Quick Clean, Good Clean and Great Clean.  In this posting, only Quick Clean and Good Clean will be explained. … Read More »

Downton Abbey Fans – A posting for you!

Reading and writing have always been my passion. I may be a great organizer, but only as a way to provide the extra time to enjoy life. Perhaps my housekeeping and organizational skills come from my mother. Downton Abbey fans know how effective the British are at maintaining a spotless household! Even with four children, Mum could clean with the best of them. (Coincidentally, we lived around the corner from Buckingham Palace.) Cleaning was fun for us children also, as many of our chores were turned into games. When I share these stories with my friends, so many ask why I haven’t written a book. I did! However, it is a Mystery Romance rather than a book on organizing. Instead, I will venture to share many of my ideas with you in this blog format. Keeping with my idea that good organizing skills can provide extra time, I shall add to this writing as I tackle many other responsibilities. There are projects that I work on a bit each day, while others are attended to… Read More »

Book Signing Was A Great Success!

Thank you to all who attended the book signing at the Aaron Chang Ocean Art Gallery. It was such a blessing to greet nearly 100 guests! As those who stopped by will confirm, Aaron Chang’s photographs are breathtaking. A special thank you to Mr. Aaron Chang and his wonderful gallery staff. It was truly an event to remember.

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