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How to Make Your Own Envelopes
How to Make Your Own Envelopes
By Erin Huffstetler | 09/13/2017 | 4 Comments
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Making your own envelopes is really easy, and lots of fun. And when you make them yourself, you get to pick the paper and make them whatever size you want.

All of the envelopes that you see here were made from the pages of a little, free magazine that my insurance company puts out each quarter. Aren’t they pretty? Let me show you how they’re made.

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Mug Cake Recipe
Mug Cake Recipe
By Erin Huffstetler | 08/07/2017 | 3 Comments
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Here’s how to use my homemade cake mixes to make a single-serve mug cake in under two minutes.

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How to Make Fruit Leather in a Dehydrator
By Erin Huffstetler | 08/04/2017 | 12 Comments
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My kids are back in school, which means I’m back to packing lunches. To prevent lunch box boredom (for me and them), I like to tuck fun things in their boxes from time to time. This week it was homemade fruit leather. If you’ve never made any before, it couldn’t be easier. Here’s a video of the process.

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Make Your Own Ant Bait Traps
Make Your Own Ant Bait Traps
By Erin Huffstetler | 07/25/2017 | 12 Comments
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Dealing with ants now that the weather has warmed up? Yep, so are we. For the past couple summers we’ve had a persistent ant problem centered around our kitchen sink, and our tried-and-true solutions haven’t been working. We’ve made ant poison by mixing borax and powdered sugar together in equal parts. We’ve kept the sink cleaned out and dry. We’ve wiped down the sink and surrounding countertops with vinegar to remove their scent trails. None of it’s working. So, it’s clearly time to up our game.

And up it, we have. We just made a bunch of homemade ant bait traps. One went in the sink, where we’re seeing the ants, and the rest went around the foundation of our house. Makes sense, right? I mean why wait for the ants to come into your house? Kill’em before they have a chance to get there.

Here’s a look at how we made our ant bait traps.

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How to Make Laundry Detergent Tabs
Homemade Laundry Detergent Tabs
By Erin Huffstetler | 07/13/2017 | 31 Comments
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Laundry detergent pods and tabs seem to be catching on quickly, and I can see why: they’re awfully convenient. Unfortunately, they also happen to be awfully expensive. And the thing is, they don’t have to be. There’s really nothing special about them. They’re just pre-measured laundry detergent.

I can make them, and so can you.

I spent some time playing around in my kitchen, and I came up with a recipe for laundry detergent tabs that I really like. It cleans well; it smells nice; it’s affordable; and it’s easy to make. I took all the ingredients that are commonly found in old-school laundry detergent recipes; and I modernized them by using them to make tabs.

Want to try them out for yourself? This video shows you how to make them …

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Printable Orange Extract Labels
How to Make Orange Extract
By Erin Huffstetler | 06/28/2017 | 3 Comments
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The next time you eat an orange, save the peel; and use it to make orange extract. Here’s how.

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How to Make Lemon Extract
How to Make Lemon Extract
By Erin Huffstetler | 06/27/2017 | 12 Comments
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Lemon extract is a delicious addition to pound cakes and many other baked goods, but it can be a bit on the pricey side. Learn how to make your own, and you’ll never have to settle for the imitation stuff. Here’s what you do.

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How to Make Peppermint Extract
How to Make Peppermint Extract
By Erin Huffstetler | 06/21/2017 | 18 Comments
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Have peppermint growing in your garden? Go pick some, and use it to make your own peppermint extract. It makes a great gift during the holidays. Here’s what you do:

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Free Haircuts
How to Get a Free Haircut
By Erin Huffstetler | 06/13/2017 | 5 Comments
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A few weeks ago, I snagged free haircuts for my whole family at Supercuts, and it’s something anyone could do.

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How to Make Dishwasher Detergent Tabs
How to Make Dishwasher Detergent Tabs
By Erin Huffstetler | 06/07/2017 | 97 Comments
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Buying dishwasher detergent makes me grouchy. A bottle of the natural stuff runs $6, and if you buy the tabs or pods, that $6 only gets you enough for 20 loads – that’s not even a month’s supply for my family!

I’ve tried several homemade recipes over the years (just stuff that I found on the web), but I’ve never been impressed with the results. I always ended up with a white residue on my glasses, and the detergent would harden into a brick after I made it (even if I stored it in an air-tight container). And the fact that the recipes always contained Borax was an issue for me, too. I use Borax for lots of things, but I’m just not keen on using it on our dishes. It is, after all, toxic when ingested.

Clearly, it was time to come up with my own solution.

So, I did a bunch of research on the active ingredients in dishwasher detergent, how they work together, how to address hard water; etc.; and then I experimented until I came up with a recipe that really works. It’s all natural, just like the stuff I was buying (honestly, probably more natural than what I was buying), and it’s in tab form, so it’s really easy to use.

Because I want this recipe to work as well for you as it has for me, I’ve even experimented with the size of the tabs. These should fit the detergent compartment on your dishwasher perfectly. I’ve tested other people’s tab recipes, and that was a problem that I ran into again and again.

Ready to give my dishwasher detergent tabs a try? Here’s a video detailing the steps.

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Basket of Homegrown Grapes
How to Keep Birds from Eating Your Grapes
By Erin Huffstetler | 05/31/2017 | 31 Comments
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Grapes are easy to grow, but hard to protect from birds. The first year our grape vines produced, I decided to hold off on netting our grapes, until I saw the first sign of birds munching on them. Well, the very next morning all of our grapes were gone. Clearly the wait and see approach was the wrong approach to take.

Having learned from the experience, we netted our grapes as soon as they set fruit last year. And that worked brilliantly, until a mocking bird figured out how to get inside of our nets. She had quite the feast at our expense, and we were left with just a few grapes (not grape bunches) to sample.

But that’s all in the past. This year, we will be the ones to eat our grapes. And we’ve taken drastic measures to ensure that it ends up that way …

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Homemade Codling Moth Trap with Bugs
Cheap Organic Pest Control for Fruit Trees
By Erin Huffstetler | 04/26/2017 | 7 Comments
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We planted a small orchard in our backyard several years ago (tour my garden here), and it’s finally starting to spring into action. Last year our apricot bushes fruited for the first time, and our apple trees produced their second harvest. This year, it looks like our cherry bushes are going to get in on the action, too They’re flowering now.

It’s pretty exciting to see all of our hard work coming together, but with each stage comes new obstacles. The first year our apricot bushes flowered, there weren’t any bees out to pollinate them, so we built mason bee houses to attract early pollinators to our yard. That worked like a charm, and we had lots of apricots last year. I’m sure the pests that ate them really appreciated our efforts.

Just like the codling moths appreciated our first crop of apples and the birds appreciated our first two crops of grapes. It’s enough to make you want to give up, but we’ve stuck with it, and we’ve found ways to address every one of our pests. Now we bag our grapes to keep the birds off, and we stick codling moth traps out as soon as we spot the first leaves on our apple trees.

This year I’m hoping to build on that success by finding a pest control solution for our apricot bushes and a cheaper pest control solution for our apple trees. Here’s the scoop on what I’m trying.

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Build a Carpenter Bee Trap
How to Build a Carpenter Bee Trap
By Erin Huffstetler | 04/19/2017 | 269 Comments
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I’ve done a lot to attract bees to my garden – planting flowers that they like, building them houses, etc. But carpenter bees? I’m not a fan. They do too much damage to our house, tree house and swing set each year for me to be on good terms with them. I’ve read article after article that says they only go after non-treated, rotting wood, but that hasn’t been my experience at all.

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How to Make a Gel Air Freshener
How to Make a Gel Air Freshener
By Erin Huffstetler | 11/07/2016 | 5 Comments
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Store-bought air fresheners may smell nice, but they’re scented with synthetic fragrances that aren’t good for you. Replace them with these homemade gel air fresheners. They’re scented with essential oils, so they’ll make your home smell nice, without releasing pollutants into the air.

These air fresheners are so easy to make, you may even want to whip up a bunch to give as gifts.

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Tennessee Souvenir Plate
2016 World’s Longest Yard Sale Finds
By Erin Huffstetler | 08/08/2016 | 3 Comments
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We spent Saturday and Sunday at the World’s Longest Yard Sale, and came away with some great stuff. This Tennessee souvenir plate (purchased for $2) is just one of the many cool things that we loaded into the car. Come check out the rest of our haul.

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