Ant Invasion

My Tween was supposed to be taking the recycling out to the barrel when he threw it down and ran inside.

"MOM! You gotta see this! Come out here!"

Of course, being used to his theatrics, I said, "Whatdayawant?"

"Please Mom!"

I throw on some clothes, hair still wet from shower, and trudge down to see a black mound in front of our newly installed garage door. A moving mass of black. Ants. Ugh. They were all alives, and there's no trace of whatever they were subsisting on.

Quickly I move my butt in gear, up the stairs to google "how to naturally kill ants". First, pipe tobacco. Nope, don't want to go to the store. Second, soapy water kills on contact.

I tromp back downstairs and grab a sprayer, put about 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid in there, fill with water, and screw the top back on as I walk back outside. The squirter doesn't work. Back inside, hunt for another sprayer, find one, fill it up with another tablespoon of dishwashing liquid and more water, and test it in the kitchen sink. It works.

And, it worked. Kills those suckers on contact. We used the entire bottle because there were so many. Luckily they hadn't wandered into the garage. Still have no clue what drew the 4,000,000 black ants to that one spot!

Sorry, PETA. It's the ants, or me.

Note: My source was: .. funny AND serious alternatives!

Can We Make Oil At Home?

I've been wondering how to make our own oil. I mean, I really hate buying bottles of vegetable oil, olive oil, walnut oil, etc. To I'm doing a little research on this subject, and am asking for your help.

I want to know how to make the following oils, and this is the info I have so far.

Any other oils we can make from things we can grow? Your input will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Homemade Lip Balm

My quest to make everyday items continues. I practically live in lip balm, especially in the Winter. Here's a couple of recipes I found on the web. I like the first, but it uses so many purchased ingredients. My favorite is the second.
I found this website by searching for homemade lip balms and love her directions. She does use a lot of ingredients that aren't readily available if you're working to be 100% self-sufficient - you'd have to order or purchase them from a store. There's no way I could explain her procedure better than she did, so check it out yourself:

I found this recipe and started tinkering with it. The essential oils recommended were peppermint or citrus - yuck. I like things I made for me to be rose-scented, so I substituted rose essential oil. Worked well for me. For my Tween, who hates peppermint, and Hubby who hates all lip balm, I poked a hole in 2 capsules of borage oil to add as part of the 5 teaspoons of carrier oil.
  • 3 teaspoons grated unbleached beeswax

  • 5 teaspoons carrier oil (i.e. sunflower, jojoba, calendula, even olive)

  • 5-7 drops of essential oil (lime, lemon, grapefruit, peppermint, etc.)

  • 1/2 teaspoon honey (for flavor, but I don't use this unless we have really badly chapped lips)
Gather your supplies. You need somewhat deep skillet, and a small pyrex measuring cup (to use as a double-boiler). You'll also need measuring spoons, a small grater, and pots/tubes to fill. If you go the tube route, you'll need small heat-tolerant "eye-droppers".

Place the beeswax and carrier oil in the pyrex measuring cup, and place cup in skillet. Add boiling water to the skillet (DON'T get any in the pyrex cup!). Heat on stove until wax is melted and stir constantly to combine with the oil. Remove from heat. Add the honey (if desired) and the essential oil. (This is when I add the borage oil too.) Mix thoroughly until all incorporated.

When making my own, here's when I shave just a tiny sliver of cheapo lipstick and melt it in. This gives me a very light pink gloss... just a touch of color.

Pour mixture into containers (pots/tubs or if using tubes, use the heat-tolerant eye-dropper because it's very difficult to just pour it in!). Don't touch for at least 20 minutes. When completely cooled and solid, cover tightly. Use regularly. Doesn't keep a very long time.

For shinier lip balm, use reduce the wax to 2 teaspoons and increase the carrier oil to 8 teaspoons.

This recipe makes 1/2 an ounce so buy the appropriate-sized containers. I prefer to use cosmetic/plastic tubs (shown in the pic) instead of the tubes because it's just makes it easier to use... and softens my finger tip!

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I would love to make chocolate lip balm for me. As for my kid... this Tween loves all things vanilla and cinnamon. Anyone?