DIY Adventures

DIY Grass & Weed Killer

I do not hide the fact that I despise Monsanto and pesticides/herbicides in general. I quit using Roundup before trying to get pregnant after reading countless articles and studies raising red flags about it’s effect on humans, hormones, and reproduction. There have been studies and reports out for years and years about possible negative effects (that’s me putting it nicely) and yet it is still in use. In 2005 (yes, 10 years ago), Environmental Health Perspectives published a study, concluding that Roundup may “be considered as a potential endocrine disruptor. Moreover, at higher doses still below the classical agricultural dilutions, its toxicity on placental cells could induce some reproduction problems”. No thank you.

path 1path 2Moving on, how do I kill weeds and unwanted grass without these toxic delights? With my hands–sure, to some extent. But I need something more than that sometimes. Natural options I found included using tarps to basically smother areas of unwanted vegetation (too hard), burning with a torch stick (to dangerous), or getting a goat (LOL).

I settled on a DIY grass & weed killer–a simple mixture of vinegar, salt, and dish soap. I really didn’t know if it would work or not, but it was cheap and easy to try. And it worked!!!!! So, I have been using it around a stone path I built by the garden beds. It was an impromptu pathway built with rock from the construction site next door, so I did not do it correctly–I should have put down a weed barrier first (I will eventually go back and fix this, ugh).

THE RECIPE: Weed & Grass Killergarden sprayer

1 gallon white vinegar
1 cup salt
1 Tbs dish soap

1. Pour all ingredients into a hand held garden sprayer. Shake to mix well, let it sit for a few minutes then shake again. You want the salt to dissolve beforespraying, otherwise you will clog up the nozzle. Yes, I know this from personal experience. Twice, because I’m stubborn. Heh.

2. Spray on areas you want to kill. Check back 24 hours later and you will see a lot of success. You may have to go over a few areas again if you didn’t get them covered well enough the first time.


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DIY Mineral Toothpaste

Common commercial toothpastes have a variety of ingredients that really aren’t needed and some that are even questionable to dental health–like glycerin (may inhibit saliva’s ability to do it’s job), saccharin (everybody hates this stuff), some have the environmental hazard known as triclosan (an unnecessary antimicrobial contributing to antibiotic resistance), and fluoride.

We have been brainwashed to believe fluoride is the best thing ever for our teeth. We even add it to our water supplies (but there is a push to reduce this). However, more and more evidence is developing to show that it may cause more harm than good. Dental fluorosis is a condition that develops when children get too much fluoride–it actually makes the teeth more likely to decay. Oops. A 2012 study by Harvard School of Public Health found strong indications that fluoride may adversely affect cognitive development in children. Based on the findings, the authors say that this risk should not be ignored, and that more research on fluoride’s impact on the developing brain is warranted. Double oops. There are other examples, but this post would be longer than I have time for.

So, can you adequately clean your teeth with basic ingredients? Yes. It has been shown that calcium-containing toothpastes can deposit mineral into enamel surface deformities under a wide variety of conditions and from a wide variety of formulas. Specifically sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and calcium formulas. Easy enough.

I have added xylitol, a naturally occurring sugar alcohol that has been shown to reduce cavities and aid in remineralization as well. I have made toothpaste without it, but it does knock the salty edge off of the baking soda. I really like this version. You can add more coconut oil if you would like it to be a softer, smoother consistency. This recipe works for me and the truth is, it’s not a specific science, so there is wiggle room here. :)

Even if you aren’t convinced that this is ok 100% of the time, you can do what I have been–use this DIY toothpaste once per day. But, I’m getting close to switching completely.

THE RECIPE: Mineral Toothpaste

Makes about 1/3 cup

2-3 Tbs baking soda 
2 Tbs coconut oil
2-3 tsp xylitol, to taste
2 tsp calcium carbonate powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
8 drops Peppermint essential oil or Spearmint (my favorite)
3-4 drops trace minerals (optional, especially with using sea salt that contains trace minerals naturally–also $$$)

1. Melt coconut oil in microwave, 10-20 seconds.

2. Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Adjust baking soda quantity to your desired thickness. Store in a lidded container. Use a pea-sized amount and brush your teeth as usual. 

Calcium carbonate powder
Peppermint essential oil
Trace minerals


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DIY Vapor Rub (Revised)

Original post 11/2014, updated 3/13/15 to include more cowbell, I mean camphor.  So, the commercial vapor rub that I love so much during cold and flu season (and allergy season) has got to go because of the “special petrolatum” listed in the ingredients. I used the last of what I could find a few nights ago, so it was time to experiment in the kitchen.

I have made two changes to my original attempt. The first major tweak was the missing ingredient: camphor. Second tweak (3/13/15) was adding more camphor. It is a great cough suppressant, an so is rosemary. I am very happy with the result and noticed a very quick reduction in the 5 year old’s coughing the first night we used it. Just rub it on your chest and neck before bed.


DIY Cleaning Products: Lavender Carpet Deodorizer

Carpet. It keeps your feet warm in the winter and makes a good place to sit and play with Legos. Problem is, it also captures every last thing that is dropped, spilled, or sprayed near it (and hides the previously mentioned Legos so they feel like shards of glass when you step on them). And unless your full time job is shampooing carpet, you need a quick little way to freshen it up. Baking soda is your answer. (more…)

DIY Pancake Mix

I love pancakes. Or, I love butter and real maple syrup and need a medium to transfer them to my mouth. Pancake mix is one of those things I refuse to buy, but until today, I had not made my own. I have no logical reason to explain the delay. (more…)

DIY Powdered Coffee Creamer: Irish Cream

I love Irish Cream. On the rocks. In coffee–but not on work days LOL. So, here is a non-alcoholic powdered coffee creamer that can fill in when I am expected to be a fully functional member of society instead of a jackass.

DIY Coffee Creamer Powder: Vanilla

I’ve been experimenting with DIY coffee creamer powder for a while now. Made some mistakes, made some that were only marginally tolerable, and made a couple that I have repeated because they turned out great. Why would I bother? It’s that crazy partially hydrogenated oil again. Making your own eliminates that silliness and won’t cost you any extra. I splurged this time and bought some whole milk powder to mix with the skim milk powder. I just like a little fat in my coffee to help keep my coat thick and shiny. :) (more…)

DIY Cleaning Products: Foaming Hand Soap

This is a DIY cleaning product recipe that can definitely save you some $$$. Foaming hand soap is the more environmentally friendly way to wash your hands since it uses less actual soap and also less running water to rinse your clean hands off. So, it’s a win:win. (more…)

DIY Lemon Oil Dusting Spray

I need to apologize to my wood furniture. This one time, I made this awesome, nourishing, lemon and oil concoction. It made the wood happy, gave it a nice shine and left it with some much needed hydration. Then I used it all. And I didn’t make more. Why not? I blame my children. They were (adorable) babies, 26 months apart. I was tired effing exhausted. Dusting was not even on my list of things to do, so why would I need lemon oil dusting spray??? Truth is, I didn’t. LOL (more…)

DIY Cloth Wipes

We changed cloth diapers for just over 4 years 11 months, or approximately 1810 days (give or take). We also used cloth wipes because, well, why not add to the fun? But, in reality, we got spoiled with the DIY cloth wipes–they were made from fleece so they were thick–which means you don’t use as many. Until you use a cloth wipe, you can’t really appreciate what a luxury it is. Yes, I said luxury–because not having to feel warm babystuffofnightmares through a paper thin wipe is pretty freaking awesome. (more…)

Reducing Cooties: Bathroom Hand Towels

Last winter, between the boys and I, it seemed like we were sick every other week. So, in the spring, I decided to change our hand washing process in the common half bath and switched to single use hand towels. And we (knock on wood) have not been infested with cooties very much at all this year–and it’s January. I’m going to call this a success. (more…)

DIY Cleaning Products: Glass Cleaner

I had not really looked at the ingredients in commercial glass cleaner until now–and it has been one of the most eye opening ones to date. I mean, we are talking about cleaning windows and mirrors—not the outside of the international space station. Sodium C14-17 Sec-Alkyl Sulfonate is a wetting agent—so is water not wet enough??? I’m so confused!!! (more…)

DIY Reed Diffuser

After removing so many artificial chemicals from Wooville, I realized that I missed air fresheners and wall plug types of products–which may have been because of the 2 little boys in the house (they don’t always smell like a spring breeze). Anyway, there are several types of electric essential oil diffusers out there, but I’m not convinced that I want to deal with another humidifier (because that’s basically what they are). So, that’s when I made Body & Linen Spray and experimented with ways to diffuse essential oils. To me, the easiest ways to freshen the air (short of doing laundry, dusting, vacuuming, insert blank stare here) are sprays and reed diffusers!!!  (more…)

DIY (ish) Melt and Pour Soap with Ingredient Comparisons

I’ve often daydreamed about making cold process soap (seriously, I have, and I know this is not “normal”). However, the process of using lye and the whole chemical reaction and potential dangers have really spooked me away from attempting it. So, I have found the next best thing–melt and pour soaps–truly one of the easiest things I’ve ever “made”. If you can boil water, you can do this. If you can’t boil water, go ahead and look away now. LOL (more…)

DIY Cleaning Products: Bathroom Cleaner

When we decided to start a family, I remember spraying down the shower with commercial cleaners, feeling light headed, thinking “what in the hell am I inhaling?”. I would turn the fan on, open a window, anything to air the place out. It was at that time that I knew holding my breath while cleaning and wearing rubber gloves was simply not the best way to avoid exposure to the laundry list of chemicals in standard household cleaners. That is when the purge began and our kitchen became a makeshift lab. (more…)