Category Archives: home and garden

Antique Rose – Tea Class

Over the past decade, I have seen an explosion of roses in suburban and commercial landscapes here in Central Texas. Yet, it is really just an explosion of one kind in particular – Knock Out®. I personally think that its popularity is a result of great marketing and not anything special about the rose. But […]

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Drought Tolerant Plantings

As I mentioned before, Fall is the best time for gardening and to get your garden ready for the Spring. That is, if you live in Central Texas. And with the recent extreme drought and hot weather, I was finally able to witness once and for all which of our plants were truly drought-tolerant. Here […]

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Dealing with Bees, Wasps, and Other Flying Biting Insects

Bees and wasps are beneficial insects that should be welcoming guests of every healthy garden. Having stingers make them not-so welcome to humans. Our family’s foremost solution to coexist tolerably with these helpful insects is PREVENTION – prevent them from building nests/hives in and around your home. It’s just now warming up in Austin and […]

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Free Mulch in Austin!

Start thinking and planning for your Spring garden now! The free mulch from the Christmas tree recycling program is still available at Zilker park on the south side of Barton Springs Rd. It’s free for the taking which I confirmed with the Parks & Rec guys even though it wasn’t well publicized this year. As […]

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Cheap Dehydrator

Keep it simple. Contraptions abound but all you really need to dry foods are heat and good air flow. Here is one of many setups using fabric and a vented hard surface. I’m using the tray from an old dehydrator that quit working but any vented hard surface such as pot strainers would work. For […]

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Not So Messy Ice Cream Push-up Pops

Just about every frozen treats on sticks, homemade or bought, drip everywhere. Unlike us grown-ups who race to finish our treats before even wasting a drop, our kids dawdle, savor every lick leaving a big sticky mess all-over. Keeping them from enjoying these delightful popsicles is simply not an option! Finally, I found a work-around […]

Also posted in family cooking, kid-friendly items, Parenting Tips | 1 Response

Natural Insect Repellent and Itchy Bite Relievers That Really Works

I love to be outside. During the long, hot, late Spring/Summer/early Fall months of Texas, the best time to be out is in the early dewy morning and early evening, the same time the mosquitoes are most active. I’ve never fully enjoyed the outdoors during those times as I have been cast as the human […]

Also posted in health, skin care | 5 Responses

The Minimalist’s Housecleaning Recipes

For me, mix-at-home cleaners are all about using the least number of products and ingredients, whether it’s synthetic, natural, or somewhere in between. I do not use natural soap, lemon juice, cream of tartar, club soda, or many food stuffs that you might come across in ‘natural’ or ‘green’ cleaning recipes. Oftentimes, you can usually […]

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How Your Water Affects Your Homemade Cleaning Recipes – What Works, What Doesn’t, And Where to Find Useful Information

As you’re thinking about mixing your own cleaners, I bet you’re finding that the internet is overloaded with homemade recipes. Trying to make sense of all the recipe variations is just as, if not more confusing than reading and deciphering commercial product labels. The confusion is enough to shy anyone away from making their own […]

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Soil and Stain Removal Basics

Many people don’t realize that detergents (surfactants), either full strength or diluted as in the homemade all-purpose cleaner, are all that’s needed to remove many common household stains like food, dirt, and grass. Whether you are dealing with clothing, carpet, upholstery, or any surface throughout your house for that matter, it is better to start […]

Also posted in house cleaning | 3 Responses