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Monday, June 21, 2010

Giant Flying Cockroaches!

If you live in the South, you know what I'm talking about when I say, "Giant Flying Cockroaches...Oh my!" If you live up north or out west, just be grateful for yourt ignorance.:P Unfortunately, I not only live in Georgia, I have a flying cockroach phobia! Much of my time in the Summer is spent trying to make sure I never have to see those creepy, gigantic nemises of mine. Here are the ways I try to combat them without poisoning myself, my kids, or my dog. As an added bonus, these methods are also frugal!

Being clean won't keep ALL of the roaches out, but it will certainly make it harder for them to hide and survive if they do choose to move in. Never ever leave food out, or dishes in the sink overnight. Don't leave food in the garbage disposal, or beverages (ESPECIALLY BEER) around. For some reason, beer attracts pretty much every bug and slug on the planet. Soda will also attract them, so beware. Sweep up all crumbs every night and wipe the counters. I never let my kids eat anywhere but the kitchen or the dining room. I figure containing the mess makes it a lot less likely that I'll overlook a pile of tasty crumbs and then walk in on a palmetto bug dinner party some night.
Don't let clutter accumulate around the house. Piles of papers, toys, and dirty laundry make excellent places for bugs to hide. Nothing is worse than picking up a pile of dirty clothes and then seeing a bug so huge you think it might actually be TWO buge that have somehow morphed together skittering away.
Keep your bathrooms clean and clutter free. Bugs really like to hang out in the bathroom, so the cleaner it is, the less likely it is that you won't see them and kill them. If they escape, they will go forth and multiply, and by multiply, I mean laying 26 eggs every eight days.

Boric acid is great, because you can use it to make laundry detergent, clean your house, and kill roaches! You can find it in the laundry section under the brand name, "Borax." To use it to kill roaches, just spread a thin layer along base boards, under appliances, in cabinets, and anywhere else you think a roach might like to hang out. Boric acid is not toxic to humans or pets, but it is very toxic to bugs. From what I've read, they walk on it, it gets on their hairy little legs, they groom themselves, eat the boric acid, and then die from an exploded stomach.

When I see a baby roach, I just spray it with soapy water to kill it. Soapy water won't kill the adult ones, though. For the adult ones, I spray them with a LOT of soapy water to soak their wings so they can't fly. I've also read that hairspray works. Then I chase them down and smash them several times with something heavy. I say several times, because they can take quite a pounding and not even seem injured. Then I pick up the roach with a big wad of toilet paper and flush it down the toilet. I don't use commercial bug sprays, because they are horribly poisonous to humans and pets as well as bugs. When you spray something like Raid, you breathe it in too.

Well that is my non-toxic and frugal method for preventing and killing bugs!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Taking a Greyhound Bus to Florida!

The kids and I are going to Florida in 5 days to visit my parents. Unfortunately, my car overheats if I run the AC, so we're taking a greyhound! It's going to be an extremely lengthy trip from 3:30pm-8:30am. I'm trying to come up with a plan to keep the kids happy so that I don't descend into total madness on the way. Here are my ideas so far.

One thing I've learned as a parent, is to ALWAYS pack a lot of food. I plan to pack sandwiches, trail mix, cookies, granola bars, juice boxes, water, apples, and yogurt covered raisins for a treat. Luckily, my kids are pretty easy to entertain. Even my four year old will sit quietly and read, or listen to music if she has a snack. All three of my kids especially like little sandwich bags full of trail mix.

I already bought 3 activity books and some glow in the dark bracelets from the dollar store. I also plan to bring a deck of cards, a few books, and the mp3 player and walkman. The mp3 player is mainly for me. (My sister got it for me as a birthday gift and I have to say that it is AWESOME! I just clip it onto my dress and listen to music while I clean the bathroom, make dinner, do the dishes, fold laundry...etc. It makes my chores so much more enjoyable.) I have a walkman that I'm going to bring for the kids.

My kids aren't too prone to whining and screaming, but then, they've never ridden on a bus for 18 hours! I plan to bring candy and a surprise activity for if they start freaking out. I wouldn't normally reward my kids for whining and throwing tantrums, but I figure the greyhound is an extenuating circumstance!

I think this trip will be pretty fun, at least in the beginning.:P I always have to be careful on long trips, because I get sick a lot. I have to eat really light, or I'll spend the entire trip with nausea and cramps. I'm hoping we can sleep since we'll be on the bus all night! Has anyone else taken a long bus trip with (or without) kids?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Food budget increase!

I have decided to increase my weekly food budget money from $40 to $50 per week. $40 just isn't enough money for me to buy all of the fresh, wholesome foods I want my kids and I to eat. I have also decided to start preparing a lot more meatless meals. My kids don't really even like meat all that much. Here is a dish I recently adapted to be frugal and meat free!

1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
3 carrots, shredded
1 can enchilada sauce
1 can tomato sauce
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 can corn, drained, or 1C fresh or frozen corn
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2C cottage cheese
2 eggs
12 corn tortillas
8 oz cheddar or colby cheese, shredded

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large sauce pan. Add the onion, carrots and bell peppers. Cook, stirring frequently until softened. Add the enchilada sauce, tomato sauce, spices, corn, and black beans. Simmer for 10 minutes to blend the flavors.
In a medium bowl, combine the cottage cheese and eggs. Beat until combined.
Spray a 13X9 inch pan with cooking spray. Lay 6 tortillas on the bottom (they will overlap). Spoon 1/2 of the sauce mixture over the tortillas. Spoon the cottage cheese over the sauce. Place the remaining tortillas over the cottage cheese and cover with the remaining sauce. Bake @ 350 degrees for 20 minutes
Take lasagna out of the oven and sprinkle cheese over the top. Bake for a further 10 minutes. Enjoy! This recipe makes a lot. My kids and I ate this for dinner two nights in a row. We ate it with sour cream and corn chips.