Saturday, June 28, 2008

I Am the Ant Slayer

Every year, as soon as the heat hits, in march the ants on their annual forage for water.

This year I decided to try some natural methods to kill them. There were a few reasons for this.

1. I didn't want poison in the house. (not counting corn sryup and trans fats)
2. I wanted to save money.
3. None of the three pest control companies I called would answer the phone.

My first attempt at natural pest control was scattering cornmeal on the floor. The ants are supposed to take it to the nest, eat it and then explode because they can't digest it.

It didn't work. Too bad because the idea of exploding ants filled me with glee.

My second attempt was sprinkling Borax on the edges of the kitchen counter. It seemed to work. I cleaned it up after two days. The next day, not only were those bastards back, they'd brought their cousins with them.

My third attempt came out of desperation. They had crawled into the cereal cupboard. I buy my cereal on sale, but still you almost need a second mortgage to afford the shit.

This was war!

I filled a saucer with honey and Borax and put it in the cereal cupboard. I also placed one on the counter across from the cupboard.

The ants went crazy. They were ringing the saucer and running up the sides of the cupboard as fast as their nasty little ant legs could carry them.

The next day they were still there but not quite as thick.

By the third day they were gone. I saw two, promptly killed them, then cleaned the counter with a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water. (The vinegar kills their scent trail.)

What happened was they took the Borax back to the nest, shared it with the others and they all died. The thought of their deaths fills me with way too much joy. I won't be seeking counseling.
Another natural thing I'm trying is cleaning the bathroom with Borax and lemon juice. It looks clean but I can't seem to rid myself of the conviction that my lungs must be burning for my bathroom to actually be clean.

Nobody has died from any dread diseases yet so it might be okay.

I'm also diluting my shampoo by fifty percent with water. My hair looks clean, okay well, actually I didn't style it today so it looks scary. I'm pretty sure it smells clean though.
My husband and I are going to Morro Bay in July while his folks get stuck with the kids. We are having three nights alone, ALONE. What will we do without somebody yelling that they are BORED or HUNGRY every two minutes?

Eh, we'll figure something out.

The motel even has a hot tub so I can wear my granny suit in it. Maybe that will scare the other bathers out.

If not, maybe I'll offer them a saucer of honey and Borax.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Two Ice Cream Recipes, One With Dairy, One Vegan

Homemade Ice Cream

2 cups milk
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups 1/2 & 1/2
1 TBS vanilla
4 cups whipping cream

Heat the milk until it forms bubbles on the edges. Turn off the heat. Add the sugar and salt. Let dissole. Add the 1/2 & 1/2, whipping cram & vanilla. Freeze in your ice cream container for half an hour before churning.

Now here's the vegan one with a rambling narrative of course.

My very first try at casein-free ice cream was an utter disaster. So I stuck to buying the So Delicious brand for my son. While my son enjoyed it, it wasn't cheap. Plus it didn't have the creaminess of real ice cream.

Recently I did more research. I found an excellent vegan ice cream blog at

This gave me a guideline for how to make vegan ice cream.

I then decided to convert my old dairy-filled ice cream recipe. It called for whipping cream and half and half. Since those ingredients weren't an option, I picked coconut milk for the fat content.

The ice cream doesn't taste like coconut milk. There is just enough coconut milk in it to give it a creamy texture.

I also added some soy margarine for extra fat. For those who can't have soy, I would replace the margarine with 1/4 cup safflower oil or 1/4 cup canola or an additional 1/4 cup of your milk sub.

My milk sub was vanilla almond milk which also contains soy. Any vanilla milk sub would be good. We are big fans of almond milk and it was on sale. So that's what we used.

So without further ado, here is the ice cream recipe.

Carolyn's World Famous Vegan Ice Cream

1 can coconut milk
2 cartons vanilla almond milk (You won’t use all the almond milk)
¼ cup Earth Balance margarine
1 ¾ cups sugar
½ tsp salt
1 TBS vanilla
6 TBS corn starch or 4 TBS arrowroot starch

Mix the coconut milk with enough vanilla milk to make 7 ¾ cups total. Reserve half a cup and pour the rest into a large saucepan.

Add the Earth Balance, sugar and salt to the saucepan with the milk.

Heat just until it starts to boil.

While the saucepan is heating, whisk the corn starch into the reserved half cup of milk.

As soon as the saucepan starts to boil, remove from heat. Add the corn starch/milk mixture and stir until dispersed throughout. The mixture should begin to thicken.

Add the vanilla.

Pour the ingredients into your ice cream freezer. Let cool completely before making ice cream according to your ice cream maker’s directions. It is very important to let it cool completely so you don’t end up with ice cream sludge.

Good luck keeping the rest of the family out of it.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

We have been here, there, and everywhere lately.

I'll start with Sammy. His IEP was June 3rd. It was EXCELLENT.

He will be starting mainstream kindergarten in the fall. He also was accepted into the (free) Montessori charter at his school. Happy dance, happy dance!

The school district said they will supply an aide for an hour a day and if it turns out he needs more than an hour, he will get more.

From what I've read, this is unusual for a school district to be so forthcoming with the help. More happy dance.
In an attempt to save money and the environment, I made homemade laundry detergent.

It uses Fels Naptha, washing soda and borax. I also added some essential oils to it. The oil blend was called stress relief.

Although we are only on day two of summer vacay, I feel the need to go bury my head in the laundry detergent bucket and breathe.

I was eager to wash laundry this morning so I could check it out. It worked great. My clothes look clean. They smell clean. So I assume they are clean.

Now if I can only learn how to weave my own toilet paper...
The summer library program starts Monday with a kick-off party. We will be attending of course.

There will be face painting. Every parent knows face painting is the one thing your child MUST HAVE. Then you wait in line for an hour because each kid asks the face painter to something with the detailing of the Sistine Chapel.

My kids are getting their faces painted by me BEFORE we leave the house. My Momma didn't raise no fool.
In the last two days we have been to the library, the park and the play structure at Carl's Jr.

No matter how many places I take them they are BORED the minute we get home. It's going to be a loooooong summer.
I made the perfect dairy-free ice cream from scratch on Tuesday.

It rocked.

I modestly named it Carolyn's World Famous Ice Cream.

It could happen someday

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

My Inner Smart Ass

Somebody posted this article on cafemom.

(CBS) An eight-year-old Indiana girl swallowed 30 magnets and steel balls from a toy last month and, her father says, needed emergency surgery to save her from what doctors told him were eight gunshot or stab-like holes in her intestines.

Haley Lents told Early Show co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez Monday she ingested the ten magnets and 20 steel balls because they "looked like candy."

Haley's father, Jason Lents, told CBS News he "really" doesn't understand how Haley could have consumed the parts, because she "gets A's and B's, and we taught her not to do stuff like this."

Jason says doctors told him Haley is lucky to be alive. She spent two weeks in the hospital.

He says he and his wife were in the same room as Haley in their Huntingburg home when she consumed the items, and they didn't even realize it. He says they rushed Haley to the hospital two days later when she began experiencing pain so severe she could barely stand up.

The parts came from a toy called Magnetix, made by Mega Brands, which issued a statement about the incident: ""Mega Brands was saddened to learn that a child sustained injury from ingesting a large number of toy parts, some of which apparently contained magnets. While we have not been able to confirm whether the toy involved was a MEGA Brands product, it is clear this was a highly unusual and isolated situation and is not indicative of any problem with Mega Brands' magnetic construction toys currently on the market. In general, if a child swallows 30 pieces of any toy, it is likely that it will result in harm regardless of the toy in question."

Haley told Rodriguez she wants other kids to know they shouldn't eat toy parts.

Jason also wants to get the word out. He pointed out to Rodriguez that, "These are high intensity magnets. There are so many parents out there that have no idea that these toys -- it just takes two magnets to kill someone. ... And because they are so easy to swallow ... (Mega Brands hasn't) done enough. Now, Mega ... has said that, coming out in July of '08, next month, that they have a completely redesigned magnetic set that contains no magnetic parts that can be swallowed. ... They obviously feel that there's an issue."

I couldn't help but leave a comment. My comment?

How is it that they took two days to realize this? Didn't they notice she was sticking to the fridge?

I'm glad the other mom had a sense of humor.