Homemade Fruit Rollups, with 3 Ingredients or LESS

Who doesn’t remember eating fruit by the foot as a kid?? They were a snack time favorite. Along with all the wacky, wonky little things you could do with them. You couldn’t tell us not to play with our food. Well, at least not our fruit by the foot. Fast forward twenty years, and now I’m in total Mom mode trying to foist heaping helpings of real fruit on my kids on the daily. But guess what? Now my kids want fruit roll ups for snack. I mean I get it, it’s a lot harder to ‘play’ with mom-approved fruit, other than the infamous banana- turned imaginary gun. Fruit roll ups are fun, sure, but they’re not everyday snack food. They’re just not. Or are they? Look out y’all, it’s a snack time stick up!! Hands up in the air and eyes open for this revolutionary idea. HOMEMADE fruit roll ups! Using as little as ONE ingredient. FRUIT! Fruit that You, Mom, will have a blast saying yes too. It only took me 20 years ¬†to find my way onto this train. Better late than never, right? ūüôā

I still can’t believe I never knew how easy these were to make! Now, I just can’t stop. The flavor combinations are endless. You can add in a bit of sugar for flavoring, a bit of lemon juice for color retention or keep it simple with just plain, old fruit.

 Homemade Fruit Roll Ups

We went with two of our favorite flavor combos for these, peach mango and an antioxidant mixed berry blend that included cherries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and pomegranate arils. The hubs liked them so much, he’s even begun putting in requests. Specifically for apple. And the sons involved in sports? We’ve got banana roll ups waiting on them that are fun and full of potassium!

Homemade Fruit Roll Ups 3

Baking these is a teensy bit of a guessing game. They should be done dehydrating in 3-4 hours, but you’ll want to keep an eye on them regardless. They’re done when they no longer feel sticky, just a bit tacky. I had to feel it a few different times, at a few different stages, but by feel it’s pretty easy to judge. Also, watch out for over baking! Otherwise you’ll have a crispy fruit ‘chip’ on your hands.

Homemade Fruit Rollups, with 3 Ingredients or LESS

Homemade Fruit Roll Ups 2

 2 cups of fruit (fresh or frozen, but thawed if frozen)
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2-3 tbsp sugar or honey, optional

Directions

1. Place the prepared fruit (i.e. bananas, peeled and sliced, strawberries, washed and hulled, etc) in a blender or food processor and puree until the fruit mixture is smooth without an chunks remaining. Transfer the puree to a saucepan and stir in the lemon juice and sugar. Cook the fruit puree over medium to medium high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking or burning, until the mixture has thickened and the excess moisture cooked out. You’re looking for a jammy consistency.
2. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees, or as low as your oven will go, making sure it’s less than 200 degrees at the highest. Our oven goes from the ‘warm’ setting to 200, and we found setting it in between those two worked out perfectly.
3. Spread the puree/jam into a rectangle shape on a baking pan lined with a silpat or with a sheet of parchment paper. Use a spatula to gently help ‘spread’ the fruit puree as evenly as possible, until the rectangle-ish shape is about 1/8 inch thick. Also, as it cooks/dehydrates bear in mind that it will get even thinner, so just try to make sure that none of the jam is so thin that you can see through it as you spread. If using lighter fruits, like peach and mango ours was still see through in a few spots so we tried more to eye ball the thickness and tried to stick close to the 1/8″ mark.
4. Cook in the oven for 3-4 hours, until the fruit mixture no longer feels sticky, but just a bit tacky. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely. Gently remove the cooked, and now completely cooled, sheet of fruit by peeling it away from the silpat or paper and transfer it to a wax paper lined cutting board. Use a sharp, metal pizza cutter to cut it into long strips. Roll them up into the fruit roll ups, and enjoy!

recipe adapted from 15 Spatulas

{Easy} Homemade Baby Wipes

I’m convinced little boys are magnets. Pint-sized, powerful dirt magnets. I’m constantly going through wet wipes. In the house. In the car. In the store. Everywhere. There’s not a dust bunny, dirt speck, or food particle within a good mile radius that does not find it’s way onto their person. And by person, I meant their face, hands, shirt, etc. You name it, if they’ve been awake for 5 minutes, something has found them. Knowing this, I’m always armed with some handy-dandy wipes to scrub them down on the go. That leftover kool-aid mustache? Check. The hands that are now black from tracing every wall we’ve walked past for 5 minutes? Check.

About a year ago, I started to notice how many wipes we were going through and how the cost was really adding up. Being the fastidious penny-pincher that I am, I began to look for a way to make my own that were not only cheaper, but just as durable. Only a strong wipe can compete with my grubby boys and keep them as presentable as humanly possible until bath time. A friend of mine with a gaggle of her own children told me about this recipe that she swore by. I tried it, and from the very first swipe I was hooked!

As I’ve mentioned before, Son #4 struggles with eczema. We’re dealing with a very itchy bout of it now. These wipes are gentle enough to even use on his super-sensitive skin. Not only do they not cause any reaction or irritate his condition, they even seem to help soothe his itching. That alone would have sold me on these.

But there’s more…

One of the best things about these all-natural, homemade baby wipes is that they do not contain alcohol and are super gentle on those delicate areas, especially if you’re dealing with diaper rash. The tea tree oil, as well as the coconut oil have anti-microbial properties and protect against molding. Also, both the tea tree oil and coconut oil provide a multitude of skin benefits.

Start making your own wipes today. They blow all the store-bought competition out of the water. And, they’re cheaper! These, my friend, will totally ‘wipe’-out and reservations you may have.

{Easy} Homemade Baby Wipes

4 Sons 'R' Us: Easy Homemade Baby Wipes

  • 1 roll of Bounty paper towels (I found mine at the the Dollar Tree)
  • a very sharp knife, or an electric knife
  • 1 tbsp baby wash
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 cup hot water
  • tea tree oil
  • container to house the wipes in (the one pictured came from the Dollar Tree as well)

Directions

  1. Cut the roll of paper towels evenly in half. It will resemble two rolls of toilet paper at that point.
  2. Carefully remove the cardboard paper tube from inside the paper towels.
  3. In a bowl, mix the baby wash, oil, hot water, and 2-3 drops tea tree oil until evenly combined.
  4. Pour the mixture into the wipes container.
  5. Add the cut paper towels and let sit, for about an hour, until all the mixture has been soaked up and saturated throughout the towels.
  6. To use, pull wipes from the center.

Natural Flea Shampoo For Dogs

Dawn is well-known around the veterinary and shelter communities as a flea killer and flea deterrent. Vinegar removes oils from the coat and skin while leaving fluffy, irresistibly soft fur behind. Despite knowing these things, I’ve continued to pay for far more expensive bath products for Bentley (our pug), trying to combat his pheromone-induced ‘doggy’ smell. Not completely satisfied with any results so far, I decided to see if there was something more ‘natural’ out there that could answer my prayers. Yes, I love my dog so¬†much that I include his hormone and scent issues in my prayers. Like an over-protective parent, I’m always worried about what others will think upon first meeting him. I couldn’t have any smell, especially when it’s not his fault, overshadow his radiant personality and his zest for life. I needed to make sure he had an equal opportunity at being loved by all who meet him. As he deserves. With this new concoction all mixed up, and approved by our vet, we set off for the bathroom.

If seeing is believing, consider me ‘blinded by the light’. Bentley looked positively radiant after his scrub down. I believe my exact words to him (in my best Billy Crystal accent) were ,”Dahling, you look mahvelous. Absolutely mahvelous.” Speaking of which, with his new luster, Bentley would look really cute with a pair of wings and a halo for Halloween this year, like a little angel. But I digress. He was clean. Not a single flea in sight. He was fluffy. No hint of oil or his ‘doggy’ smell. I actually carried him to each of my children, and my poor husband, and made them smeeeeell him. Not a little sniff, either. That just wouldn’t suffice. I mean nose in the fur, and a deeeep inhale. ‘See, not a whiff of anything!’ I don’t think they understood my elation. I may or may not have seen them exchanging looks, silently asking each other if Mom is OK. They just won’t understand until they’re older. Or so I tell myself.¬†For virtually nothing on my part, I’d achieved groomer-level results. Or at least that’s how Bentley looked to me. I may be a little biased.

Also, as a friendly reminder,  no children, pugs, or husbands were harmed in the making, usage, or smell-checking of this recipe.

This dog shampoo really does work. Let it help remove those pesky hitch-hikers, keeping your fur baby(ies) flea free, and leaving your pet with a scent-free, fluffy coat to boot.

Natural Flea Shampoo For Dogs

4 Sons 'R' Us: Natural Flea Shampoo For Dogs

  • 1 cup liquid Dawn dish soap
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 quart warm water

Directions

  1. Mix the three ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Transfer to a leftover squeeze bottle (like an old shampoo bottle). Give it a little shake to make sure it is mixed.
  3. Apply to your doggy just as you would normal shampoo. It is best if you can massage it into the fur and let sit for 5 minutes.
  4. Rinse your doggy thoroughly with warm water. Towel dry.

All-Natural Flea And Tick Spray for Dogs

We have an almost 4 year old pug named Bentley. Bentley, ever the rebel, does not ever stop. Contrary to the accepted pug ‘stereotype’ he is not fat or lazy, but instead full of muscles and hyper-activity. He, literally, goes until he can’t go anymore, falling over in a heap of exhaustion for a cat-nap that, at most, will only last 5 minutes. While we all enjoy watching him frolic through the grass, chase bugs, fetch sticks and so on, all this play time outside meant he was a constant tick magnet. Literally, he set one paw outdoors, he had already attracted at least four of the little blood suckers. We used to buy over the counter products to help keep him bugger free, but aside from the expensive costs, we had another reason to seek out an alternative remedy. With our toddler, and other young children always in and out of our home, we just couldn’t risk the hazards of any one of them loving on the dog, and then ingesting harmful, toxic chemicals when those chubby baby hands went straight in their mouths. I tried several recipes, but this version was the immediate, and obvious winner. When applied to Bentley once a day and rubbed lightly into his coat, we haven’t seen a single tick. Not one! There’s also been no scratching that would indicate any other unwanted squatters trying to take up residence. I don’t have to worry about the little ones wanting to love on, and give kisses to, the dog. Make up your own batch today and serve an all natural, affordable eviction notice to the bugs.

All-Natural Flea & Tick Spray for Dogs

4 Sons 'R' Us: Homemade Natural Flea And Tick Spray

  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 cups of distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp vegetable, or almond, oil
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice, citrus oil, or peppermint oil
  • spray bottle

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle.
  2. Spray onto your pet’s dry coat, staying away from sensitive areas including eyes, nose, mouth, and genitals.
  3. When outdoors for an extended period, spray this solution on two to three times per day. When pets are outdoors generally to use the restroom only, spray the solution onto the animal’s coat once per day.

Homemade Cold Medicine

Ever feel a cold creeping up and need to knock it out before it has a chance to take hold? This homemade cold medicine can nip it in the bud. Designed to tackle coughs, congestion, and a sore throat, it surpasses anything I’ve ever gotten from the store and it’s my go-to recipe when someone in my house starts feeling sick. Even better, I don’t have to wonder is it safe? Is this actually the proper¬†dosage? ¬†How many hours has it been? What is 2% of “asdlkjasdklh” for? All four major ingredients are known for their different healing and¬†therapeutic¬†properties. When combined they’re a cold-kicking powerhouse. I always keep some on hand stored in the fridge, especially during the winter months when my kids are more prone to catch something. Give it a try for yourself next time you or your loved ones have got the tell-tale signs you’re coming down with a cold.

Homemade Cold Medicine

4 Sons 'R' Us: Homemade Cold Medicine

  • ¬†1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1 tbsp organic apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp raw honey (local is best*)

Directions

  1. In a small jar, combine vinegar and water.
  2. Dissolve cayenne and ginger into the liquids.
  3. Add honey.
  4. Shake well.
  5. Dosage: Adults should take 1 tbsp as needed. I give my kids** 1/2 tbsp as needed for cough/congestion.

*Some research suggests that consuming local raw honey can help allergy sufferers find some relief. Raw (unprocessed) honey still contains enzymes and pollen. Local honey contains pollen from plants in your¬†vicinity¬†that you’re constantly exposed to and that might be causing or triggering your allergies. Essentially, ingesting the local¬†pollen, in small doses, over a prolonged period of time would act as a natural vaccine.

**WARNING: Children under 12 months of age should NEVER consumer honey, raw or processed, as there is a risk of Child Botulism (bacterial illness). Further, honey is acidic and the practice of keeping it sitting in the mouth for prolonged periods of time may erode dental enamel.

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

In my effort to cut costs everywhere I can, and to be as all natural as possible on our families budget, I decided to stop buying store bought dish detergent and see if I could replicate it for minimal cost and still get great results. This at home, all natural version is only 3 ingredients, which I keep on hand and only takes a few minutes to whip up. Using equal parts of the two main ingredients, I can make as much or as little as I need. My favorite part, each load only costs pennies! My dishes even seem to be cleaner than when I previously used a store bought detergent. A cheap way to achieve sparkling results? Yes, please!

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

4 Sons 'R' Us: Homemade Dish Detergent

  • borax
  • washing soda
  • lemon flavored kool aid packet (optional)

Directions

  1. Mix equal parts borax and washing soda together. Make sure it’s equal parts.
  2. If using, add in kool aid packet.
  3. Stir until all ingredients are evenly combined.
  4. Transfer detergent into a storage container.
  5. Use 2 tbsp per load.

The kool aid packet is just for scent purposes, and without it the detergent will still clean just as well.

I couldn’t ask for, and haven’t found, an easier all-natural recipe for dish detergent and for only pennies per load!

*For best results, rinse dishes¬†thoroughly¬†before loading them into the dishwasher. This isn’t an issue for me since my husband is a stickler about rinsing dishes pre-wash. Also, to avoid an streaks try using a rinse aid. If needed, I use plain white distilled vinegar as an all natural rinse aid.

4 Sons 'R' Us: Homemade Dish Detergent