D.I.Y. Candy Bouquet

Last month we went to watch my middle sister graduate from college.

This was one of her ‘gifts’, also doubling as the centerpiece for the food table at her graduation party.

My sister happens to have a soft spot for anything sweet and sugary so this was a perfect treat for her.

The candy bouquet had originally been my mom’s idea, but the finished product was my youngest sister’s labor of love.

All of the graduate’s favorite treats were featured.

Recently, I’ve seen these in all the stores as a ‘sweet’ and trendy gift to give, but the mark-up on them is insane.

With just a few items, several of which you probably already have in your home, you can make a beautiful candy bouquet ‘arrangement’ for a special someone with something to celebrate.

I absolutely love this fun, new twist on the more traditional floral arrangement. Customizable, fun, and most importantly, edible!

What more could you ask for from a ‘bouquet’?!

Help celebrate someone ‘sweet’ in your life, and commemorate a special day, with a personalized candy bouquet.Candy Bouquet with sparkly ribbons around the base and a variety of candy bars on wooden skewers in a glass vase filled with m&m's

Print Recipe
No ratings yet

DIY Candy Bouquet

Ingredients

  • assorted full-size candy bars 6 were used here
  • wooden skewers
  • strong tape
  • economy-sized bag of m&ms
  • clean empty clear vase
  • ribbon optional

Instructions

  • Tape a wooden skewer to the back of each candy bar. Make sure enough tapes is used so that it's securely attached.
  • Add m&m's to the bottom of a clean vase.
  • Stick skewers into the m&m's, adding more if necessary to hold the skewers in place.
  • If using, tie decorative ribbon around the outside of the vase and tie a bow for the finishing touch.

Easy Effective All-Natural Mosquito Repellent

With the beautiful days, and all this rain, the mosquitoes are in full swing on and around my porch. Bug Spray is a must!

Being that my house is always filled with little ones who still put everything in their mouths, including their own hands with no concern over what they’ve touched, I desperately needed to find a mosquito spray that was effective, but also non-toxic.

I researched and researched potential recipes, including spray, tinctures, creams. You name it, I perused it online and then tried it.

Finally, I found a keeper.

Eventually, I did modify it slightly to fit my personal preference and found it to be every bit as effective as the original, and with an enhanced, more refreshing scent.

This has been a huge hit at my house since the littles can be protected without fear of poisoning, and there’s no greasy residue left on anyone’s skin like with DEET products.

Furthermore, Witch Hazel, one of the main ingredients, is renowned for it’s skin benefits.

It’s great at de-greasing oily skin, hydrating dehydrated skin, soothing inflammation, and disinfecting problem complexions. An effective bug spray that’s non-toxic with skin benefits?

That’s what I call a winning combination.

Easy Effective All-Natural Mosquito Repellent 

4 Sons 'R' Us: Easy, Effective Mosquito Repellent all of the ingredients to make the mixture shown with a mixed up version in a green spray bottle

  • 1 14 oz bottle of witch hazel
  • citronella essential oil
  • eucalyptus essential oil
  • lavender essential oil
  • spray bottle(s)

Directions

  1. In a mason jar, or other glass jar of similar size with a lid, pour in the entire bottle of witch hazel.
  2. Now add your essential oils to the jar. 15 drops each of Citronella and Eucalyptus, and 10-12 drops of lavender.
  3. Put the lid on tightly, and shake vigorously until the mixture is evenly combined.
  4. Using a funnel, pour the mixture into a spray bottle. You can either fill multiple spray bottles, depending on size, or fill one, leaving the remainder in the glass jar to refill as needed.
  5. Spray on areas of the skin commonly exposed to mosquitoes.

ImportantThis mosquito spray has not been tested nor confirmed to be effective at preventing mosquito-borne illnesses (such as West Nile Virus).  If you are concerned about you or your family contracting such an illness, please use a different product containing DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus or IR3535.

‘Break In Case Of Emergency’ Grad. Gift

Another graduate, somewhere, is preparing to walk down the aisle to receive their long sought-after diploma.

Friends and family are trying to figure out the best way to recognize their achievement, or a way to put some finishing touches on a celebration or gift in their honor.

I remember, after my sister’s graduation, when she was preparing to leave for college, she couldn’t help but be nervous.

I mean, college is a big step. Life on your own for the first time since birth.

I wanted to give her a little something at her dinner the night before she left for school, and I hate just sticking money inside of a card.

This was the resulting ‘brain-child.’

She truly got a tickle out of it, especially after having seen all of the fire extinguishers in the dorm room whose displays had read them same.

This is a quick and easy graduate gift, perfect for the high school graduate preparing to head off to college.

It’s easy to make ahead, or even throw together last minute if you’re scrambling for some creative way to display a monetary gift.

This would also be cute to give to the college graduate preparing for a move into their first home or apartment.

Who doesn’t love a gift that gives them a good laugh? Especially when preparing for such a tremendous transition as embarking on the next chapter in life.

‘Break In Case Of Emergency’ Grad. Gift

Two five dollar bills in a glass picture frame that says break in case of emergency

  • A typed up ‘Break In Case Of Emergency’ header, printed on 81/2 x 11 computer paper
  • Either an 8 x 10 or 8 1/2 x 11 picture frame
  • 2 bills in whatever monetary increments you choose

Directions

  1. Tape your two bills, evenly spaced apart, to the ‘Break In Case of’ sheet.
  2. Put the finished paper into the frame, and secure the back of the picture frame into place.
  3. Give to a wonderful graduate with a sense of humor.

Coconut Lime Sugar Scrub

With all my boys, it’s hard to get out for a manicure or pedicure, but I still love how silky smooth my hands and feet feel afterwards.

To get those same results, without always having to arrange for multiple sitters and leaving the house, I’ve turned to making my own scrubs at home.

There’s no reason my hands and feet should suffer just because I’ve had four kids.  T

hat being said, I love a good sugar scrub, especially in the Summer, for my flip flop feet. There’s nothing like smooth, scented feet as I sit poolside.

I also enjoy experimenting with new scents and combinations, and when I stumbled upon this version  from The Idea Room, I knew I had to make it immediately! It sounded that refreshing, and I just couldn’t wait, literally.

The results were everything I was hoping for in a light, refreshing scent, but with all the dead-skin exfoliating power I am used to.

Give your feet and/or hands a good scrub down with this, and then rinse. Not only will the delicious scent linger, but everything will be so smooth.

It’s perfect for letting those feet or hands make their official debut out in the summer sun!

Coconut Lime Sugar Scrub

4 Sons 'R' Us: Coconut Lime Sugar Scrub in a glass mason jar on a wooden cutting board with cut limes in the background

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 6-8 drops of Lime essential oil

Directions

  1. In a microwave, or on a stove-top, melt coconut oil.
  2. Remove from heat and mix in the sugar, stirring until fully incorporated.
  3. Add the coconut and the Lime oil.
  4. Mix together.
  5. Use! This recipe only makes 1 cup of sugar scrub, but could easily be doubled to stockpile some, or even to make to give as gifts.

Easy Oatmeal Bath

I’m sure most of us Moms who have older children have had to deal with the Chicken Pox at least once. I’m sure, like me, when your child has gotten the pox, you’ve run out to the nearest pharmacy and paid a pretty penny for Aveeno’s oatmeal baths to help your painfully itchy little ones find some relief. Worrying about them and this one time illness, I never really paid attention to, or cared about, the expense. Now, years down the road, I have a 3 year old plagued by eczema. Especially in the summer, he gets horribly itchy, scabby patches. What’s even worse, at 3, he doesn’t understand why he get’s in trouble for scratching when it temporarily helps him feel better. He doesn’t think about the sores he will create or the potential for infection like his Daddy and I do. With a child who not constantly, but often needs a soothing oatmeal bath as a healthier form of relief, I was getting a bit frazzled by the prices I was forced to pay for name brand products. A friend of mine mentioned to me that she makes her own version with great success and I followed her advice and I immediately made my own batch of oatmeal bath that afternoon. Now, not only am I saving a ton of money, I don’t have to run out to the store at the last minute, or even clean up sludgy oatmeal out of the bottom of my tub. Do yourself a favor and give it a try for yourself. You will never go back to the name brands again!

Easy Oatmeal Bath

4 Sons 'R' Us: Easy Oatmeal Bath mix shown in an old grated Parmesan container

  • 3 cups plain, unflavored oats
  • empty bottle preferably with a shake/pour cap (I used an old Parmesan cheese container)
  • food processor or blender
  • a clear drinking glass
  • a tablespoon
  • old panty hose/stockings (optional)

 Directions

  1. Add oats into your food processor or blender and pulverize until it’s a fine powder and you don’t see any big pieces left.
  2. Test to make sure it’s fine enough by adding 1 tbsp of the oats to a glassful of water. If most dissolves and there’s not much left settling to the bottom you’re done*.
  3. Store oatmeal bath in a container until ready to use.
  4. When ready to use, add 1 cup of oatmeal to warm bathwater, stirring until combined. This will leave some oatmeal mess to be cleaned up afterward.
  5. To avoid any messy cleanup, put the 1 cup of oats into the foot of an old panty hose or stocking. Tie the panty hose around the faucet so the oatmeal is hanging directly under the water as it fills the tub. It will run through the oats, keeping the majority of the messy stuff in the ‘bag’, but still creating the soothing, milky ‘oatmeal’ bath.

*I skip this step, but if you want to be absolutely sure you’ve gotten all the big pieces out, you can sift your pulverized oatmeal before storing it. The more big pieces the less likely it is to all dissolve.

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Over the past few years, my husband and I have avidly been trying to look for areas in our home where we could cut costs by doing things ourselves and giving up convenience purchases. We’ve also noticed that the extra effort pays off, in that we’ve been able to cut out a lot of chemicals and other harmful substances. This past week I finally convinced my husband to take the plunge into homemade laundry detergent. He was skeptical since it was a powdered detergent, and also worried that it wouldn’t be able to cut through the dirt and grime of our four, very active boys. The results; however, were remarkable. Clean, clean clothes, including underwear, and soiled towels!  This recipe only costs about 5 cents per load as compared to about 20 cents with store bought detergents I’ve purchased at sale prices. Even better, this is entirely HE washer safe! All that’s required to be HE safe, is a detergent that’s low-suds. Think about it…they use less water so it makes complete sense that they would need a low suds detergent. It’s nothing else. Don’t get caught in the same trap we were initially, and continue to pay the ridiculous prices for ‘special’ detergent. It’s just another gimmick to get you, the consumer, to spend more money.

Homemade Laundry Detergent

4 Sons 'R' Us: Homemade Laundry Detergent in a glass mason jar with a yellow ribbon tide around it

  • 1 bar fels naptha, or zote
  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup washing soda

Directions

  1. Grate your bar of laundry soap (fels naptha or zote) as finely as possible.
  2. Put grated soap into a storage container. Add in borax and washing soda.
  3. Stir until evenly combined, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add 1 tbsp per load of laundry. 2 tbsp for heavily soiled loads.

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.

4 Sons 'R' Us: Homemade Cold Medicine in a small wide mouthed glass jar with a silver colored spoon

If you’ve tried this HOMEMADE COLD MEDICINE, or any other recipe on my site, let me know in the comment section how it turned out, we love hearing from our readers! You can also follow along with me on PINTERESTFACEBOOK, and INSTAGRAM to see more amazing recipes and whatever else we’ve got going on!

Print Recipe
No ratings yet

Homemade Cold Medicine

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  • In a small jar, combine vinegar and water.
  • Dissolve cayenne and ginger into the liquids.
  • Add honey.
  • Shake well.

Notes

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 all natural homemade dishwasher detergent uses 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!4 Sons 'R' Us: Homemade Dish Detergent in a ziplocking bag on a brown background

Print Recipe
No ratings yet

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Ingredients

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

Instructions

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

Notes

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 in a ziplocked bag with name and directions for use written on it

Candy-Grams

Are you struggling to find that perfect gift for someone special? Or the perfect gift for that special occasion?

Do you just dislike spending all that money on a greeting card that is just going to be discarded or thrown in s drawer and forgotten?

Instead of  a boring printed card quip, give a ‘card’ that won’t be forgotten. A card, that is more than a card, that with some simple creativity can be tuned to any holiday or special occasion.

Make a candy-gram instead! 

My husband has a raging sweet tooth, so anything involving sugar instantly means that much more to him.

My sister was graduating high school and I wanted to give her a ‘card’ with a special touch, because I didn’t just want to give her money.

These were the resulting ‘cards’ they received with my messages for them.

Candy-grams are an awesome way to put your own thoughts into words, some spelled out in sugar, with a personal touch and a little flair.

Whatever the occasion and the message, they will certainly leave a lasting impression and memory!

Father’s Day Candy-Gram

candy gram- black poster with words and candy bars on it

“Dad, we were going to give you a ‘whopp’ ing ‘100 Grand’ for Father’s Day, but the money slipped right through our ‘butterfinger’s. We didn’t have an ‘extra’ ‘whatchamacallit’ to sell and it wasn’t ‘payday’. We didn’t think a pet ‘kitkat’, a trip to New ‘York’, or an ‘orbit’ around the ‘milkyway’ would be appropriate. We do want to wish you ‘mounds’ of ‘joy’ both ‘now and later’ as you eat this card. We hope it doesn’t make you ‘rolo’ver and get sick. If it does we promise not to ‘snicker’. Love, your favorite ‘airheads’ (include children’s names).”

Graduation Candy-Gram

Graduation Candy-gram: candy gram- blue poster with words and candy bars on it

“We (or I) thought it would be ‘sweet’ to make you a card. I still remember when we were little; we were like the ‘3 musketeers’. I still can’t believe just yesterday you were in your ‘cap’ and gown and ‘skor’ed a diploma. You’ve come a long ‘way’. You should be filled with ‘mounds’ of ‘joy’ that you’re no ‘dumdum’ and are filled with ‘extra’ good stuff that’ll take you far in life– ‘now and later’. You’re an ‘awesome’ individual and as a sister worth more than ‘100 grand’. I am so proud of you I could just ‘kiss’ you!!!!”

D.I.Y. Homemade Deodorant

There are basic toiletries that I think most everyone can agree are necessities, antiperspirants among them.

Over the years, I’ve read several medical articles substantiating the claims that the aluminum in deodorants can be linked to an increased risk in women of developing breast cancer, although nothing has ever been completely confirmed.

My husband and I try to buy and use as many organic products for our family as possible on our budget and organic deodorant, or even all natural, is just too expensive for us.

When I came across a recipe to try making homemade deodorant myself, using ingredients I keep stocked in our kitchen, I couldn’t wait to try it.

We, and my teenage sons, have used this for a week and it’s worked as well as anything I’ve purchased from a store.

The first batch had no scent, although the coconut oil did give it it’s own faint coconut-ty smell.

To the second batch of our homemade deodorant we added a few scant drops of lavender essential oil which made the deodorant smell wonderful, without being overpowering.

For something so easy, good for you, and cheap, is there any reason to keep paying for over-priced chemical laced sticks from the store?

This D.I.Y homemade deodorant is not only husband approved, but teenage boy proof!

Not a single whiff of funk from any of my guys, all for pennies on my part.

white homemade deodorant paste in a plastic tub on a white counter

Print Recipe
No ratings yet

DIY Deodorant

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp organic coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp aluminum-free baking soda
  • 3-4 drops organic essential oil for fragrance optional

Instructions

  • In a small bowl mix cornstarch and baking soda until evenly combined.
  • Stir in coconut oil until evenly combined.
  • Put mixture in a container, or empty deodorant stick, for storage and use.
  • Deodorant can stay out, but it will be more of a paste to apply. If you want a hard bar to rub on, store in the refrigerator.