Category: Domestic News

4 Unconventional Uses For Mustard

4 Unconventional Uses For Mustard

Mustard is a great addition to anybody’s kitchen. Not only is it a potent ingredient that will better the taste of pretty much anything it touches (almost anything), but it’s also very healthy. It’s very rich in selenium, nutrients and antioxidants, making it reputable for combating inflammations and relaxing muscles. A single teaspoon of yellow mustard seeds packs about 85mg of omega 3 fats (the good type of fat), 25mg of potassium (K), 29mg of phosphorus (P), 18mg of calcium (Ca) and about 10mg of magnesium (Mg). With so many beneficial elements, no wonder people have been consuming it since antiquity. To Romans were the first to add the mustard seed to their diet, by mixing the ground mustard seeds with wine; the overall result was a condiment which was vastly used in Roman cuisine. The Egyptians saw it also a symbol of good fortune, so they tossed mustard seeds in the tombs of the pharaohs, so they’d have good luck in their next life. The medicinal benefits however, were fully understood later on, in medieval times. The French monks used a mustard-based paste, which was used in treating many ailments: it was used for back pain and muscular relief, for toothaches, as digestive stimulant, for improving blood circulation and clearing up the sinuses. As you can see, it’s an all-purpose tool, and next, I’m going to explain further uses for mustard.

1. Smell Remover

The potent and active enzymes found in mustard will take out any unwanted odor from almost anything. Whether it’s sweat, food smells or even the smell of some disappointing perfume or fabric softener, worry not! Just make a mixture out of 3 gallons of hot water and 1 – 2 cups of dried mustard. Mix it well and add some to a spray bottle. You can spray you car tires, the rims, the underbody of the car, the trunk and the car mats. After the bad smell is gone, you can spray with water and clean with a piece of dry cloth. You could also try spraying the solutions on smelly pieces of clothing, but mustard spots are ussualy very tricky to remove.

2. Natural weedwacker

If you have your very own garden and you’re reluctant to using chemical agents in dealing with your weed problem, you’ll be glad to know that mustard is the eco-friendly way of getting the job done. If you want to, you can event plant mustard every here and there, but I’s even easier to scatter mustard seeds all around the garden. When the mustard seeds come in direct contact with the soil, they’ll discharge some specific nutrients. These nutrients make the soil hostile territory for all sorts of weeds; you’ll reduce your weed problem dramatically. However, mustard can be detrimental to some plants that you might not want gone from your garden, so do some reading on the subject a bit.

3. Burn relief

Mustard works really well on relieving the pain caused by burning accidents, no matter how deep the burn. The first thing you’ll need to do is to get your burned area under cold, running, water. This will alleviate some of the initial stinging sensation and will also clean the burned area. After 20 – 30 seconds, stop the “water treatment” and grab a hold on the jar of mustard. Any type of mustard will do, just spread some all over the burned area and wait a few seconds. The pain should cease in a matter of seconds. Keep in mind though that this is a temporary pain relief solution, not a treatment; you should get yourself checked by a doctor a.s.a.p. to avoid complications.

4. Emergency dishwashing soap

If you’ve run out of dishwashing soap or liquid and you still have tons of dishes to do, once again you can turn to mustard. No need in making that extra trip to the market;

if you have some mustard powder (paste works too) and some baking soda, you’re fine. Just add the two together (2 parts mustard, 1 part baking soda) and mix them up. Apply the resulting mix on the dishes (which have been previously washed with water) and let it sit for 5 – 7 minutes. Once the time is up, simply rinse them with water. You’ll be amazed at how sparkly they’ll be!

I am sure that you’ve understood by now the importance of having some mustard around the house, be it paste, powder or seeds. Mustard van do so much more than making your hotdogs tastier, it will get you out of all sorts of predicaments.

DIY Fertilizers: The Cheap & Easy Way

DIY Fertilizers - The Cheap & Easy Way

As I’ve touched on the subject of survival gardening many times before and I’ve advocated growing your own, private vegetable or even fruit garden, I’m sure that my suggestions have resonated with many of my readers. And if you share my view that your private garden will be your main source of getting fresh produce once the big markets close down, you’ll like what you’ll “see” next. Of course, serious gardening requires some knowledge, skill and preparation. You’ll need a bit of practice, as I’ve said before, to actually get the desired results. And you’ll need a bit of financial investment too. But even so, survival gardening can still be run on a tight budget, especially in the fertilizer department. The last thing you’ll need to throw your many at is professional fertilizing agents. Don’t get me wrong, these products work, they get the job done, but there are plenty alternatives you’ll find around the house that will work just as well. And most of the stuff you can use as fertilizer would normally be considered waste, and you’d be throwing it away without being aware of its life-sustaining properties.

First and foremost, you need to understand what fertilizer actually is and why it is so important. Plants, in order to grow and develop require certain amounts of nutrients. Sometimes, what the soil provides just isn’t enough. Fertilizer is added to make sure that plants won’t stagnate and that the crops will be plentiful, counteracting a possible depletion of nutrients in the soil. There are 3 major ranks of nutrients that your garden will need:

  • Rank I nutrients (that are needed in large quantities): P (phosphorus), K (potassium) and N (nitrogen)
  • Rank II nutrients (that are needed in moderate quantities): Mg (magnesium), Ca (calcium) and S (sulfur)
  • Rank III nutrients (that are needed in small quantities): Fe (iron), Mn (manganese), Mo (molybdenum), Zn (zinc) and B (Boron)

If you wish to have healthy and nutritious plants, you’ll have to assure that they get most of these beneficial elements during their development. The lack of nutrients won’t allow the plants to develop normally and may even cause their premature death. So fertilizer it’s a must! Let’s have a look at some of the best DIY fertilizers you can find around the house.

Egg shells

As the old saying goes, you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. But after the omelette is done, don’t throw the egg shells away, they’ll make a great addition to you gardening plan. Egg shells contain a great amount of Ca (calcium), which is extremely important for cellular growth and development. Calcium is one of the elements in the soil that get depleted fastest while plants are growing, so adding some back into the circuit would be extremely beneficial to you garden. Grind the shells into a thin powder and sprinkle them on the ground; that should do it. The shells also contain N and phosphoric acid.

Banana peels

The banana peel is yet another object you’d be tempted to discard right away. But bananas are rich in potassium (K), and so are its peels. Adding banana peels to your garden would ensure rich and well-developed crops, as potassium (K) is a rank I ingredient, which plants can’t get enough of. Not only is it beneficial to all sorts of fruit and veggies, but ornamental plants are loving it also. Don’t throw the peel on the ground directly, rather rip it into shreds and place it in the hole before planting for optimum efficiency.

Coffee grounds

Coffee grounds are an excellent source of magnesium (Mg) potassium (K) and nitrogen (N) and would make great ”food” for the plants. But adding them to the soil will increase the overall pH, so it’s generally recommended to use them more for plants who strive in a more acid environment like tomatoes, avocados, blueberries, azaleas etc. Before scattering them on the ground, it’s best if you let them dry first. You should scatter them lightly, around the plants.

Fire ash

As long as you have ash leftovers from the fireplace or if you’ve been camping all night, you also have a good means of fertilizing your garden. Ash is rich in potassium (K) and calcium carbonate, which will do wonders for growing fruit and vegetables. The ash method works best for plants that love alkaline surroundings; so don’t use the ashes on acid loving plants. And if the ashes are the result of a fire to which charcoal or lighter fluid was added, don’t use them. The residual agents will harm the plants. So use 100% wood ashes only.

Hair

Yes, that’s correct: hair. Any sort of hair will do, be it from people, dogs cats and pretty much any other creature you can think of. Hair is naturally packed with nitrogen, so if you’ll sprinkle it across the garden, you’ll supply the growing plants with a much needed nitrogen (N) boost. Get hair wherever you can find it: scrap it off brushes and save the trimmings from cutting your hair; you can also visit your local barber shop for great amounts of hair that they would otherwise just throw away. Just offer to get it off their hands for free and they’ll most likely let you have it.

And there you have it, some of the easiest and cheapest methods of ensuring the right nutrients for you survival garden. Not only are these methods cheap and convenient, but they’re also very efficient. If it was money that was in your way of getting your hands dirty and your thumbs green, problem solved! You can now have your garden, and on a budget too.

By My Family Survival Plan

Preserving Oral Hygiene In A SHTF Scenario

Preserving Oral Hygiene In A SHTF Scenario

Oral hygiene is of upmost importance, and we’re familiarized with the toothbrush and toothpaste from an early age. Keeping your teeth clean on a daily basis is vital for preserving oral hygiene. But despite the rigors and norms of the modern consumerist society we live in, there are many other ways of keeping your teeth clan and healthy. And they work best in a TEOTWAWKI scenario, when the products we’re used to won’t just be available anymore. You’ll need to improvise, but luckily there are many substitutes for the traditional methods and products. And despite what many people believe, teeth aren’t made of glass. Cleaning them with something else other than toothpaste won’t damage them in any way. There are plenty of raw foods that known to have a cleaning effect on the teeth (apples, pears, carrots); provided they are hard enough (soft and ripe won’t do), they’ll do wonders for your teeth and gums, preventing even gingivitis and canker sores. Here are some of the best replacements for modern teeth cleaning methods.

BAKING SODA

Baking soda is probably the most famous alternative when it comes to cleaning the teeth. The baking soda’s natural properties lets it neutralize acids that are harmful for the enamel, kills off bacteria that is responsible for plaque build-up and as far as aesthetics go, it’s an excellent stain remover. It’s used dates as far back as antiquity, as even Hippocrates himself had a mouthwash recipe based on baking soda, vinegar and alum. Alongside baking soda, there are many oils you can throw into the mix for added beneficial effects: cinnamon oil (has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties), peppermint oil (has antibacterial effect, it freshens the breath and it clears up the sinuses), clove oil (fights off bacteria and has painkilling properties) etc. These oils work in more ways than one. If you have swollen gums, you can dip a piece of clean cloth of gauze in any of these and a place over the affected area; for best results, let the gum-pack sit overnight.

SALT

Salt is the ingredient that no serious prepper should go without. And believe it or not, it even serves a purpose in the field of oral hygiene. Salt brushing can be used even today, in moderation of course; salt can whiten and brighten one’s teeth. It has mild cleaning properties and it can be used daily; you can also make a salt based mouthwash that you can use for disinfection purposes, against bad breath, tartar, plaque and even boost the healing process. Salt can be used raw or mixed with baking soda (30% salt, 70% baking soda); you can even add sage to the mix, if you happen to have some at your disposal. Mouth wash is even easier to make; just add salt to potable water and there you have it.

OXYGENTATED WATER (HYDROGEN PEROXIDE 3%)

The product has been proven to be very effective against gingivitis, canker sores and harmful bacteria. It should be diluted with water before usage, because it’s a bit to abrasive on the teeth. Just mix equal parts of water and hydrogen peroxide 3% and you get a very affective mouth wash. However, you should never swallow the mixture. Before brushing your teeth, swish it around in your mouth and spit it out, but don’t keep it in for longer than 20 seconds. After you’re done, you can wash the toothbrush with the oxygenated water-based concoction, to destroy residual bacteria.

PRIMITIVE TOOTHBRUSHES (aka. CHEW STICKS)

Chewing on sticks and branches is a primitive teeth-cleaning method, that’s still used today among tribal societies. It might seem a bit rough, but it works. The method consists in chewing down on little twigs and branches and splitting them into several small brands. When you’re done chewing and the twig gets spread enough, you can used it to clean your teeth similar to a toothbrush. Some plants are more efficient than others, thanks to their healing properties. Some of the best and most spread DIY toothbrushes can be made out of oak, juniper, eucalyptus and the neem tree. Their rich in tannins that are extremely helpful in cleansing and curing gum-related afflictions and oils that stimulate blood flow.

There you have it, some of the best methods to help you keep your oral hygiene even in the toughest conditions imaginable. When your toothpaste and mouthwash reserves run low, you’ll need to consider replacing them and fast. No matter how bad things get, overlooking oral hygiene is not an option.

7 Peculiar Uses For Pepper

7 Peculiar Uses For Pepper

Pepper is a wonderful spice and a well-known ingredient that no respectable household, restaurant or fast food joint can do without. It’s probably the second most used seasoning (second to salt) and it originates from plants included in the Piperaceae family. The common pepper dust or beads come from the plant’s fruits, which are dried, crushed in a fine and spicy dust or simply used whole; the whole dried fruit is known as peppercorn. The usage of pepper in both gastronomy and medicine dates back since antiquity. The term “pepper” is derived from the Dravidian term pippali, which was later turned into peperi by the romans; the used peperi for both the black pepper and the long pepper. In today’s modern languages, the term shifted into pfeffer (German), poivre (French), pepe (Italian), piper (Romanian) and of course pepper (English). What gives pepper its bite is a chemical called piperine.

Pepper has a long established reputation in the kitchen, but having some around can solve a lot of problems around the house. There are many unusual uses for pepper which will give great results. Here’s what you can use it for:

1. Keep ants away

Ants are naturally attracted by sugar compounds, so as long as you give them a reason, they’ll come invading your kitchen or wherever else they might find something sweet to take back to the colony. If you have some pepper in hand, you can sprinkle it every here and there, where you might think I’d get in the ants way. If the ants encounter pepper along their trail, they’ll most likely g thrown off and they’ll turn back.

2. Keep garden parasites at bay

Your garden won’t be safe until you take some measures. Your plants are in danger ever since they begin sprouting; as soon as they’re out, there are all sort of bugs that are ready to feast on the fruits of your labor. To keep these pesky parasites away, just mix black pepper and flour (equal parts) and sprinkle the mixture around the plants.

3. Keep away squirrels from the bird feeder

If you have a squirrel problem around the bird feeder, you can solve it by simply adding some cayenne pepper. Sprinkle the spice around the feed, and you won’t see squirrels around ever gain. This won’t bother the birds that have a natural tolerance for the pepper; not only won’t they feel it, but the high amounts of vitamin A found in the pepper will also improve their plumage.

4. Brighten the colors of your clothes

If you wish to keep you clothes looking like new as long as possible or simply bring back to life some of the older clothes with faded colors, you don’t need any fancy and expensive products to get the job done. If you have some pepper around the house, just add a teaspoon of the spicy dust to the wash. The pepper thrown in the mix will keep bright colors as strong as ever and will prevent them from running too.

5. Migraines

If you find yourself having a strong headache for no apparent reason, some are claiming that pepper can save the day. Just get a regular glass of water and add half a teaspoon of pepper, mix it up good and drink the concoction. If you have a smaller glass, ¼ teaspoon of pepper will suffice. If in 40 minutes time you have had no results, repeat the procedure.

6. Clear up your sinuses

If you’ve caught a nasty cold or if your sinuses are acting up, you may be able to ease up the situation by adding some extra pepper you or meals. However, if you’re intolerant to spicy food, there’s another solution for your problems: you can get eucalyptus drops and mix them up with liquid pepper; put them in the steamer and they’ll do wonders for your clogged sinuses in no time at all.

7. Detoxify the liver

If you’ve been having liver problems lately or if simply you want to give your liver a hand, you’ll need to mix up the following in a small glass: 1 cup of flat, filtered water; 1 entire lemon (or lime) squeezed; 1 teaspoon of maple syrup (or other natural sweetener) and ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper. You should have this drink every morning, before breakfast.

Thanks to its natural properties, the common pepper s far more than a simple food spice. It can be used as pest repellant, as a fabric brightener and even as a natural remedy for various afflictions. Having some around the house can be very convenient if you should ever find yourself in the need for any of its uses.

7 Unusual Uses For The Usual Egg

7 Unusual Uses For The Usual Egg

Chicken eggs are a part of everybody’s diet; well, everybody who understands the importance of a balanced diet that is. Not only are they tasty, easy to handle and prepare, but they’re also extremely versatile in the kitchen: you can eat them raw, boiled, fried and in billions of combinations for billions of recipes. Yes, eggs area edible, we’ve figured that part out already. But just because they’re good for eating, doesn’t mean that they’re not good for anything else. You’d be surprised to discover that the good ol’ egg is not the boring item you’ve known all your life. There are plenty of other good uses for the egg and they have nothing to do with appeasing your hunger. Because of its wonderful properties, the egg (egg white, egg yolk and eggshell) can be used for the following purposes:

1. Make candles out of eggshells

An emptied eggshell will make an excellent support for a candle. Just drill a hole in the upper side of the egg and once this is done, simply start peeling the eggshell little. Pour out the content (the white and the yolk) and stop peeling when you’re left with 2 / 3 of the eggshell. You can pour melted wax gently and start a candle from scratch in the eggshell or you can improvise one. Just add a candle inside and, preferably, surround with melted wax.

2. Temporarily plant seeds in eggshells and egg cartons

Get an egg carton and have it filed with half eggshells. Next, fill up each and every single half shell (or as many as you need) with soil and press the sides inside it. Because the eggshell contains many nutrients, the plants with develop better this way, especially in the incipient phases. Once the seedlings reach 3 – 4 inches, you can take them out of the eggshells and transplant in normal gardening conditions and settings. The remaining eggshells should not go to waste; you should crush them and add them to the compost. Not only will they give a boost of calcium to the soil, but they will also deter slugs and other pests.

3. Increase your calcium intake

The calcium found in the eggshells can also be beneficial to human beings, especially to those who have deficiencies in the matter. You have to get some empty eggshells and bake them at 250° for about 25 minutes. Once the baking is done, take them out and let them cool. Once they’ve cooled, you’ll have to grind them shells into the finest powder you can. This is in fact a DIY food supplement that you can add to your juice or smoothie; if your pet has calcium deficiencies, you can add it to the dog / cat food as well.

4. Make better coffee

Get your hands on some dry eggshells and crush them. You don’t have to crush them into the thinnest powder, so don’t waste time on doing it. Now take the crushed shells and add them to your coffee just before brewing. The calcium-rich shells will greatly improve the overall taste of the coffee, as it will absorb a great deal of its natural bitterness. After you’re done with the coffee, don’t throw the leftovers away. The grounds and the shells can be added to your compost heap and re-used for gardening purposes.

5. Cleanse your skin

Science has proven that egg whites have an amazing effect when it comes to clearing up complexions, tightening skin and destroying acne. If you need some skincare and you don’t have any professional skin products in reach, you can make your very own remedy by combining an egg white with half a tea spoon of lemon juice. Beat the concoction gently, place it on the area you wish to treat and let it sit until it dries. Once is dry, apply a second layer for maximum effect. After the second layer is applied, let it sit for 10 – 15 minutes; once the time is up, wash your face with warm water.

6. Moisturize you skin

If egg whites are great for skin afflictions, egg yolks do wonders for dry skin. They are rich in lecithin, which is very effective against dry skin. You’ll have to make a face mask following this recipe: mix an egg yolk, ad 3 teaspoons of honey; stir gently until you’ve obtained an homogenous paste. Apply the paste on the face, in a thick layer. You have to let it dry and sit for about 20 minutes. Once the 20 minutes are up, remove the mask by washing it with warm water.

7. Glue for paper and light cardboard

If you need to glue some paper, cardboard or some other light materials and you don’t happen to have any glue around, a simple egg white will suffice. Just break an egg, separate the egg white from the egg yolk, dip a brush in the egg white andspread it gently on the surfaces you want to glue together. The egg white contains proteins that tend to get very sticky when they dry up. It works excellent for paper or light cardboard at least; not recommended for heavier materials.

Believe it or not, the many uses of eggs do not even stop here, I’m sure there are plenty more tasks that the apparently-average egg can fulfill. Maybe many haven’t even been discovered yet. All in all, it really pays having some eggs around the house. Whether you’re looking to achieve some wacky goal or you’re simply trying to grab a bite to eat, a couple of eggs could be just the thing you need; especially if there’s some bacon involved.

By My Family Survival Plan

Keep Breathing: Some Of The Best Gas Masks You Can Afford

Keep Breathing: Some Of The Best Gas Masks You Can Afford

We’re all aware of what a gas mask is; at least we have some idea about them. Gas masks (aka. respirators) are heavily used in society. The Police force has them, the Special Forces have them, the firefighters have them, spray painters have them etc. The basic use of a gas mask is to serve as filter for the air you’re breathing in and to stop possible irritants and noxious substances from getting into your respiratory system and affecting you general state your health.

The best gas masks (or respirators) are based on the same principle: the air is pulled into the canister that has a filtering system (on 3 layers: aerosol filter, charcoal filter and dust filter) and then is released towards the interior of the mask; the filtered air is safe to breathe.

The air is sucked into the canister as the wearer breathes. There are also battery operated gas masks, equipped with a fan, that will syphon air inside, but become useless when the batteries die out. There are also some that work just like a scuba breathing system: they don’t have a filtering canister, but a pressurized air canister, that is completely sealed.

A gas mask is a real asset for any serious prepper. It’s an absolute must-have in case of a chemical or biological attack. Works just as well in a combat zone, as it’ll filter out heavy smoke and even dust clouds. There two main types of masks: half masks and full mask. I half mask will cover your mouth and nose only; they’re used in spray painting and are recommended only if you know what contaminant you’re dealing with. In case of an extremely dangerous contaminant or if you simply don’t know what you’re facing, a full gas mask is the way to go. Not only will it cover your respiratory system, but I’ll also protect your eyes and face from dangerous agents, like Anthrax etc.

Israeli Civilian Gas Mask

This gas mask was issued by the Israeli government, is NATO approved and it’s perfect if you consider the quality / price ratio (it costs about $80). Because of the relatively low price and good features, it’s regarded to be as the standard gas mask for civilian protection. It’s best used in an evacuation scenario from a contaminated area. The mask itself is made out of a soft but durable rubber that covers the whole face (full mask); it offers great protection not only for the respiratory system, but also for the entire face. It has extremely efficient filters (NBC filters) that will keep you safe from almost everything, from nuclear and biological agents (like Anthrax) to chemical agents. This particular gas mask comes in both adult and child versions.

M61 Finnish Gas Mask

The MA61 model was developed in Finland and it’s meant to be used as a heavy-duty gas mask. It’s a side-mounted mask, which means the filter is screwed into the side of the mask, rather than in the font. The rubber it’s made from is extremely durable, but rather soft flexible at the same time. Its flexibility means that the mask will incase the face of the wearer perfectly, making it airtight, so that noxious fumes or chemical agents won’t find their way inside. It uses a twin goggle system rather than a single visor. The exhalation system has a plastic valve with an integrated speech diaphragm, for better communication.

ADVANTAGE 1000 CBA-RCA Gas Mask

The 1000 CBA-RCA mask is 100% American and it was developed based on a US Military design that was used by the USAF during the Operation Desert Storm. It has a Hycar face piece which is about 40% lighter than most full gas masks and also a customizable fit. There’s also a standard nose cup to eliminate visor fogging and a mechanical speaking diaphragm. The visor is a one piece that’s extremely tough and offers great field of vision. The canister can be mounted on both the left and the right side and it’s effective against all sorts of biological and chemical agents, like Mustard, Lewisite, GA, GB, GD etc. The head harness is adjustable and stable. There’s also an ID tag attached and it includes a CBA-RCA canister. The whole package comes at about $300.

There are plenty of models that are available on the market, it’s only a matter of personal choice. The price of a certain gas mask does not necessarily reflect its quality, so you don’t have to spend a lot of money for a good product that will filter well and fit great. But you’ll need to educate yourself in the matter a bit so you won’t throw your money out the window. Luckily there’s many manufacturer’s and sellers and price ranges vary from one to the other. So keep hunting for bargains, you’ll most likely find them.

By My Family Survival Plan

Fifteen Uncommon Uses For Toothpaste

Fifteen Uncommon Uses For Toothpaste

Toothpaste comes regularly in paste or gel form, is based mostly on fluoride and it’s used in maintaining the health and aesthetics of teeth by fighting various tooth and gum conditions. But apart from cleaning your teeth, toothpaste can serve a multitude of other household related purposes. Its chemical makeup renders it an all-purpose tool when you might be lacking in many things around the house; but still have toothpaste.

Not only is it cheap and easy to find, but most of us actually keep more than one tube around the house. In what’s to come, we’ll take a look at some uses for toothpaste, non-teeth related purposes that a simple tube of toothpaste can serve.

  1. Remove clothing stains

It works great in removing oily, tough stains from fabrics. Apply toothpaste on the stained area and with a little water, and gently rub the spot. After a minute or so of rubbing, just throw the fabric in the washer. If the stain is old, you’ll most likely need to the toothpaste bit a couple of more times for results to show. It doesn’t work on all fabrics or stains, but it does wonders for ink spots. P.S. don’t use a whitening toothpaste (with bleaching effects) on colored fabrics; a regular toothpaste will do.

  1. Remove carpet stains

It works just as good on carpet fabric as it does on clothing. Just add toothpaste to the affected area and clean the spot with a toothbrush, in a circular motion; much like cleaning your teeth. After scrubbing, rinse and repeat until the spot is gone. The process will get out almost everything and make you carpet brand new. But some stains are resistant to toothpaste, especially if the stain is caused by an acid-based substance. In such a case toothpaste becomes useless.

  1. Remove scuffs

Toothpaste can easily remove leather scuffs. Put some toothpaste on a soft cloth and gently rub the leather surface. After you’re done, rinse the area with a damp cloth. It works on everything that’s made out of leather. The same principle applies to linoleum. 

  1. Whiten piano keys

The ivory white keys can be easily cleaned with a cotton swab that’s been previously dampened in a little water and then in a pinch of toothpaste. Take your time and do it right. It will take some time, but when you’re done, wipe the keys dry and then buff them with a soft, clean cloth and you’ll have brand new piano keys again.

  1. Whiten nails

Whitening peroxide toothpastes will have no problem in polishing and brightening finger and toe nails alike. Whether your nails have been darkened in time due to excessive usage of nail polish or they’re naturally yellowish, there’s still hope. Add toothpaste, brush them carefully with a toothbrush and when you’re all done,  add the finishing touch  and soak them in lemon juice for a couple of minutes.

  1. Shine chrome surfaces

The chromed pieces around the house (especially faucets) will get water stains in time. Because if it’s abrasive nature, toothpaste will act in the same way professional cleaning products for chromed surfaces will. Just add toothpaste to the stains, scrub and rinse with water. You’ll have the chrome pieces shiny and brand new again in no time. 

  1. Remove crayon marks from walls

If your kids have been running amok around the house and you’re stuck with crayon marks all over the walls, don’t panic. There’s hope yet, as long as you have toothpaste (non-gel) around the house. Apart from a toothpaste, you’ll also need a clean rag or a scrub brush. Spread the toothpaste on the wall and scrub it good (preferably in circular motions). The abrasive agents in the toothpaste will remove the colors from the walls eventually.

  1. Remove watermarks from furniture

Even though you might have a ton of coasters around the house, you’re bound to get water marks at some point; they’re unavoidable and just the worst. If you want to clean those right up, simply add some non-gel toothpaste, let it sit for a couple of seconds and rub it off with a soft fabric. Once you’re done scrubbing wipe it off with a dry cloth. Before adding furniture polish make sure the surface is perfectly dry.

  1. Deodorize your hands

Just as toothpaste deodorizes the inside of your mouth, so it can deodorize your hands. If you’ve dealt with anything smelly throughout the day that’s left your hands smelling worse than French cheese, just wash them thoroughly with cold water and toothpaste. The chemicals in the paste will destroy the bacteria that causes the bad smell and will leave your hands smelling great.

  1. Deodorize baby bottles

Toothpaste works just as well in removing the sour milk smell from baby bottles. You’ll need to scrub both the inside and the outside of the baby bottle with a mixture of water and toothpaste. One you’re done scrubbing, rinse with water and then thrown the bottle in the dishwasher and wash regularly. 

  1. Polish silver

Toothpaste can polish everything made out of silver, be it jewelry, silverware picture frames etc. What you’ll need is a regular toothpaste (gel-based aren’t as efficient), a soft, clean cloth or better yet, a toothbrush. Just add some paste on your soft cloth or toothbrush and start scrubbing the silvery surface like there’s no tomorrow. You start to notice the difference in no time, as the tarnish will come off little by little. When you think you’re done, simply rinse and dry off with a dry cloth.

  1. Shine diamonds

If you want to give a precious gemstone that old sparkle back, you just need a regular tube of toothpaste and a soft toothbrush.  Just add a little pate on the toothbrush and start brushing gently until you see the shine returning. When you’re done brushing rinse with water and rub gently with a soft cloth.

  1. Fill holes in the wall

If you’ve have perforated walls which have bothered you for a long time, just know you don’t need Spackle to get the job done. A pinch of toothpaste will work pretty much in the same way when it comes to filling up holes left by nails screws, pins etc. The toothpaste hardens and makes for a great temporary solution. Just beware of how much you’re adding, as too much can make the situation even worse if at some point you decide to deal with the problem properly.

  1. Treat pimples

The adding of toothpaste to an acne affected area is a well-known treatment that has been around for decades. However, adding toothpaste alone won’t solve much, except dehydration of the affected area. For the best result, you should mix toothpaste with crushed aspirin. The toothpaste will dehydrate as usual and the salicylic acids in the aspirin will fight off infection and decrease the inflammation.

  1. Remove cell phone / watch scratches

Your cell phone or watch display will undoubtedly get damaged and scratched with the passing of time, unless of course you have the right protection. If not, tiny marks will start to appear. These are easily removed with toothpaste. Just dip your finger gently in tooth paste and rub the screen. One you’re done rinse with a damp cloth and ultimately dry the surface with a soft cloth.

As you’ve seen by now, having some toothpaste around the house can really pay off. Especially if you find yourself out of certain cleaning products. Cleaning stuff around the house it’s fine, but remember that toothpaste is first of all for cleaning your teeth. Don’t overlook oral hygiene, as teeth health is really important.

10 Uses For Coca Cola You Weren’t Aware Of

10 Uses For Coca Cola You Weren’t Aware Of

This family-friendly soft drink has been around for over a century. It originated in US Georgia as a medicine drink at the end of the 19th century (invented by John Pemberton), but a few years later (at the beginning of the 20th century) it was bought and rebranded by a business man (Asa Griggs Candler) to become the longest-standing and most common brand in the world. Its popularity is undisputable. We might not all like it, but we all know it and we all tried it at least once. Believe it or not, Coke can be used for many other reasons, apart from human consumption. Due to its interesting properties, the fizzy drink in question can be very handy around the house. You can use it to clean stuff, defrost surfaces and even as pesticide. It’s still up for debate whether the drink is harmful for humans or not, but this is a discussion for another time. Don’t drink it if you don’t trust it, but take a look at this 10 uses for coca cola, the wonders it can do in everyday life situations.

  1. Rust remover

Coke is a fizzy drink, and it’s filled of phosphoric acid, which can loosen rust from every surface as long as that object is exposed for a long enough period of time. If we’re talking about rusty tools or other pieces of metal that you’re trying to clean up, you can simply fill a recipient that’s big enough with Coke and place the object you wish to clean inside. Let it stir for a while; after you’ll take it out the rust will be easy to clean if you scrub it with some tin foil and wipe off with a cloth (works especially well on chromed surfaces). It also does wonders on rusty bolts: just spill some cola over the bolt, let it sit, wipe it and give it another go. You’ll be amazed of how well it works.

  1. Oil stain remover

Oil stains are a pain in the neck. It takes only a moment of carelessness for your pavement or garage floor to get stained forever. If you’ve dropped that pesky motor oil (or any type of oily substance for that matter) and made a mess, don’t worry. Just go out and buy a Coca Cola bottle. Spill it over the oil stain and give it a couple of hours to work its magic. When you’re done waiting, simply whose off the stain from the pavement. Because it works so great, some people even use Coke to clean their car engine’s; and with great results too.

  1. Pots and pans cleaner

If you have old and burned pots and pans that have been worn out with time but you still can’t let them go, you’ll be happy to know that a Coke treatment can make them (almost) brand new. To remove those pesky burn stains, simply pour the wonder-soda into the damaged pot or pan and simmer for a while. After you’re done, empty the pot or pan and rinse with water. Wipe it clean and there you have it! Coca Cola works not only for burned spots, but also for cleaning all sorts of build ups and scales.

  1. Coin cleaner

If you’re a hardcore coin collector and want to make your new additions shine like there’s no tomorrow, just fill a glass or jar with Coca Cola and dump the coins in. In about 10 -20 minutes the excess muck will have been dissolved, so dump the soda and take the coins out one by one and wipe them clean. They’ll be shiny and clean.

  1. Defroster

The soda does wonders for defrosting any type of surface, as the acidic compounds melt ice in no time. So defrosting you car windows (or any type of window for that matter) will be no problem at all. Just pour the drink all over the windshield / windows etc. and watch the ice melt in under a minute. After the ice is turned to mush, you can just wipe it off with a cloth or just let it come off on its own in a matter of minutes.

  1. Window cleaner

It can clean windows just as well as it can defrost them. It’s good for any shinny surface for that matter, thanks to the high
amount of citric acid it holds. Normal window cleaners are citric acid-based as well, so there’s not much difference. You can pour Coke over a piece of cloth and wipe the windows with it or put Coke inside a spray bottle, spray it all over and then wipe the surface clean. The choice is up to you, but the outcome will be the same: cleanliness.

  1. Stain remover

It works perfectly well as any other expensive stain remover available on the market. You can pour the soda in the wash, alongside detergent and it will work just fine in removing the stains from your clothes. Also wine stains or blood stains from carpets or similar surfaces won’t be a problem if you pour coke on them as soon as possible. This procedure is not recommended for light fabrics, because Coca Cola is brown. It might remove the red, but it will leave a brown spot in its place.

  1. Toilette cleaner

If you’re out of toilette cleaner but you happen to have some Coca Cola lying around the house, perfect! Just pour the soda inside the toilette bowl and let it sit for a few minutes, just like you would with you regular product. After the time is up, scrub and flush like always. Your bowl will be so sparkly, that no one will be able to tell that you used a fizzy drink instead of a professional product.

  1. Gum remover

If by some reason or another you end up with gum in your hair, the only reasonable thing to do is to cut it off. Well, not really. Just pour some Coke over the “warzone” and wait about 5 minutes. The fizzy drink will break down the stretching properties of the gum and it will make it much easier to pick up and wash off.

  1. Pain reliever

IF you get stung by some nasty creatures (bees, wasp, jellyfish etc.) you’ll be a world of pain. You probably know the main approach to jelly fish stings is urine treatment. Fortunately, making a fool of yourself in public won’t be necessary if you happen to have some Coca Cola on you. Just open the bottle or can and pour it over the affected area. Thanks to the chemical structure of the drink, the pain inducing substances will be neutralized a couple of minutes.

Whether you like Coke as a drink or not, is not up for debate. But having some around the house will undoubtedly come in handy at some point or another. I always keep a couple of bottles, just in case. You never know when you’ll run out of cleaning props or pain relief ointments.

By My Family Survival Plan

Hay Bale Gardening: How To Grow Your Own Veggies Without Fertilizer And Weed-Free

Hay Bale Gardening: How To Grow Your Own Veggies Without Fertilizer And Weed-Free

I’ve been really into gardening lately, trying to find the best techniques and methods for growing fruit or veggies with as little effort or resources as possible. One method that really caught my attention was the straw bale method, a method that is based on planting into straw bales rather than in the ground. You prepare the bales thoroughly and that’s pretty much it. It’s cheap, requires very little care as the method is not pretentious at all and another bonus is that the plants are raised above ground level, which puts them out of the reach of various critters that could take a liking in whatever it is you planted. And not only that, picking the plants will from the straw bales, will be a lot easier than picking them from the ground.  The seemed perfect, but only until I stumbled across the alternative: the HAY bale gardening method, which made the straw bale method seem less appealing all of a sudden.

Hay bale gardening vs. straw bale gardening

For those of you who have very little to do with gardening, there is a major difference between the two. Straw bales are usually comprised from cereal crops stalks (corn, wheat, oat, rye, barley etc.). It’s mostly used for bedding livestock, and apart from carbon, it has no real nutritional value. It’s not inefficient as a surface for growing plants, but it will require regular watering and fertilizers to get the job done. Hay on the other hand, it’s nothing but rich grasses that are mainly a source of rich and
nutritious food for cattle during cold periods (winter time), when the fields are empty. They are filled with nutrients and minerals like nitrogen, potassium, phosphates etc. that vegetables require to grow. It’s exactly this natural cocktail of minerals and nutrients that require no additional fertilizing methods when it comes to hay bale gardening. Hay also holds water more efficiently than straw due to its density and chemical structure. So a hay bale garden requires watering once a day, whereas a straw bale garden will require watering 3 times a day.

Getting started

The first thing you’ll need to start your very own hay bale garden is getting your hands on hay bales. If you have nobody to turn to in your vicinity that could sell or give you the hay bales, you can always go on the internet and find farmers that have hay bales for sale. Once they’re delivered to you, pick a spot to your liking (preferably in your garden) and set them as you see fit. Next you’ll need to prepare the hay bales for the planting process. What’ll you’ll need is some 42-0-0 or even better, some nitrogen. You’ll treat the bales with nitrogen for 5 days; the nitrogen will break down bacteria, fungi and insects into nutritious compost that will serve as “fuel” for your growing plants. If you’re not that keen on spending money on nitrogen or fertilizers, you can just pee on the hay bales for the 5-day period; pee is rich in nitrogen and it’ll get the job done just as efficiently. However, the daily dose of pee a person produces will not be enough for this endeavor, so I suggest you start saving your pee in bottles or containers.

The preparation of the bales will be done over a period of 10 days total before planting. In the uneven days, the bales will be treated with half-a-cup of nitrogen and sprayed with water. During the even days of the 10 day period, the bales will be watered only.

During this process, the temperature inside the hay bales will rise dramatically, most likely to 120°F – 140°F. Although is very unlikely that the bales will simply catch fire, the risk still exists. So water the bales regularly I order to avoid any unwanted incidents. When the “ordeal” is over, the temperature will subside, from how to warm. Once this happens, you can start planting your vegetables. Just add regular seeds, water the hay garden once a day and you’ll be able to pick the fruits of your labor in no time.

Accurate temperature readings using a professional thermometer

Professional tips

  1. The bales should be tightly bound if you want them to hold. Synthetic twine works great and hold the hay bales together just fine during the growing season.
  2. A single bale of hay will hold about two tomato plants, two pumpkin hill, 3 cauliflower plants or 3 broccoli plants; plants cover the same amount of space in the bales as they do in the ground.

  1. Growing tall plants (sunflower, corn etc.) is not advised, as hay bales do not offer such plants the support they need. If you won’t provide these types of plants with a stacking system, they’ll most probably fall over.
  2. You shouldn’t water the bales more than two times a day. There is no danger of drowning the plants, because the water will evaporate quickly; the hay bales will not get drenched like soil would.

This method is very interesting and it seems to give great results even for the rookies. You don’t need much to get started. Just a minimum investment and the will power to get things done. If you’re looking for a cheap and fast alternative to gardening, look no further: hay bale gardening is the way.

By My Family Survival Plan

Your Survival Garden Worst Enemies: Pests You Should Watch Out For

Aphidimage – wikipedia (PLoS Biology) lic. under CC 2.5

Planning and setting up your own survival garden is no easy task. It requires knowledge, precision and a bit of practice to get it done. But once you got the project going, doesn’t mean you can just let nature take care of everything while you relax and await to pick the fruit of your labor. Mother Nature works both ways and that which creates, can also destroy.

Leaving things to chance is not an option, so you have to take your role as a farmer seriously and watch out for those pesky insects, that if left to their devices, can destroy everything you worked so hard for. It takes a bit of studying the phenomenon in order to understand it, so you can identify the type of pest you’re dealing with and what’s the best method to apply according to the amount of damage that has already been inflicted. If the infestation is light, picking the insects by hand should suffice, but if we’re talking heavy infestation, you’ll probably have to resort to insecticides. Next I’m going to walk you through a list comprised of some of the most common garden pests and how to read the signs they leave behind.

Aphids

They are probably THE worst garden pest imaginable, as they have no preferences when it comes to garden vegetables; they simply go for everything that’s green. The easiest signs to read are visual: you know you’ve been attacked by aphids if you happen to find clusters of small, soft-bodied on buds and growth tips. Sticky secretions can also be found from place to place and leaves tend to get curly. Aphids never invade in small numbers and it’s very unlikely hand-picking will do you any good. The best way to deal with them is to spray insecticidal soap or neem oil. There are also specialized poisons that can be sprayed directly on the vegetables, but I strongly advise you to consult a specialist before purchasing or using such products.

Root maggots

They’re food of choice is usually cabbage, carrots, turnips, squashes, spinach and radishes. Their presence is clear if you happen to find wilted plants or yellowish quarter-of-an-inch insects on the root of the plants. The first thing you need to do is to actually stop the flies from laying their eggs near the seedlings: simply put plastic or paper shields about 4 inches in diameter near the plants. If the situation gets out of control, you’ll have no other option but to drench the soil in root maggot insecticide, but do so under the supervision of a professional.

White flies

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These tiny flying insects have a real craving for tomatoes, peppers, egg plants and sweet potatoes. They’re easy to spot as they’ll easily fly around from plant to plant if disturbed. If in large numbers, they can cause serious damage to plants, because they’ll feed on the nutriments of the underside of the leaves. Light infestations can be easily dealt with by simply spraying neem oil or water.

Slugs and snails

They’re not the fastest insects out there (possibly the slowest), but don’t get fooled: they can inflict serious damage to your tomato, carrot, lettuce and turnip crops. They are voracious eaters and if you happen to find irregular patterns of holes in the plant’s leaves or stems, doubled by slime trails leading from plants to plant, you’re dealing with slugs or snails (or both). During the day they rest under all sorts of debris, so removing them out of the way and keeping the garden as tidy as possible will keep you out of harm’s way. But if you’re dealing with infestation, you’ll need more than just a tidied up area. You can simply attract and drown them in shallow pans of beer or special baits that are available on the market.

Borers

They prefer melons, pumpkins, squashes and cucumbers. If you stumble across wilted plants or just wilted growth tips, then you might suspect you have a borer problem. And if you happen to spot small holes drilled in the plants (usually where wilting begins), than you know for sure you have a borer problem. Plants can still be salvaged from borer infestations by simply cutting out the borer, but if they get to infest the base of the plant, it’s compromised and needs to be torn out. In order to avoid such an obnoxious parasite, spray the base of the plants with the right kinds of insecticide during late spring / early summer, but only under the supervision of a professional.

Beetles

There are many varieties of beetles out there and they can affect all sorts of crops imaginable. Beetles don’t need special methods when it comes to detection: they’re easy to spot as many are brightly colored and shiny, and they’re feeding methods leave irregular holes in the foliage. As they’re not that hard to catch, picking them by hand would be a cost-effective method if you’re dealing with light infestation. In the case of heavy infestation, just spray the area with the appropriate insecticide, recommended by a qualified professional.

Gophers

Gophers don’t have very specific cravings, and go for everything they can get their tiny paws on. They’ll voraciously eat any sort of root they’ll stumble across in their underground tunnels. But they also eat the above-ground plant if not disturbed; the mostly prefer carrots, sweet potatoes and peas. If left unattended they can ruin a whole garden in a matter of days.

The most eco-friendly approach in dealing with your gopher problem would be to encourage the presence of birds of prey in the vicinity, by placing bird baths or keeping the garden as tidy as possible so they’re easily spotted by the winged predators. But if the bird method seems a bit drastic, you could just let your dog or cat to roam freely in the garden. Gophers are easily scared and will behave if constantly pressured. Flooding their tunnels is also effective and easy to do.

Dealing with garden pests is no easy task, but it’s not impossible either. There’s a solution to any sort of problem you might stumble upon and nothing can stop you to achieve your goals in survival gardening. But I strongly advise you to never deal with poisons and insecticides on your own, always consult a specialist in the matter before doing so. You not only risk damaging your garden, but also your health. Pest poisons and insecticides are very dangerous if not handled properly.

By My Family Survival Plan

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