Pesky Mosquitoes

Summer is practically here! Summer cookouts, picnics, beach and pool days, going for walks, taking the kids to the playground and the list goes on!  But one thing that can put a halt to all that fun are those itchy, pesky bugs that attach themselves to you and before you can even think to swat at them, more than likely they have already started to feed on your blood!  Yes, I’m talking about the dreaded “mosquito!”
My girls and I were headed out for a walk a few days ago as our plan was to get in some exercise while spending some time together and our local news station approached us randomly to interview us on nonetheless: Mosquitoes in our area! That definitely inspired this post and you can find the news clip below.


They come out of nowhere–the bites itch at night and they keep popping up here and there and everywhere! So what are some ways to make prevent these bug bites?

Here are a few tips I found that works and some that I will be trying throughout the summer:

  • Bug Repellant Spray: Spray liberally before heading outdoors!
  • DynaTrap: this has been a life saver for us! This device emits UV light to lure the mosquitoes in.  After a week or so, check and empty the device.
  • Grow your own mosquito repelling plants (citronella, catnip, basil, peppermint)
    You can crush these leaves and rub the oils on your skin–the natural oils they emit will keep these bugs at bay!
  • Get rid of any standing water in the outdoor areas. (make sure gutters are not clogged so that the water can drain freely from the top of your house) Mosquitos thrive and reproduce in warm, humid and dark areas.
  • Refrain from wearing heavy perfume/cologne or scented body lotions–the sweet smell attracts mosquitos.

How to STOP the itch?

  • Apply apple cider vinegar to bug bites to help stop the itching.
  • Vicks Vapor rub is said to ease the itching. (definitely helps)
  • Honey to soothe the area.
  • Banana peel–rub the inside on the bite for a few minutes.
  • Peppermint oil–a dab on the bite and it relieves the itchiness (TRUTH)
  • Rubbing Alcohol–the cooling effect of the alcohol immediately soothes the bite, reduces the size and swelling. (works for me)

What are some of your methods that works for you and your family to help with these pesky bugs?

 

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Cauliflower Fried Rice


Ok so I’ve totally jumped on the bandwagon of the wonder vegetable: cauliflower! It’s not only packed with Vitamins A, C, K and more but it helps prevent cancer, heart disease and lowers blood pressure. (the list goes on)

I’m Guyanese and Dan is Puerto Rican–we are definitely a rice eating family but with rice the health benefits unfortunately aren’t the same.  Thankfully,cauliflower rice has the same consistency as rice, flavors up nicely and yet has these amazing health benefits! A win-win for sure. 

Below is my recipe for how I made Fried Rice for tonight’s dinner.

Ingredients:

1 bag of cauliflower rice

1 tsp of olive oil

1 green onion (finely chopped)

3 cloves of garlic (chopped)

1 small onion

1/2 cup of cabbage

1/2 tsp low sodium soy sauce

3 leaves fresh basil

1 small hot pepper (if desired)

Directions

In frying pan:  

Heat olive oil;                   

Add onions and garlic to pan;   

Add cauliflower rice and stir to mix in with garlic and onions;                               

Add soy sauce;                                             

When it’s heated through; add the green onions and 1/2 cup of cabbage. (Turn off the heat so the cabbage stays a bit on the crunchy side)

Garnish with basil;

We love spice so I added a hot pepper! 

Enjoy!!! 

Essential Oils? Does it Work?

img_1367

Were you surprised like me? I don’t sell essential oils but I am now convinced that it works. We use a sinus blend of peppermint, lavender and eucalyptus oils! This blend helped us with headaches, coughing, relieving any runny noses which all led to a more peaceful nights rest.

What are some oils that you have tried and can say you saw a difference in using them?

Leave me a comment below💕

Hack Attack

By now most of you are decking the halls, trimming the tree and busily in and out of stores to get all those precious gifts for your family and friends. I had to take a quick moment though to share a few recipes and a quick tip I came across a couple weeks ago.

Still have leftover turkey? Cream of mushroom soup that you didn’t finish or those fried onions?  Well I came up with a quick and easy recipe and now my turkey is finally gone!

IMG_9523 (2)

Turkey Casserole

Ingredients:
Left over Turkey (pull apart)
Can of Cream of Mushroom Soup
Gravy
Fried Onions
Shredded Cheese (Fiesta Blend)

Directions:
Super simple–just pull apart remaining turkey and spread it on the bottom of casserole dish. Add the can of mushroom soup and any extra gravy, mixing together with the turkey. Add about one cup of shredded cheese on top and the fried onions.  Pop in the oven for 35 mins at 350 degrees.  That’s it!  A big plus–it’s completely low carb!  Gotta love that coming off of Thanksgiving!

SHIVAULIE - jalepenos

Jalapeño Poppers–My newest addiction

Ingredients:
Jalapeño peppers (10)
Cream Cheese (8oz)
Bacon (2 strips)
Paprika

Directions:
Heat the oven to 325.
Cook bacon strips on the crispier side
Cut each Jalapeño in half and take out the seeds carefully.  (I use a glove that way the seeds don’t burn my hands or get into the other foods the kids have to eat)
In a mixing bowl add the 8oz of softened cream cheese and 2tsps of paprika. Mix well until combined.
Assemble by filling the Jalapeño halves with the cream cheese mixture.
Line the peppers on the baking sheet and after bacon has cooled, cut small strips to fit on each pepper.
Bake for 20 mins and enjoy!

lumpia

Lumpia–My Mother-in-Law’s recipe and since we were unable to be with family this thanksgiving, I thought, “let me give it a try.”

Ingredients:
Egg roll wrappers
Ground beef, or turkey
1/2 cup Flour
Cut corn (can be from frozen aisle)
2 white potato (finely shredded)
Finely shredded carrots
Shredded Onions
Vegetable oil for frying
Adobo seasoning
Garlic powder
Salt
Pepper

Directions:
In a frying pan, cook the ground meat and as it cooks keep separating it and breaking it apart in small pieces.
Add shredded onions, garlic powder, Adobo seasoning, and salt and pepper. (To taste) Set aside.
Make sure to finely shred the white potatoes.
In another pan, toss the shredded potatoes, shredded carrots, and corn together with a TBS of oil, making sure the potato cooks.
Combine the vegetables with the meat and toss together.

Assembly:
Depending on how big the wrapper is add enough to mixture and pinch close. Roll in flour so it crisps up when being cooked.
When frying, make sure oil is hot and lumpia is submerged in oil or else the wrapper will tend to open up.
Fry til lightly brown and place on a dish lined with paper towels to collect excess oil.
SHIVAULIE - jello

Hacking my Dessert
So this is not a recipe but definitely a tip for any folks that love Jell-O.  Jell-O is so easy to make yet some of us will buy the premade ones because it’s easier to grab and go or you like the portion size.  As I was sitting eating my sugar-free Jello I thought I have all these containers and it takes literally five mins to boil water and get this guilt free dessert in the fridge.
So here is my hack– I made my boxed jello per instructions on the box, poured into these containers and placed it in the refrigerator to set. I leave enough room on top to add a dollop of whipped cream right before eating. (For easy pouring I mixed the packet with water right in the measuring cup)
*One box of Jello makes about 5 of these containers.

Let me know if you try any of these…especially those Jalapeño poppers! Yum!!

 

 

 

Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice

SHIVAULIE - family2015

Everywhere I turn it seems that something is mixed with pumpkin.  There’s pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pies, pumpkin soups, pumpkin spiced lattes and the list goes on and on.  Here in Florida, the fall season is a bit different for us than we are used to.  There really isn’t changing of the leaves or the temps aren’t dipping in the 50s at night, and the kids don’t have to start bundling up in the mornings to head out for school.  Our family is used to all that but this season is quite different.  It’s sunny 85 degrees, shorts and t-shirt weather all day long.  Yet there still is the stir in the air that Fall has begun.  It’s funny to us to see stands set up on the side of the road calling folks to the “pumpkin patch” or how there are scarecrows and carved pumpkins decorated at each door, how it’s so bright and sunny yet the stores are flooded with fall gear. Since our family loves the Fall season, I quickly got some ideas from my favorite site, Pinterest, and brought Fall into our home.  Here are a couple of ideas that are super quick and easy to do.  Remember if I tried it and I think it’s easy or worth it, I will definitely share it with you!

BLOW POP GHOSTS

Blow Pop Ghosts

Things Needed:
Paper Towel or tissues
Sharpie Marker (Black)
Ribbon or string
Blow Pops or Tootsie Pops
Just grab one lollipop–placing it in the center of the paper towel/tissue, 
Bunch the paper towel/tissues together
Tie a piece of string or ribbon (I used ribbon, that way I could write on it or decorate more)
Use sharpie and draw the face
Super easy and the kids think you are amazingly creative–Bonus!

Clementine Pumpkins

Clementine

Things Needed:
Clementine
Celery Sticks
Peel the clementine
Trim the celery sticks down to the size you prefer
Stick the trimmed celery stick into the top of the clementine
Any moms out there trying to get the kids to eat their fruits and vegetables, this works great!  Pack it with their lunch–it will be a hit!

Fall Brew

spice

Things Needed:
Ground Cinnamon
Ground Cloves
Ground Nutmeg
Pumpkin Spice
Add a few dashes of these spices into a cup of boiling water. Let simmer and your home will smell like you just baked a pumpkin pie!
Keep on the stove and just re-boil until you notice the scent isn’t as strong.
Those clementine peels that you were getting ready to toss, add a few to the mixture for an extra fresh scent that will fill the entire home.

Fall

 

Hack Attack

hack
Here we go–some more helpful hacks/tips I use for our family.
My disclaimer: I am not endorsing a product nor am I claiming that I came up with these on my own.
I am a Pinterest fanatic and if I find that it works…I am going to share!
At least you can say you know someone who tried it and it works, right?

Bring the Garden Indoors
       green onion
No special skill required!  You can save a couple bucks at the grocery store with growing your very own green onions.  I do buy one bunch at the grocery store to start the process.  Come home and cut the white part off (the green part use in a dish) plant that in the soil and water when soil feels dry and basically watch it grow.  When you are ready to use, snip off the green and it will keep regrowing with minimal effort from you.

 

 

 


Pack Rats
spacesaverorigThis one really surprised me.  This came in super handy as we moved this past summer.  Space Saver Bags! My concern was we stuff all our clothes in a vacuumed sealed bag but you are telling me that when I open the bag, my clothes won’t be wrinkled causing me even more work?  That’s exactly right!  We did just that.  The only thing you need is a vacuum. These bags can be found just about anywhere now but we got ours from Bed Bath & Beyond, using their 20% off coupons that do NOT expire.  I practically got all the girls clothes down here in those bags and not one wrinkle.

 

Wash Away

washclothsToo good to be true?  If you are always trying to find the newest or latest beauty regimen out there but end up with eh results.  I recommend this simple tip my grandma passed on to me.  I remember her visiting and spending a little longer washing her face yet I didn’t see her with a whole line up of products.  So I asked her one day what she was doing.  She said she just uses a washcloth every day to exfoliate.  No products, no masks, no peels, just a washcloth.  She simply uses warm water which opens up her pores, gently massages her face with the wash cloth focusing on any troublesome areas and uses her moisturizer at the end. That’s it.  I’ve actually made this even simpler by just keeping a washcloth in the shower so I don’t forget to do this. Give it a try–nothing to lose.

 

Spaghetti Squash       

spaghettisquashLet’s squash the subject on this vegetable.  I might be the only person who did not give this a try when the craze came out a while back on how awesome this vegetable is.  Well I am finally jumping on the bandwagon.   It’s not even difficult to cook but it takes a little while in the oven.  So here we go.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds and the stuff in the middle.  (I cut mine length wise)
I put the squash in a shallow dish with about an inch of water to help keep some moisture while baking.
Now pop it in the oven and forget about it for a good 45 mins.  Meanwhile go ahead and you can make your sauce.  The options are limitless.  You can do your typical meat sauce or Alfredo sauce for example, whatever your taste buds crave.
When it comes out of the oven it is quite hot so I will let it cool down for a few minutes before taking my fork to it.  Basically you are shredding out the “noodles.”  It literally comes out like spaghetti noodles.  It isn’t mushy or break apart easily.  The consistency is perfect and you have just saved yourself tons of calories eating this instead of the processed boxed noodles.  My true test–will the kids eat it? YES! So a winner all around for this family!

squashnoodles

After scraping out the cooked squash, you will have all these “noodles.”

If you try any of these, let me know how it works for you!  Happy Hacking! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Hack Attack

Here are a few hacks/tips our family has found useful that I hope you can put to use in your family.

honey

Well Spring kind-of-sorta sprung, right?  One thing that we always have in our home to prep the kids for the season is Honey.  Not just any old honey though.  Quite a few years back I read that the best honey should come from your area.  Since the farms aren’t quite open yet, I buy local honey right at our grocery store!  It might be in the organic aisle but most stores seem to carry this brand.  It’s fairly simple, I just give the kids a teaspoon in the morning and they are good to go. It helps reduce any symptoms from the pollen and keeps itchy free eyes and minimizes any runny noses.  Our kids take it straight but you can sweeten drinks with it or add it to cereal or yogurt.

vicksThis is one of my favorites!  The kids rarely get ear infections and I love this tip that hubby’s grandma gave me.  As soon as one of them complain of their ear hurting, I grab a cotton ball, add a dab of Vicks Vapor Rub and put it in the ear that hurts.  Most mommas know that this complaint comes mostly in the middle of the night and I would do this treatment and they go right back to sleep. The vapors are soothing and it somehow eases the pain and helps to comfort them.  Morning comes and no complaints.  One restful kiddo and momma!

placemat

If you are like me, cleaning the refrigerator can be a task and a half!  There are so many places food and milk, and juices can easily seep in and no matter how much you scrub, the shelves are sticky and it makes your once sparkling new fridge look old and unkept.  So how did I solve this?  Place mats!  I saw this hack and thought can’t be this easy.  But it was.  I went to Walmart, grabbed a few plastic place mats with a design to match our kitchen, came home, cut them to fit onto the shelves and ta–daaa…if there are spills, wipe it up easily with a sponge, if food falls, I got it! No need to slave over that fridge again! Just take the place mat out when you are ready to really clean your fridge and it’s easy peasy plus adds a little flair when you open that refrigerator door.

  FullSizeRender (7)

It seems most women are going the mineral make-up way and this hack can save you a few bucks. I use Bare Minerals and it does take me a while to finish one but this tip is for when you think your foundation is done.  You tap and tap and nothing comes out so it must be done, right?  Gotta get to the store but wait…

FullSizeRender (5) FullSizeRender (3)

Just flip it over and pop off the back and there you go, you can now get to the remaining powder that couldn’t come out of the tiny holes before.  Now you can put off going to the store for another week or two.

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