Sunday, December 15, 2013

Is Kindle Self Publishing Worth the Effort?


Having been on the internet since 1997, I have tried out a lot of different things to make money with my writing. From websites to content mills to micro-tasks, and now I am doing Kindle self publishing. Of all the methods for writers to make money online, I have found Kindle self publishing to be the most lucrative.

The website I ran did great while it lasted. I monetized using Amazon.com (my top money maker on the site), Commission Junction, and AdSense. On the downside, I had a lot of problems with content theft and, after much battling with every teenager who wanted to build a site similar to my own, I gave up and got rid of the website.

I went on to work for the content mills. I drilled out a lot of content with only a tiny bit of return. I was not making close to what I made on my main website and I was doing 5 times the work.

My latest online job is writing books for Kindle. I have 4 active pen names that I write under, and I am earning more from Kindle than I did with the website and writing for content mills.

Is Kindle self publishing worth the effort? It is for me. I self publish non-fiction books that are roughly 50 pages in length each. I am making a decent living off the sales, and I am anxious to get more published.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Can You Make Money Publishing an Ebook?


Many people ask this question while dreaming of seeing their name in print and bringing in the millions. I have news for you, this seldom happens (the millions of dollar part). But, if you tone down your dreams and work to build good, interesting, well-written books, then yes, you can make a decent amount of money publishing ebooks.

Most people who make a living wage publishing their ebooks have well over 20 ebooks up for sale. If you are aiming to make 6 digits a year, you will need to write more books - perhaps over 100 books.

The more ebooks you publish, the better. That is my personal motto.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Can You Make Money Writing a Book?


I publish Kindle books under various pen names. Yes, a person can make money writing books. The trick is to be able to write well. If you are a terrible writer or English is a second language for you, chances are slim to none that you will be able to make money publishing books. If you are determined, you will need to hire a good editor who can read through and correct your grammar and trim up your sentence structure.

If you are good at writing, you will next need a topic to write about. Non-fiction writing is a popular "sport" because many people find research and writing easy to do. There are others that write fictional stories and sell them for 99 cents on Kindle. You won't make a lot of money on just one book, but if you have 50 or more fictional works up for 99 cents and they are good, quick reads, you will make a nice chunk of change.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

How to Freeze Muffin Batter


The majority of muffin recipes make 12 or more muffins. If only one or two people are going to be eating the muffins, a dozen or more muffins are simply too much to make at one time. Besides, you like the muffins when they are fresh out of the oven. One way to make the most of your muffin batter and always have freshly baked muffins is to freeze the muffin batter.

First you will need to fill a muffin tin with foil liners, not the paper ones. Fill the liners with the muffin batter and freeze. Once the batter is completely frozen, an hour or more, transfer the frozen muffins, liner and batter, into a freezer bag. Store in the freezer until ready to use. When ready, remove the amount of muffins your want to bake. Place them back into the muffin tin, and bake as you normally would, adding an extra 8 minutes or more to the time. Bake until done.

Substitute for Brown Sugar

 Brown sugar is sugar with a small percentage of the molasses (a by-product of sugar) left in. If you find yourself without brown sugar, you can substitute it by mixing molasses with granulated sugar. For each cup of granulated sugar you need, add 2 teaspoons molasses.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Shelf Life of Baking Powder


Once opened, baking powder has a short shelf life. In the best of conditions, cool temperature and no dampness, it may last up to a year and a half. In less than ideal conditions, baking powder will last only 3 months.

To test the potency of an opened container of baking powder, mix 1/4 teaspoon baking powder with 1 tablespoon of water. If it bubbles, the baking powder is still good.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Get Natural Vitamins and Minerals from the Food You Eat


You don't need to spend a fortune on buying vitamins. Consider, instead, getting your vitamins and minerals from natural food sources. The benefits of doing this include:

  • Learning to eat healthier.
  • Possible weight loss as you cut out the foods that don't provide you with healthy nutrition.
  • You and your family will feel healthier.

Here is a list of vitamins and minerals and the foods you can get them from naturally.

Vitamin A

  • Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables
  • Butternut squash
  • Cantaloupe
  • Carrots
  • Cayenne
  • Dried apricots
  • Liver
  • Paprika
  • Sweet potatoes
Vitamin B6
  • Tuna
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Potatoes
  • Cod
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Spinach
  • Banana
  • Avocado
Vitamin B12
  • Oysters
  • Mussels
  • Liver
  • Smoked salmon
  • Herring
  • Tuna
  • Canned sardines
  • Crab
  • Crayfish
  • Shrimp
  • Lobster
  • Soy
Beta Carotene
  • Peppers
  • Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Dandelion greens
  • Mustard greens
  • Pumpkin
  • Chard
  • Collards
  • Fresh parsley
  • Fresh basil
  • Sweet potato
  • Winter squash
  • Oranges
  • Peaches
  • Cantaloupe
Bioflavonoids
  • Citrus fruits
  • Green peppers
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Broccoli
  • Strawberries
  • Brussel sprouts
Biotin
  • Molasses
  • Swiss chard
  • Brewer's yeast
  • Carrots
  • Soy
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Oats
  • Peanuts
  • Cauliflower
Boron
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Peanuts
  • Beans
  • Corn
  • Prunes
Vitamin C
  • Citrus fruits
  • Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Broccoli
  • Tomatoes
  • Cantaloupe
  • Chives
  • Parsley
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Horseradish
  • Taro
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Pears
Calcium
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Tofu
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sardines
  • Spinach
  • Collard greens
  • Scallops
Chromium
  • Brewer's yeast
  • Broccoli
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Oysters
  • Thyme
  • Whole grains
  • Black pepper
Copper
  • Liver
  • Nuts
  • Oysters
  • Cocoa
  • Sesame seeds
  • Cherries
  • Lobster
  • Mushrooms
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Basil
  • Marjoram
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Parsley
Vitamin D
  • Fish oil
  • Herring
  • Catfish
  • Oysters
  • Salmon
  • Halibut
  • Trout
  • Sardines
  • Shrimp
Vitamin E
  • Wheat germ oil
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Almonds
  • Corn oil
  • Hazelnuts
  • Peanuts
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Tomato
Folic Acid
  • Spinach
  • Liver
  • Beans
  • Kale
  • Oranges
  • Chicken
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Pork
Iron
  • Red meat
  • Swiss chard
  • Dried apricots
  • Chicken
  • Parsley
  • Fish
  • Spinach
  • Tofu
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Peas
  • Coconut
  • Beans
  • Olives
  • Lentil sprouts
Vitamin K
  • Parsley
  • Swiss chard
  • Kale
  • Watercress
  • Spinach
  • Mustard greens
  • Fresh basil
  • Collards
  • Dandelion greens
  • Endive
  • Lettuce
Lecithin
  • Oats
  • Soy
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Eggs
  • Seaweed
Magnesium
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Kale
  • Sesame seeds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Cashews
  • Almonds
  • Pine nuts
  • Beans
  • Whole grains
  • Bananas
  • Avocados
  • Dark chocolate
Niacin
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Pork
  • Liver
  • Peanuts
  • Mushrooms
  • Beef
  • Peas
Potassium
  • Beans
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Kale
  • Collards
  • Potatoes
  • Dried apricots
  • Acorn squash
  • Zucchini
  • Yogurt
  • Fish
  • Mushrooms
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
Riboflavin
  • Coffee
  • Yogurt
  • Beef
  • Cottage cheese
  • Pork
  • Lamb
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Chicken
Thiamin
  • Whole grain wheat and rye
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pork
  • Fish
  • Oats
  • Brown rice
  • Coriander leaves
  • Poppy seeds
  • Sage
  • Nuts
  • Green peas
  • Paprika
  • Mustard seed
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
Zinc
  • Endive
  • Oysters
  • Squash
  • Zucchini
  • Crab
  • Spinach
  • Beef
  • Asparagus
  • Mushrooms
  • Chicken
  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • Parsley

Sunday, December 1, 2013

How to Grow Long Healthy Hair Naturally


We all want it - long healthy hair that shines naturally. For the past 2 decades, I have practiced numerous natural methods for growing long, healthy hair and I have tried many store products. The natural methods work. The store products, however, never worked for my hair and often did more damage to my hair.

Apricot Kernel Oil

Apricot kernel oil is a light oil. It is a popular natural massage oil because it quickly absorbs into the skin. As a oil treatment for hair, it is wonderful and is easily washed out so that your hair is left soft and not greasy.

To use apricot kernel oil as a hair treatment, simply put a small amount of it in the palm of your hand and massage it into your hair. Wrap your hair in a towel to keep the warmth on your head and allow the oil to absorb for 30 minutes. Wash your hair as you normally do and your hair should feel softer after it is dry.

Coconut Oil

I became a staunch coconut oil user a few months ago. Coconut oil is very healthy for you and it can be eaten to help give your hair a natural shine. I eat about a tablespoon a day of extra virgin coconut oil. Within the first month, my hair began to show a natural shine. My skin, too, developed a healthy glow.

Using coconut oil as an oil treatment for your hair is very simple. Once a week, if you have damaged hair, put a small amount (less than half a teaspoon as this oil covers a lot of territory) of coconut oil in your hand. Let your body heat warm and melt the oil in your hand. Massage the oil into your hair and scalp. Leave it in for at least 30 minutes or overnight. Wash your hair as you normally do. After a month of doing this every monday, my hair growth was healthy and my dry, brittle ends were no longer frizzy.

Biotin

There are health supplements that are said to improve the health of hair. Biotin is the most popular, but you needn't buy expensive supplements when you can learn to make slight changes to your diet to increase your biotin intake naturally.

You can get biotin naturally by eating:


  • brewer's yeast
  • cauliflower
  • raw egg yolk (the yellow)
  • lentils
  • liver
  • molasses
  • oats
  • peanuts
  • soybeans
  • swiss chard
  • walnuts
  • wheat bran


Create a Routine

The hardest part of improving the health of your hair is creating a routine and sticking to it. However, if you make small changes, you are less likely to fail.

For example, set up a chart for yourself. Choose one day a week to give your hair an oil treatment. Set up a daily reminder to eat something with biotin in it, such as a 1/4 cup of walnut or a tablet of brewer's yeast. Try eating a spoonful of unrefined coconut oil eat day to give your hair a natural shine.

Make your changes small and, in time, you will have healthier hair, naturally.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Switching Fruit Puree for Sugar


Reducing the amount of sugar you use in baking and replacing it with fruit puree will reduce your calorie intake. Fruits already have natural sugars and, according to the USDA, are a part of the fruit's total nutrient package. Added sugars, such as white sugar, brown sugar, and corn syrup, contribute an average of 16 percent of the calories in American diets. You can reduce unnecessary sugars by substituting health fruit purees.

Fruit Purees Used For Baking

Applesauce is a common fruit puree used as a sugar substitute in baking. Other fruit purees that are suitable for baking include pear, peach, prune, and apricot puree. Berries, with the exception of cranberries, do not make a good puree to use in baking. This is because the strong flavor and coloring of most berries will negatively alter the taste and appearance of the baked goods.

Sweet Vegetable Purees

Vegetables that are naturally sweet can be used to replace the sugar in some recipes. Sweet vegetable purees include sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and squash.

Replacing Sugar With Puree

As a general rule when making desserts and breads, you can substitute 1 cup of sugar with 1/2 cup fruit puree and 1/2 cup sugar. If you are just beginning to cut back on sugar, you can replace a smaller amount of sugar with fruit or vegetable puree. As you experiment with your recipes and slowly decrease your sugar consumption, you can increase the amount of puree that you use.

Homemade Fruit Puree

To make your own fruit puree for use in baking, remove skins and seeds. Cut fruit into chunks and simmer in water until it is soft. You can then puree the fruit in a blender or food processor. Soft fruits, such as peaches and pears do not need to be cooked beforehand. You can throw skinned and cut soft fruits directly into the blender or food processor and puree.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

How to Make a Small Batch of Pumpkin Pie Spice


Every autumn, I have a need for pumpkin pie spice, but I never have any on hand. Instead, I've started to make my own in small batches - just enough for the autumn season when I am busy making homemade pumpkin pies and pumpkin breads. This recipe makes 2 tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice.

What you need:
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground mace

Mix ingredients in a small bowl and store in a small, clean container.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Can You Make money Writing a Book?


No, you can't make money writing a book, BUT you can make money by publishing a book. Who you publish with will determine you possibilities. Right now, many people believe that traditional publishing is on its way out. By being able to cut out the middleman (traditional publishers), writers are discovering they can make more money and get higher royalties by publishing with one of the online ebook publishers.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Can You Make Money While You Sleep?


Making money while you sleep can be very exciting. However, when you are just starting out, you will probably only be making pennies. Unless you build up a quick following and work full-time on creating new content, it will take time to start earning anything substantial overnight.

From my personal experience of trying out just about every method for bring in passive income, most methods will probably not work. What does work, however, is being able to write and/or produce videos on popular topics or for you to get lucky and have something trend. Even then, you will need to continue producing more and more content because after something trends, it also has a fast decay rate.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Swapping Light and Dark Brown Sugar


Light and dark brown sugar have different amounts of molasses in them. Molasses is a by-product of the sugar making process. When brown sugar is made, it is first refined into white sugar and then a small amount of the molasses is added back into the sugar to give it a soft or strong molasses flavor.

You can swap light brown sugar for dark brown sugar, and vice versa. The only change will be in the flavor of the item your are baking.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Shelf Life of Cornstarch


Cornstarch is used as a thickener. People use it to thicken meat juices and turn it into gravy. Cornstarch is also used to thicken pies. After the box is open, the shelf life of cornstarch is 18 months. To prevent cornstarch from moisture, transfer the cornstarch to a clean, dry jar after the box is open.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Shelf Life of Honey


After opening, the shelf life of honey is one year. Honey should be kept at room temperature. Cold temperatures will make the honey crystallize. If this happens, set the jar of honey in a pan of hot tap water until the crystals are gone.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

How to Make Soft Biscuits


For many years, I made biscuits with all-purpose flour. Then, I read about making biscuits with cake flour and I tried it out by simply replacing the all-purpose flour with cake flour in my normal recipe. What a difference! The biscuits made with cake flour were much softer than the ones I have been making all these years with all-purpose flour.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Shelf Life of Baking Soda


After a box of baking soda is opened, it is only good for up to 6 months. Baking soda has the tendency to absorb odors and moisture. To prevent this from happening, store the baking soda in a clean, dry jar.

To test the potency of an opened box of baking soda, add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda to 1 tablespoon of vinegar. If it bubbles, it is still good to use for baking.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Reasons to Take Garlic Supplements


Eating raw garlic cloves can be a mouth burning adventure, especially for people who are use to eating bland foods. Eating raw garlic can also cause burping, bad breath, and a bad body odor. For these and other reasons, people turn to taking garlic supplements.

Types of Garlic Supplements

Odorless garlic supplements - These pills give you all the benefits of garlic without the powerful odor. Odorless supplements should not cause any bad body odors.

Garlic oil soft gels - Taking garlic oil in a soft gel eliminates the need to chew a garlic clove, but it also has the garlic smell.

Allicin tabs - Allicin is extracted from garlic. These tablets are generally odorless and provide users with a main nutrient in garlic.

Why Take Garlic Pills


  1. To avoid having to eat raw garlic. Eating garlic is healthy. Taking supplements helps you make garlic a part of your everyday life.
  2. As a diuretic, to help increase the flow of urine.
  3. Expectorant. It helps clear out mucus from the throat and lungs.
  4. To protect yourself against colds.
  5. To help fight off bronchial infections.
  6. To help lower blood pressure.
  7. Reduce cholesterol.
  8. Gives you protection against heart disease.
  9. Many believe that garlic helps fight cancer.
  10. A natural antibiotic.
References:

The Complete Book of Natural and Medicinal Cures by The Editors of Prevention Magazine Health Books.
Modern Encyclopedia of Herbs by Joseph M. Kadans, N.D., Ph.D.

Also check out the 10 reasons why I use coconut oil.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Resources for Starting Your Own Campground

Starting a campground is something I have thought of doing for nearly 3 decades - ever since my mom started taking me camping. Now, at age 40, I am looking into the idea more seriously. Some questions I have had to ask myself include:


  1. Do you live in an area that attracts tourists?
  2. Are you willing to move to an area that attracts tourists?
  3. Is the campground going to be a place where people stay to sleep and visit local attractions or will you be designing family activities to keep people busy during the day at your campground (ex. swimming pool, boating and rentals, nature trails)?
  4. What is the cost of land in the areas you are willing to move to?
  5. Will the park be open during the summer season or all year round?
  6. Can you afford to buy a campground that has already been built and established?
  7. Will you be joining a campground franchise, such as KOA?
After choosing areas that I am willing to move to and doing further internet research, it was time to purchase books that would further help me on my path to living one of my longtime dreams. Unfortunately, there are few books on the subject, but I managed to cobble a small reference library to help me gain more knowledge on starting a campground.

Starting Your Own Primitive Campground

Saturday, November 2, 2013

10 Houseplants You Can Grow From Seed

Growing houseplants from seed is a fun activity. As a hobby, it can even earn you a bit of cash on the side as you sell the plants you have carefully started and grew.

There are many houseplants you can grow from seeds and the seeds are easily ordered from online nurseries.

African Violets - I am told that it is tricky to grow african violets from seeds and, truth be told, I have only ever started african violets from cuttings. There are some online nurseries that sell african violet seeds for the adventurous.

Aloe Seeds - You can get a packet of different aloe seeds online at places like Amazon.com. 20 Aloe Seeds Mix.

Begonia Seeds - You can grow a number of begonias from seeds. The best place to find the seeds is at online nurseries.

Cactus Seeds - I have always had good luck growing cacti from seeds. The trick with these babies is to not over water and to use the proper soil. Many places carry cactus seeds. 50 FINEST MIXED CACTUS Flower Seeds.

Coffee Bean Seeds - Yes, you can grow a coffee bean tree inside your home. There are seeds, books, and kits available online.

Coleus Seeds - A great beginners seed growing project. If I remember correctly, these were the first houseplant seeds I grew when I was in my pre-teens. Very easy.

Hens and Chicks - My mother would always grow these plants on her windowsills when I was growing up. They are such wonderfully neat plants that can be grown from seeds. The seeds are widely available. Hens & Chicks 200 Seeds.

Living Stones - These odd looking plants are difficult to grow from seeds, but are well worth the effort. Living Stones 10 Seeds.

Ornamental Pepper Seeds - These seeds aren't as popular as cactus or aloe seeds, but some people have the green thumb for growing these plants from seeds.

Polka Dot Seeds - These are popular summer plants that can be grown indoors and out. They are not difficult, from my experience, to start from seed.

Friday, November 1, 2013

List of 15 Cat and Dog Safe Houseplants


I love my kitties, but sometimes they like to get into things, such as my houseplants. It is important to know what houseplants are safe to grow in the main areas of your home.

African Violet - Saintpaulia spp. A common and popular houseplant, African Violets are safe to have in homes where there are cats and dogs.

Bamboo Palm - Chamaedorea elegant. Sometimes called a Good Luck Palm, this houseplant is non-toxic to cats and dogs.

Bold Sword Fern - Nephrolepis biserrata. A fern commonly grown in hanging baskets. It is not poisonous to cats and dogs.

Boston Fern - Nephrolepis exalt bostoniensis. A common hanging fern, this houseplant is non-toxic to cats and dogs.

Button Fern - Pellaea rotundifolia. A precious fern you can easily and comfortably grow in your home. Safe for cats and dogs.

Chickens and Hens - Echeveria elegans. This plant is so much fun to grow and it is safe for cats and dogs.

Christmas Cactus - Schlumbergera bridgesii. I have always loved these plants and was given one almost every year, but I never had any luck with them. This plant is not poisonous to cats and dogs.

Christmas Dagger Fern - Polystichum acrostichoides. This wonderful fern stays green all year and is a great houseplant. What's more, it isn't poisonous to cats and dogs.

Collinia Elegans - Chamaedorea elegans. Sometimes called a good luck palm, this plant is safe for cats and dogs.

Dinteranthus Vanzylii - A beautiful flowering houseplant that is safe for cats and dogs.

Earth Star - Cryptanthus bivattus minor. This neat little houseplant is safe to grow in homes with cats and dogs.

Lace Flower Vine - Episcia dianthiflora. This flowering houseplant is not toxic to cats and dogs.

Parlor Palm - Chamaedorea elegans. This lovely houseplant is thankfully not poisonous to cats and dogs.

Pink Splash - Hypoestes phyllostachya. These pretty houseplants are generally non-toxic to cats and dogs. However, with ingestion, they can cause mild vomiting or diarrhea in pets.

Saint Bernard's Lily - Chlorophytum bichetti. A pretty houseplant, it is not toxic to cats and dogs.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

How to Naturally Get Rid of Worms in Dogs

Having grown up with dogs, I know the misery that worms can bring them. The pills from the vet worked, but there is another simple remedy for getting rid of worms in dogs: horseradish.  To use, you are supposed to chopped the root finely and add small amounts of it to their food. The root is also said to improve the dog's body tone.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

How to Make Caramel Syrup at Home

Making a caramel syrup to pour over desserts and fresh fruits is so easy that you will probably kick yourself after you make it for the first time.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup granulated sugar or packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup boiling water


Instructions

  1. Set two small saucepans on the stove. Add 1 cup of water to one saucepan. Set to boil.
  2. Put 1 cup of sugar in the second saucepan. Slowly melt the sugar over medium-low heat. Stir constantly and allow the sugar to brown, not scorch (burn).
  3. Add the boiling water to the sugar. Do not add cold water to the sugar because the water will spatter and burn you when it touches the hot sugar.
  4. Continue to stir sugar and water until you have a thick syrup.
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Store caramel syrup in a glass jar in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

How to Make an Easy Cottage Cheese Spread


Easy recipes, such as spreads for crackers, are a great way for a beginner in the kitchen to build his or her self confidence. This is another easy recipe to make. The dip is delicious when served with crackers.


  • 1 pint cottage cheese, any size curd
  • 2 Tbsp chili sauce
  • Dash onion salt


Put all three ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Mix with a blender until whipped. Place spread in a bowl and serve chilled.

Monday, October 28, 2013

13 Common Herbs That Bees Love

Bees love flowering herbs just as much as we do. Here is a list of thirteen common herbs you can grow for the bees to enjoy or you can avoid growing (or simply grow further away from the house) if you are allergic to bee stings.

1. Angelica (Angelica archangelica)
2. Basil, Sweet (Ocimum anisum)
3. Borage (Borago officinalis)
4. Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
5. Dill (Anethum graveolens)
6. Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
7. Lavender (Lavandula officinalis)
8. Lemon Balm (Melissa offinalis)
9. Marjoram, Sweet (Majorana hortensis)
10. Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
11. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
12. Sage - all sages
13. Thyme - all thymes

Sunday, October 27, 2013

How to Make an Easy Blue Cheese Dip


Blue cheese has got to be my all-time favorite cheese. It is so easy to make into delicious dips, like this one.


  • 1/2 lb cottage cheese
  • 2-1/2 oz crumbled blue cheese
  • 6 Tbsp sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp minced onion


Mix all 4 ingredients together. Place in small bowl and surround with vegetable sticks.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The 10 Best Fruits for Sun Drying


Certain fruits are best for sun drying. Other fruits, such as bananas, are best when dried in a dehydrator. This is because fruits need to have high sugar and acid content to dry well in the sun.

1. Apples

I have had a lot of success drying apple slices in the sun. I use apples grown locally and I do not use a pretreatment other than a light soaking in lemon water.

2. Apricots

Apricots dried in the sun are great fruit leathers. They are also incredibly sweet and make a fantastic addition to breads and cooked oatmeal.

3. Cherries

Pit the cherries before drying. Add to quick breads or make into pies.

4. Coconut, shredded

Shredded coconut is very easy to dry and tastes fantastic.

5. Currants

Dry currants and use them in place of raisins in your recipes.

6. Grapes

Dry seedless grapes and have your very own, healthy raisins.

7. Peaches

Sun dried peaches are very delicious fruit leathers. When I make these, the kids eat them long before the winter starts.

8. Pears

Sun dried pears taste like candy. I slice the pears, dry them, and store them with a light dusting of confectionary sugar.

9. Pineapple

Buy a pineapple, chunk it or cut into rings and dry. Very delicious and can be eaten in place of candy.

10. Plums

Make your own prunes by drying pitted plums.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Top 4 Reasons to Sun Dry Fruits and Vegetables


Living in Pennsylvania, the weather isn't always perfect to sun drying fruits and veggies, but I do try and plan out when I will sun dry goods with the harvest and weather patterns. During the traditional hot, dry days of August, I have had much success at drying fruits and vegetables in the sun. There are a number of reasons why I prefer this method of drying goods.

1. Cheap.

It is inexpensive to dry fruits and vegetables in the sun. You don't have to use extra electricity. Your only purchase is the drying racks and netting which you can easily make on your own.

2. Fun for the Family.

If you have small children, drying fruits and veggies in the sun is fun and exciting to them. It also gets them interested in using and eating the dried goods because they either saw the items drying or because they took a part in the preparation and eating the stuff them helped make gives them a sense of pride.

3. Dry Bunches at a Time.

If you use a small dehydrator, you, like me, may get frustrated at only being able to dry a small amount of fruits and vegetables at a time. With sun drying, you can dry a lot of goods at the same time. And, if you're up to it, you can keep on drying with your dehydrator as well. The more you put away for winter use, the better.

4. Rig Up Some Solar Drying for Fun.

Research solar ovens. I did this a few years back and turned it into a homeschooling project. Simple solar ovens are fun and educational to make. They also make the most use out of the sun and help to dry fruits and vegetables faster.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

How to Store Dried Fruits and Vegetables


After you have dried your fruits and vegetables, you will need to store them properly. Storing dried goods is far easier than storing canned goods and it takes up less room than storing frozen goods.

Storage Temperature

It is important to keep dried goods away from heat. If possible, store dried goods in an area that is below 60 degrees F (16 C). Dried goods stored at cold temperatures will last far longer than dried goods stored at higher temperatures. If the area you are storing the dried goods is 80 to 90 degrees F (27 to 32 C), your dried goods will probably only last for about 6 months before starting to deteriorate.

Avoid Sunlight and Moisture

Store dried goods in a dark, cool, and dry area. Sunlight and moisture will cause the dried food to deteriorate quickly.

Packaging

Packs all dried good tightly with as little air as possible. Make sure that containers are moisture proof and airtight. If storing in plastic bags, store the bags inside solid containers to avoid the possibility of rodents getting into the bags. Vacuum packing dried fruits and vegetables is an excellent way to preserve quality.

How Long to Store

While properly dried and stored fruits and vegetable can last for years, it is best to use all dried goods within 1 year of storage. After this length of time, the items begin to lose their taste and nutritional value. For my own family, I would only dry and store enough fruits and vegetable to last for the winter and spring. This would ensure that there was no waste and I did not have to worry about exceeding the 1 year limit.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

10 Reasons Why You Should Dry Your Own Fruits and Vegetables


I began drying fruits and vegetables over a decade ago, when my now teenage young adults were little. It was an exciting time, filled with trial, error, and success. Here are the top ten reasons as to why we would dry our own fruits and vegetables, and why we are preparing to do it again next summer.

1. The Cost.

Buying (or better yet, growing your own) fruits and vegetables while in season and then drying them is less expensive than buying dried fruits and vegetables.

2. Healthy.

When you dry your own fruits and vegetables, you eliminate the worry over additives and chemicals some food processors use when preparing food for the grocery store.

3. Freshness.

You know when your fruits and veggies were dried. They aren't something that has been sitting around in a warehouse or on a grocery shelf for goodness knows how long.

4. Food Storage.

You can create a large stock of food by drying your own fruits and veggies. If you worry about hard times or the event of a natural disaster where you might lose electricity for days or weeks, you need to look into drying your own food. Because…

5. No Need for Electricity.

You don't need electricity to prepare your dried fruits and vegetables for consumption. Heck, you don't even need electricity to dry your fruits and veggies.

6. Lightweight.

Dried fruits and veggies are lightweight and easy to carry. Dried fruits are great for backpacking.

7. Taste Delicious.

Dried fruits are great for adding to your homemade breads and oatmeal. Dried veggies can be added to soups. They add great flavor to what might otherwise be a meager meal.

8. Take Up Little Room.

Another great thing about storing dried fruits and veggies is that, once dried, they take up very little room. I prefer to store my dried fruits and veggies in glass jar, but other people are fine with storing them in plastic containers and bags.

9. Sense of Accomplishment.

When you have mouths to feed, a back stock of food gives you a sense of security. As you prepare and dry your fruits and veggies, and watch your back stock grow, you gain a strong sense of accomplishment and well-being.

10. Fun.

What can I say? Drying fruits and veggies is fun. The kids can get involved, and the entire family can take part in an assembly line around the kitchen table by washing, drying, cutting, de-seeding, and spreading out the fruits and veggies.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

How to Easily Make Chicken Gravy for Mashed Potatoes


You can easily make gravy for your mashed potatoes without having to bake any meat. This recipe for chicken gravy is so easy to make, even a beginner will be able to accomplish it without difficulties.


  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tsp parsley flakes


In a medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add the all-purpose flour and stir until blended and smooth. Slowly add in chicken broth while continuing to stir. Keep stirring until the gravy has thickened. Stir in parsley flakes. Allow to simmer for another 3 minutes or so. Remove from heat. Serve over mashed potatoes or biscuits.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Pennsylvania Dutch Ginger Vinegar Punch


While vinegar drinks are popular among the Pennsylvania Dutch and the Amish, I am still trying to get used to them. Here is another vinegar drink recipe you can make if you, like me, are trying to drink healthier drinks.


  • 1 quart ice water
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 Tbsp ground ginger


Mix all ingredients together. Serve immediately.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Pennsylvania Dutch Vinegar Punch (Essich Schling)


Vinegar is good for you, but I find drinking it to be very difficult. I have been trying, though. The last time I stopped at the local Amish store, I bought a vinegar drink for the ride home and forced myself to drink the whole thing.

This recipe for vinegar punch makes just 1 serving. It is very easy to make and, if you are also trying to add vinegar to your diet, this may make the experience more palatable.


  • 3/4 cup ice water
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda (optional, for fizz)
  • dash of nutmeg
  • Sugar to taste


Mix ingredients in a glass and serve right away.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

How to Make a Spicy Cheese Dip for Veggies


Cheese makes the veggies go down so much faster and more easily than no cheese at all. This spicy cheese dip is great with raw celery sticks, carrots, peppers, broccoli, and cauliflower.


  • 6 Tbsp cottage cheese, curd doesn't matter
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp prepared mustard
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice


All all ingredients to a small mixing bowl. Mix with electric beater until smooth. Scrape into small bowl and serve with raw veggies.

Friday, October 18, 2013

How to Make a Sage Cottage Cheese Dip for Veggies


This dip made with cottage cheese as a base and flavored with powdered sage and onion, goes great with celery and carrot sticks.


  • 1 cup cottage cheese, any size curd
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp minced onion
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage powder
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt
  • Dash pepper


Add all ingredients to a small mixing bowl. Mix with electric beater until smooth. Put in small bowl and surround with celery and carrot sticks.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Anchovy and Onion Dip


Anchovies are great on pizza and they are great when made into a snack spread. This very easy recipe makes the perfect amount of anchovy spread for when company is coming over.


  • 1/2 cup soft butter
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp anchovy paste
  • 1/4 cup minced celery
  • 1 Tbsp minced onion


Mix all ingredients until well blended. Place in small bowl and serve with crackers or bagel chips.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

How to Make an Easy Cheese Dip for Corn Chips


Corn chips are addicting and they should be made illegal. Until that time, however, try out this easy corn chip dip.


  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 3 Tbsp light cream
  • 1 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp mustard (prepared mustard from a bottle, not dry mustard)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice


Mix all ingredients together until well blended. Place in small bowl and set corn chips around it.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

10 Common Herbs That Repel Insects

Herbs can be grown for many purposes: for the kitchen, for bees, for perfumes and cosmetics, teas, and more. Another reason to grow herbs is to help repel insects. Grow these herbs by your home and use them for sachets inside your home.


  1. Anise
  2. Basil, Sweet
  3. Catnip
  4. Garlic Chives
  5. Lavenders - all varieties
  6. Mints - all varieties
  7. Parsley
  8. Rosemary
  9. Sages - all varieties
  10. Thyme, Garden

Monday, October 14, 2013

How to Make Tuna Dip for Crackers


I love tuna salad, but I hate making the stuff. This simple tuna dip for crackers, however is super easy to make and tastes great with Ritz crackers.


  • 1/2 cup soft butter
  • 1/4 stuffed olives, chopped
  • 1 can tuna, drained (I've done with with many kinds of tuna. The recipe is not picky.)


Mix all three ingredients together and serve in a small dish surrounded by a plate of crackers.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Buying and Selling Used Books for Profit

Do You Love Books?

Have you ever dreamed of owning a bookstore? Does spending your days surrounded by books sound like a dream come true? Yes? Then it is time you looked into buying and selling used books online and offline.

The types of books you decide to sell are completely up to you. You can focus on mystery book, romance, science fiction, non-fiction, dusty old books, or you can offer up all genres for sale.

Where to Get Used Books Free or Cheap

Craigslist - Check the free section regularly on Craigslist for your area. Sometimes there are free books offered up. You can also post a wanted ad on Craigslist offering to haul away any unwanted books. If you post an offer to pay a small amount for each book, even if it is a quarter, you will get responses.

Thrift Shops - My local Goodwill store sells books for 25 cents each. I have spent many hours sifting through the bins of books and finding books that are worth $10 or more. There are a number of people that stop by regularly to buy books to resell. The trick it to find out when new stock arrives at your local thrift shops and plan to spend over an hour looking through books.

Yard Sales - If someone has a bunch of books for sale at a yard sale, chances are pretty good that they will accept a lump sum for all the books. This is especially true if you visit yard sales just as the person is getting ready to pack everything back up. Who wants to lug the books back into the house?

Where to Sell Your Used Books

Most people sell their used books online. It is far easier to store and list books for sale online than it is to lug them to a flea market. Books are sold online through places like Amazon.com and Half.com.

You could also set up a used bookshop. This type of business does very well in my area. In fact, I meet a lot of the used book shop buyers at the local Goodwill store where they buy their stock.

Pricing

I decide on the price of my books after I do some online research. How much are other people selling the same book for? What condition is the book you have? Decide on the price based on what it is being sold for online, the condition of the book, and, if you are selling from a store, you can up the price by an extra dollar or two because the buyer is not having to pay for shipping costs.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

How to Make an Easy Sour Cream and Onion Dip


This stuff is addicting and easy to make. Have the kids make it or someone who is just learning how to make stuff in the kitchen. They will be surprised at how easy it is to make something so yummy.


  • 1-1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1 package onion soup mix


Mix both ingredients together and serve in bowl. Serve with chips, crackers, and vegetables.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Hike the Switchback Trail in Jim Thorpe Pennsylvania


History of the Switchback Trail

Coal mining was the major occupation in the Summit Hill and Jim Thorpe areas. In the 1800s, the Switchback trail was created to transport coal from Summit Hill down to Jim Thorpe. The cars worked by gravity, with Summit Hill being above Jim Thorpe, the cars travelled downward to their destination.

Some remnants of the cars can be seen in the area, especially up towards Summit Hill. While I lived in Summit Hill for several months, my two teenage children would spend time with the local kids and discovered old bits and mine shafts from the past.


Summit Hill

Summit Hill is a small town on top of a mountain. Much of it is covered with graveyards and the tombstones go back to the Revolutionary War. I spent a lot of my outdoor time walking the cemeteries and photographing the old tombstones, making note that many of the names were Russian.

The town itself is very small, but the people are friendly. There aren't many shops. Most of the interesting shops are down in Jim Thorpe. However, if you are vacationing in Jim Thorpe, Summit Hill is close by and the town is a nice place to walk. There are also a few historical markers in town, and the cemeteries are worth the visit.


Jim Thorpe

Jim Thorpe is a major vacation stop. There are constant weekend events for townies and folks from out of town. The town is rich in history and gives tours of the old prison, ghost walks, and tours of the Asa Packer Mansion.

There are also many wonderful shops to visit in Jim Thorpe, as well as train rides along the Lehigh River. You can rent bikes for the many local trails, including the Switchback Trail, go rafting, camping, and take a carriage ride through town.


Entering the Switchback

The Switchback Trail is 18 miles of trail, but it is broken down by roadways into small chunks. For easy walking, jogging, and biking, begin the trail at Mauch Chunk Lake Park in Jim Thorpe. To find the trail, face the lake from the park entrance. Turn left and follow the lake to the dam breast. There is a marked entrance to the trail. Another trail entrance can be found along East White Bear Drive, on the opposite side of the park. Don't forget to stop at the park's visiting center for trail maps.


Who Can Do This Trail?

The Switchback Trail entrance from either Mauch Chunk Lake Park or Flagstaff Road was an invigorating, peaceful walk. Many people were using this part of the Switchback trail the day I walked it. It is great for biking, hiking, and jogging. While this part of the trail is not marked as wheelchair accessible, someone with the upper body strength to go over small rocks and using an outdoor or off road wheelchair should be able to enjoy this trail. Please note that no motorized vehicles are allowed. Leashed dogs are allowed.


Sights

There are many different sights to see on the full 18 miles of trails. Some sections of the trail have historic markers. Another section will give you a beautiful view of the Lehigh Gorge. You will also get to see Mauch Chunk Lake on different part of the trail. As a nature walk, the trails are rich with wildlife and plant life. During my walks, I have seen deer and evidence of bears. My latest walk provided me with a stunning array of mushroom photographs and I was able to take photographs of plants to research when I got home.





Thursday, October 10, 2013

5 Best Money Management Apps for iPhone and iPad

Gearing up to become wealthy requires you to keep track of the money you earn, learning where you are spending your paychecks, and putting a savings plan into effect. These 5 great apps for iPhone and iPad are a great resource for getting your shit (and money) together.

This is a simple personal finance app. Keep track of your cash, credit debt, money earned and spent, and investments. See where you are spending your money and where you are hemorrhaging cash.

A very clean and basic app. Keep track of your money, how much you have spent, and where you are spending it.

This app is a great tool for keeping track of your spending. Spendee creates nice graphs of you spending habits and it allows you to easily see where you should be cutting back.

Keep track of your spending and see how much you have left to spend at a glance.

Simple design and quick and easy tracking of all your expenses.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

How to Make Money Quick with a Metal Detector


Find Money and Get in Shape

People are always looking for ways to quickly make money with very little effort, so why not get into the metal detector hobby? With a metal detector, you can not only find pocket change and jewelry that has been dropped, you also get to spend time visiting many interesting places and getting some exercise. Get outdoors, make some money, and get in shape all at the same time!

Buying a Metal Detector

There are a wide range of metal detectors available online. As someone who is just looking to get into finding coins, you will want to purchase a metal detector for under $100. Sometimes you can also find metal detectors for sale for $10 to $20 dollars at yard sales or on CraigsList.com.

Do your research before making any purchases. A great place to do this is on Amazon.com. Read the customer reviews and their ratings of the metal detectors. For myself and my needs, I purchased the Bounty Hunter Gold Digger Metal Detector and have not regretted my purchasing decision. It is a very basic metal detector for beginners and I am endlessly amazed at the things it detects.


Looking for Dropped Coins

Parking lots are great places to find dropped items, especially coins. If the parking lot is paved, you only need your eyes to search for dropped coins. Grass and dirt parking lots are where you would get use of your metal detector. Think of where people park at fairs and other social events. Many times, these are grassy or dirt areas, and these areas hide dropped metal items. Your metal detector will be able to find these items.

Any place where people hang out is great for finding dropped coins and the occasional piece of jewelry. Walking paths, common hiking trails, and any public area will work. Coins can also be found along busy roads and on beaches.

Avoid using your metal detector on private land without first gaining permission from the land owner.


Search for Gold

Panning for gold can be a bit much. I have panned for gold while in Alaska and it is messy, knee breaking work. Having a metal detector takes away a lot of the mess and makes the excursions to the creeks and streams an enjoyable afternoon strolls. If you are looking to make your fortune by finding gold, you will want a better quality metal detector.


Extra Tools and Things to Bring Along

Plastic Bags - The first thing you should remember to bring along is a plastic grocery bag or two. Depending on where you are at, you may find a bit of trash. Scrap metal pieces, old rusty nails, and fish hooks - these are all items that should be thrown away. Tie a plastic bag or two to your belt loops and pick up as you go along.

Headphones - You will use up more batteries using the speakers on the metal detector. Use headphones to conserve your batteries. Also, headphones will help block out background noise if you are in a noisy area.

Hand Shovel - A pointed garden shovel is perfect for taking on coin and gold finding expeditions. You will need it for poking around in tough soil.

Small Baggies - When you find something, such as a coin, it will most likely be dirty. Keep the dirt out of your pockets and place the coins in a plastic baggie until you can get home and wash off your finds.

Camera - You will never know when or for what reason you will need a camera. Always have one on hand.

When Finding Lost Jewelry

Most of the time, when you find a piece of lost jewelry, you will not have any luck finding the true owner of the item. This is mostly true for an earring or necklace charm. However, wedding rings and bands that are distinct are a different matter. I have always felt that if I lost a family heirloom or a wedding ring, I would want the person who found it to honestly make an effort to return the item to me.

When finding jewelry, check for engravings. Also, does the item look like it is of great value. If you feel that this might be something that someone would be looking for, check the lost and found in the local newspaper. If you see nothing, ask the local paper to run a free found ad. Let the readers know what you found (ring, pendant, etc.) and where you found it. The person claiming the item must describe what the item looks like.



Tuesday, October 8, 2013

How to Make an Easy Crab Meat Spread for Crackers


Crab meat spread is a great spread to serve company. Present the spread in a bowl and surround it with crackers and toasted finger breads. Delicious!


  • 1 cup crab meat, flaked
  • 3 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp fresh, chopped parsley
  • 1 Tbsp minced onion
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder


Mix all ingredients together. Keep refrigerated until ready for use. Serve in a bowl.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Steps to Being Popular Online and On Social Media


Step 1 Reach Out

We all desire acknowledgement. We want to be liked. We want people to enjoy our company and we want them to actively seek us out for friendship and advice.. But before any of this can happen, we must first make the effort to reach out to others.

Reaching out online is very easy to do. If you are using social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, or MySpace, send out friend requests, follow interesting people's posts, or write something nice on their board.

Also, to find people with interests similar to yours, do searches for message boards on your favorite hobbies, crafts, religious or political interests. There are pen pal message boards as well as email discussion lists you can join.

Step 2 Stay Positive

Real life can be rough on the spirit. The last thing most of us want is to get online and find rude and negative comments. Remember this when you post on your wall, board, or reply to someone's message. If you want to be popular and have people like you, give them reasons to want to be in contact with you. You can make your posts informative. You can make them lighthearted. Write encouragements to potential friends. Congratulate people when they get a new job, get engaged, or had something good happen to them. Post sympathies to people's losses. Let people know that you understand and are listening.


Step 3 No Flame Wars

Never join in online arguments. No one wins and everyone walks away angry. The best course of action when you see a flame war taking place is to ignore it. There are some people that go online just to argue and upset other people. You only give them power if you acknowledge them.

Back in the late 1990s I ran a successful email discussion list. Most of the time, we discussed our activities, our kids, and our opinions. We all learned to agree to disagree without any hard feelings. Occasionally, though, there would be a newcomer who would be disruptive. At first I would try to discuss the problem with the person in private, but I quickly learned that some people could not play well with others. I learned to simply remove troublemakers from the list and not feed their anger with a response.


Step 4 Write Back

Have you ever written to someone you were interested in befriending and then never heard back from them? If you want to be popular online, you will need to set aside time to not only make contact with people, but write back to the people who contact you. If you are suddenly busy and don't have the time for a long response, then quickly write the other person to say that you got their message and you will respond in length after you finish what you need to do first.

Loneliness

The world has over 7 billion people on it. Many people go through periods of loneliness in their lives, and the internet is a fun way to fill that gap. Online friends do not replace the need for in person friends, but it does help us learn the art of socialization. As you work on building online friends and increasing your popularity among netizens, pay attention to what works. You will find that people truly appreciate people who are kind, sympathetic, and informative. With a bit of practice, anyone can overcome feelings of loneliness and gain online popularity.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

How to Make an Easy Deviled Ham and Cream Cheese Spread


The only time I buy deviled ham is to make this easy spread to serve guests. This is a very easy recipe that even beginners can make comfortably.


  • 1 (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (2-1/4 ounces) can deviled ham
  • 1/2 tsp horseradish
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice


Mix all ingredients together. Serve in a bowl and serve with crackers and toasted finger breads.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

10 of the Best Exercise and Fitness Apps for Your iPad and iPhone


Get in Shape with Apps

iPad apps can be great motivational tools. The ten apps listed below are all free and are for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. Each of these apps will help get you moving, whether it is by showing you new exercises, providing you with routines, keeping track of the exercises you do, or help you target an area of your body that you are working to improve. Use one app or use a bunch of them - whatever helps you get up and get moving.


Lose It!

Lose It! by FitNow is a must have app for your fitness and exercise routine. With this app, you can set target calorie intakes, keep track of your carbs, protein, and fats, and keep a record of exercises and calories burned.


Nike+ Running

Nike+ Running is a popular iPhone app for runners. Keep track of your pace and miles you run with this app. You can also use this app to connect with other runners and see how you match up to their total miles.

Daily Ab Workout

Daily Ab Workout by Daily Workout Apps, LLC is like having a personal trainer in your home. This free app is for iPhones and iPads. With this app, you get 5 to 10 minute ab-scultping workouts. The videos who you how to do each exercise and the app times you.


Workout Trainer

Workout Trainer by Skimble is a free app for your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. This app has thousands of free workouts you can do at home or while on the go. Includes instructional photos and videos. You can also create your own workouts using the exercise library. A really fun app to get yourself up and moving.

Fitness Buddy FREE

Fitness Buddy FREE by Azumio Inc. has over 300 exercises in its database. With workout routines and exercises sorted by target areas, there is no longer any excuse for you not to exercise.


Daily Butt Workout

Daily Butt Workout by Daily Workout Apps, LLC is a free app for your iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. The app gives you 5 to 10 minute butt toning workouts that you can do from the comfort of your home. Videos show you how to do each exercise.

Map My Ride

Map My Ride - GPS Cycling, Riding, Workout Tracking and Calorie Counter by MapMyFitness is a free app for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. With this app you can track the route you take, check distance, and track calories spent. You can also keep track of your weight and manage your diet with this app.

Daily Workouts FREE

Daily Workouts FREE by Daily Workout Apps, LLC is a free app for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. This app has a database of 50 exercise and it creates 10 to 30 minute workout for you.

Simply Yoga FREE

Simply Yoga FREE by Daily Workout Apps, LLC is a free app for the iPhone and iPad. This app provides the user with 20, 40, and 60 minute yoga workouts. There are over 30 poses and there is video instructions on how to do each pose.


Daily Cardio Workout

Daily Cardio Workout by Daily Workout Apps, LLC is a free app for your iPad and iPhone. This app provides you with 5 to 10 minute cardio workouts that you can do at home or on the go. This app has videos that show you how to do each exercise. This is great for a quick pick-me-up.



Making Time to Exercise

If you have time to sit down and watch a television show or a movie, then you have time to do some exercises. The exercises do not need to be long and involves, and you certainly do not need to spend money on expensive equipment. All the exercise apps above are free and nearly all of them do not require any expensive equipment. All you need is some space where you are standing and 5 to 30 minutes to spare. Exercises, such as lunges, can easily be done while watching television. Yoga poses can be done while you are waiting to take a shower or waiting for a video to load over onto your computer. Find time and make time to get yourself into shape. You will be thankful you did.





Friday, October 4, 2013

How to Make a Natural Weed Killer

Not only does dishwashing soap kill stinkbugs, it also kills weeds. To make your own weed killer, mix together 1 gallon of white vinegar (you can purchase this cheaply at the grocery store), 1 cup of salt, and about a teaspoon of liquid dish detergent. Swish it or stir until salt is dissolved.

I may try this out on the mimosa stump. That thing just doesn't want to die and it can't keep growing against the house like it has been.

How to Make Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Buying chocolate syrup to flavor your milk is fine, if you want the extra chemicals in it. Making your own, homemade chocolate syrup is even better because you know exactly what it in the syrup. Make this recipe for a 1/2 pint of chocolate syrup and taste the difference yourself.

Needed

  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


Preparation

  1. Put the cocoa into a small saucepan.
  2. Add the water and stir until it forms a thick paste. Turn burner on medium-low.
  3. Stir in sugar and salt.
  4. When hot, not boiling, remove saucepan from burner.
  5. Allow to cool.
  6. Stir in vanilla.
  7. Store in a jar with lid in the refrigerator.
  8. To use, add about 2 tsp to a glass of milk.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Homemade Stink Bug Spray

While I blogged about how we killed stinkbugs yesterday, I forgot to mention how we made the spray that we used.

Recipe:

1 cup of lukewarm water
2 Tbsp lemon Ajax liquid dish detergent

Mix together.

To use, spray them on their undersides. This works great when they are clinging to your window screens and you have the perfect belly shots. If they are on your walls, spray them directly in the face and when they fall, try and spray them on their bellies. Spraying their backs just annoys them, but it doesn't kill them.

How to Make Fresh Uncooked Tomato Juice

Don't buy tomato juice in a can when you can make it at home with little effort. When you make your own tomato juice, you know exactly what is going into it. You are also in control of the amount of salt you add to it, if any.

Here is how you make your own tomato juice:

You Need
3 medium tomatoes (roughly 1 pint's worth)
1 cup ice cold water
1 tsp salt (or less to none)
Juice from 1 small lemon
Juice extractor

Steps

  1. Chill the tomatoes in the refrigerator.
  2. Wash tomatoes. Put through juice extractor. Throw away seeds and skin.
  3. Mix with remaining ingredients and serve.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

How We Killed Stink Bugs

Today we were on a mission - Kill the stink bugs. They were on the walls inside the house, they were hanging from the window screens, and they were merrily doing their buzz-thwack against mirrors and lightbulbs. And let's not discuss their nasty habit of dive bombing my head.

We tried spraying them with bleach and they didn't react. We sprayed them with Odoban mixed with peppermint oil and nothing. Then, my partner in crime decided to test out Ajax liquid dish detergent mixed with water. When he sprayed them on their backs, they were annoyed. However, when he sprayed the stinkbugs' underside (belly) while they were on the screened windows, they would fall off the screen onto their backs, twitch for about 3 to 5 seconds, and die. It was amazing, and addicting. Die, you damned stinky bugs. Die! Mouhaha!

As a side note, I am now scared of using the dish detergent on my dishes. If it kills stinkbugs so quickly, what is it doing to me each time I use it to wash our dishes?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Using a Thesaurus to Come Up With Domain Names

Trying to come up with original domain names to register used to be a pain in the butt. Last year, however, I bought Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition (21st Century Reference) and my domain registering world changed completely. In combination to using the thesaurus, I also keep a list of other letter and number combinations to add the the word(s) I want to register as a domain name. This list includes:


  • 101
  • 2b
  • u
  • r8


It doesn't get any easier than this if you are looking into becoming a domaineer.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Mother's Easy Macaroni and Cheese Casserole Recipe


Recipe's Creation

When I was 15 weeks pregnant and suffering from constant headaches, my midwife suggested that I increase my protein intake. She gave me a list of foods and ingredients to add to my diet. In turn, my 16 year old daughter and I were steadily creating new, easy casserole dishes using the ingredients given to me. This dish was super easy to make and uses meat (a vegetarian substitute can be used in place of the ground beef), cheeses, and dry milk to give the dish a protein boost.

Ingredients


  • 1 lb. ground beef, turkey, or vegetarian substitute, cooked and drained
  • one 1 lb. box elbow macaroni noodles, cooked and drained
  • 1/2 cup instant nonfat dry milk
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 24 oz. jar spaghetti sauce or diced tomatoes



How to Prepare


  • In large bowl, mix together ground beef, noodles, dry milk, mozzarella cheese, and 1 cup cheddar cheese.
  • Spread noodle mix evenly in a 13 X 9-inch casserole pan.
  • Top noodles with tomato sauce and 1 cup cheddar cheese.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Best Small Home Business Ideas for Women


Work for Yourself

You've decided that you want to start your own home business. Exciting! There are so many wonderful small business ideas for you to choose from. All you need to do is choose something you enjoy and think of ways you can make money by doing it.

Internet

There are a wealth of money making ideas that involve the internet. Some of the ideas overlap into other categories in this article, such as teaching baking online. Other ideas branch off into totally new and yet to be explored areas of interest.


  • Making videos. How-to videos are all the rage. If you have a special skill, such ad wood carving or beading, consider making how to videos for profit. There are websites that purchase how-to videos or offer payment based on viewing.
  • Internet courses. Write and sell internet courses. Set up your own internet school and charge for each course.
  • Resume writing. Sign up with a resume writing website to earn income as a freelance resume writer. Offer your services online from a personal website and personal ads.
  • Freelance writer. Write about what you know. Offer advice and how-to articles. Write for various websites as a freelance or an independent contract writer.
  • Niche newsletter. Create a specialty newsletter. Sell ad space and include online advertising from Google Adsense.
  • Ebay seller. Sell antiques, your artwork, crafts, and even your own ebooks on Ebay.
  • Stock photographer. Take pictures and sell them online from your own website or from a stock photography website.
  • Online publicist. Set up and manage online social networking accounts for local businesses and artists.


Kitchen

Do you often get compliments on your good meals? Do people request you to bring your famous dessert to every family gathering? Are you skilled at decorating? If so or if you simply enjoy being in the kitchen, here are some fun small businesses you can start from your kitchen.


  • Breads, pretzels, bagels, and other yeast goods. I began my venture in running a small home business the morning after a major snow storm. All the roads were closed and, while the small, local grocery store was open, no delivery trucks could get to the store. The place was completely out of bread, milk, and eggs. Lucky for me, I had just bought flour, eggs, and powdered milk in bulk, and I began baking bread to sell. My ex-husband and I posted bread for sale signs everywhere, including the grocery store where everyone was walking to, and soon people began showing up at the door. I made several hundred dollars in 2 days by baking for my local community.
  • Baking cakes and cupcakes. I know several people who began baking cakes from their home kitchen. Two of the ladies went on to start large businesses. Birthday cakes, graduation cakes, and, of course, wedding cakes are always in demand. Specialty desserts for the holidays, such as mincemeat pie, are great money makers.
  • Catering. The holidays are so hectic. Who has the time to do all the cooking? Set up a small catering business for local family get-togethers. Specialize in popular cuisines. For example, in my area, home cooked Pennsylvania Dutch meals are very popular.
  • Dog biscuits. We all love to spoil our pets now and again. Research dog biscuit recipes, experiment using your dog as the master taste tester, and begin selling homemade dog biscuits from home and at the farmer's market and craft fairs.
  • Cooking lessons. There are many men and women who would love to learn how to cook but don't know where to begin. Children also love to make stuff in the kitchen. Offer personal cooking lessons and cooking classes.



Arts and Crafts

Small businesses that fall under arts and crafts are one of the most visible home based businesses people venture into. Knitters are teased about breaking out their "poverty needles" to make some extra cash and many people seem to believe that this category is for women only. Not true! Many men, including my ex-husband, run a small home business in the arts and crafts field. The trick to succeeding in this field is to find your own niche and give it your all.


  • Knitting and crochet. There's always room for more yarn lovers in this home industry. When deciding on what to make to sell, think of the practical and the whimsical. Baby sets are always popular. Scarves, afghans, and hats are also popular knit and crochet items. Last winter I made bunches of "ugly knit hats" for my daughter's friends and they were a huge hit. Doll clothes, fancy washcloths, lap blankets, and sweaters are also good selling items, especially during the Christmas season.
  • Sewing costumes. Sewing takes such skill and it's an art that most people cannot do. If you've got the skill to sew, why not start sewing Halloween costumes, costumes for the Renaissance Fair, and holiday costumes. These can be sold online or set up a small shop inside your home if local zoning allows you to do so.
  • Catnip toys. Grow your own catnip, dry it, and sew it into little mice. Get creative and make the kitties catnip snakes and fish. People love buying kitty a little gift while they are out shopping.
  • Teach your craft. Do you make candles or beaded necklaces? Why not teach others about your craft. Give private lessons and group lessons.
  • Craft shows. Craft shows are awesome, especially around the holidays when I am out looking for unique gifts for my family. Take your crafts to the local shows and bazaars. Set up a stand at the farmer's market.
  • Furniture. My dad makes wonderfully useful furniture. Lacking the skill to make my own furniture, I buy or rescue old wooden furniture and fix it up. Great places to look for wood furniture to refinish and resell is at the Goodwill stores, yard sales, and on large item trash pickup days.
  • Write how-to. Not only can your sell your crafts in person and online, you can also write how-to articles about your arts and crafts. Creating how-to videos is also a good way to earn money from craft making.



Community Based Business Ideas

If you enjoy interacting with people, here are some great small business ideas you can begin from home.


  • Tutoring. If you are good at math or language arts, consider starting a tutoring business for the local school students.
  • Music lessons. Teach guitar, piano, violin, or any musical instrument from home.
  • Personal fitness trainer. Some people just need the extra encouragement to get going. Help people in your area set realistic fitness goals and keep them focused on their personal fitness.
  • Pet sitter and dog walker. Often viewed as a business for teenagers, many people prefer to have an experienced adult care for their fur babies.
  • Handyman. Sell your handyman skills, from painting to roofing, to your community.
  • Clowning and magician. Provide entertainment for local birthday parties.
  • Childcare. Specialize in special needs children, infants, or start a small daycare service for children who like art, sports, animals, etc.
  • Adult daycare. Spend the day caring for adults in your community. Provide transportation, cleaning, and meals.



Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Leave the Content Mills and Go Directly to Kindle Books

For years I have slaved away, working on multiple content farms and earning pennies for my hard work. It wasn't until only recently that I took my son's advice and took a dive into publishing on Kindle Books. All I can say is that I wish I would have made this plunge sooner.

Content Mills

Content mills start up with great promises about earnings. Some even offer decent money incentives when starting up. However, as the years have shown me, they all have a tendency to sink once reality sinks in - People won't bother to read poorly written content.

After the shine has worn off, the content mill sinks into a pit. Google won't take its articles seriously and the search engine rankings are piss poor. Writers, in turn, earn a penny here and a penny there. Some content mills close shop and the writers never get paid.

What's in it for you to continue writing for these content mills? A few pennies per article, if you're lucky, and a lot of wasted time.

Writing for Kindle

Writing for Kindle is a different animal completely. If you are a good writer, can put a sentence together, and have something interesting to say, the chances are good that you will make more publishing Kindle books than you have ever made on content mills.

The downside is that writing longer material takes a longer amount of time. Kindle books are not something you rush on through. You craft them together, share your knowledge, pour your heart out, and empty your brain into them. The result? Much better pay and the satisfaction of saying that you are now published on Amazon.com's Kindle books.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Which Part of the Raw Egg You Should Use for a Face Mask

I love using face masks, and egg face masks are so simple and convenient to use. However, your skin type determines which part of the egg you use - the white or the yolk.

Yolk - The Yellow

  • For people who have dry skin, use the yolk. It is moisturizing.


White - The Clear

  • If your skin is oily, use the clear part of the raw egg called the white.


The Whole Egg
Normal skin can use the whole egg.

To use, separate the white from the yolk. Lightly beat the part you will be using with a fork or an egg beater. If you are using the whole egg, beat both parts together. Spread egg on face. Keep it on your face for 15 to 30 minutes. Rinse off.

Monday, September 2, 2013

How People Used to Make Shampoo With Soap

We didn't always go to the store to buy ourselves shampoo and conditioner. In fact, hair conditioner was invented and presented in 1900, and it was originally used to soften men's beards and mustaches. Shampoos similar to what we buy today didn't start appearing until the early 1900s. So, what did most people use to wash their hair? Soap.

Turning Soap Into Hair Wash

Turning soap into shampoo is a simple process. You will need:

  • 1/2 bar natural soap
  • 1 pint water


The soap you use must be homemade lye soap. Store soaps are loaded with chemicals and scents.

Put water in glass or enamel pan. Shave the soap into the water. Gently heat and stir until soap is dissolved. Remove from heat, cool, and store in bottle.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

20 Fun and Easy Ways to Make Money From Your Yard


Small Backyard Businesses

As we all struggle to earn a little extra income, we take a look around our homes, seeking any way in which we can capitalize on our skills, from writing to crafts. What many people fail to realize is that their backyard can be used to bring in a nice part-time income. In fact, some people utilize their back yard so well that they can sustain themselves with no outside income from jobs away from the home. Here are 20 business ideas you can start up in your yard.

1. Growing and Selling Strawberries

Strawberries are like gold in the garden. If your yard is right for growing strawberries, you will be able to bring in a good amount of money selling fresh grown, juicy ripe strawberries from your home. At the farm I grew up on, we had a patch of strawberries, however, many people build tiers to grow their strawberries and make better use of limited space.


2. Selling Cut Flowers

This is a popular home business in my area. Grow and sell hardy, cut flowers. You can pick the flowers and sell them in bunches or you can allow buyers to walk the flower patch and pick their own bouquet.


3. Growing and Selling Herb Plants

This is one of my personal favorites - growing and selling unique herb plants. Many of the local nurseries and garden centers do not carry herbs, and if they do, the have only the most basic herb plants - lavender, one or two types of mint, basil, rosemary, and chives. Look into growing specialty herbs for cooking and for medicinal uses.

4. Doggie Daycare

Do you love dogs? Is your yard safely fenced in? If so, check out your local laws in regards to setting up a simple doggie daycare. You can provide people's dogs with exercise, love, and attention while their owners are at work.


5. Chicken Eggs

This is another popular backyard business in my area. Raise brooding chickens and sell their delicious eggs from your home. You can also hatch chick to sell to other families who want to raise chickens for their eggs.

6. Stock Photos

Writers and graphic artists always need a fresh supply of interesting and colorful photographs. Why not use your backyard for all of its photographic beauty? Grow and photograph flowers, insects, butterflies, textures, and more. Use your photos in the articles you write or sell your photographs online at such places as ShutterStock, Fotolia, and ShutterPoint.


7. Plant Fruit Trees and Sell Fruit

All it takes is a few fruit trees and you can start selling fresh fruit from your home in a few short years. Check out the dwarf varieties of fruit trees available for your area. Dwarf trees produce quickly and a lot of fruit. Their only downside is that the trees have a shorter lifespan that regular sized fruit trees.


8. Grow and Sell Exotic Houseplants

If you have a knack for growing houseplant, consider adding a small greenhouse to your yard. Many people love to fill their homes with beautiful houseplants and, often, the only houseplants available to them are those sold in the grocery store. Grow a wide variety of houseplants, from spider plants to jade plants - both of these plants are very easy to start. You can also branch out into venus fly traps and unusual cacti.


9. Grow and Sell Fresh Veggies or Pumpkins

Fresh veggies are always a hit, especially when you can catch people coming home from work, trying to come up with a fresh vegetable to add to the dinner table. Discover what vegetables will grow best in your yard and plant them accordingly. Another variation of this type of home business is to grow pumpkins and gourds for the Halloween season.

10. Breed and Sell Small Animals or Fish

While I am particularly stubborn in my views about breeding animals irresponsibly, there are many people who successfully breed and sell small animals in a clean and responsible manner. Small animals can include rabbits, guinea pigs, different types of chickens, and others. I've known people in warmer climates that bred beta fish outdoors. Goldfish, however just need a simple pond, clean water, and a good food source before they start leaving eggs about. A variation of this is providing a safe pond for frogs and selling tadpoles.

11. Grow and Sell Coleus

Coleus is such a simple plant to grow. All you need are a few mother plants of the many different varieties of coleus. With small pots and potting soil, take cuttings from the mother plants and root them in the soil. The cuttings root quickly, almost as fast as these plants sell.


12. Sell Container Gardens

Container gardens continue to grow in popularity. If you live near apartment complexes, this would be a fantastic business to go into. Grow vegetables and herbs in containers for apartment dwellers to purchase and keep on their balconies. There are many seed packs of vegetables available that are labeled for container gardens. You will want to do further research in seed catalogs.


13. Grow Supplies for Basket Weaving

If you have a good patch of land, consider catering to basket weaving hobbyists. Grow the grasses and reeds used by basket weavers. Prepare the items and sell them to local basket weaving groups, a local college that provides basket weaving classes, and online.


14. Beekeeping

Beekeeping is a bit more involved than the other yard businesses listed here, but it is a fun and enjoyable small business. Sell honey from your home or at local health stores.


15. Grow and Sell Fresh Blueberries

Grow and pick blueberries to sell from your yard or let people pick their own blueberries. Blueberries are a great seller and many people, such as myself, will buy large amounts of blueberries to freeze for the year.

16. Yard Sales

Yard sales are a fun and popular way to make a little extra money and get rid of unwanted items. If your home is located in a highly visible area, you can start buying items in bulk and selling them for a profit from your yard. Any fresh fruits and veggies you have grown can also be sold at your yard sale.

17. Paint Scenery and Flowers

Are you handy with a paintbrush? Why not make paintings of the scenery from your yard. Paint the beautiful flowers you have growing, the plants, the skyline, butterflies, and anything else you can see in or from your yard. Sell these paintings from your home or at co-ops.


18. Grow and Sell Butterfly Attracting Plants

People want to have a garden just for butterflies without having to hunt down the plants and flowers they need from multiple garden centers. Start growing and selling butterfly attracting plants from your backyard and sell them to your neighbors.

19. Cut and Sell Firewood

Firewood doesn't sell like strawberries or coleus, but it does sell and you can sell firewood year round. People living near campgrounds will often sell bundles of wood to campers. This is a great side job if you have a heavily wood property.

20. Rent Your Yard for Parties

Do you live in an area with a lot of apartment complexes? Do you own a nice, private yard that can comfortably host a party of 20, 30, or 40 people? If yes, look into the latest trend - renting yards for private parties and family outings. This is a great way to make extra money without much initial effort.