Month: October 2019

Five For Friday and #RMF2019 for 10.11.2019

Five for Friday, in which I choose and share five things I’ve enjoyed/are on my mind/I need to do/I’m listening to/watching/etc., is first. My Rocktober Music Fest selection for today, in case that’s what you’re here for, is toward the bottom of the post!

Late last night I got comfy in my bed with every intention of watching Hawaii Five-O till I fell asleep, and I was almost there…so close…when my dog jumped down and went to investigate something in the floor at the upper corner of the bed. This is where I stop and give you a bit of backstory: this time of year, all kinds of critters attempt to run me out of my home. Everything from mice to ladybugs to camel crickets. I live in the country in the middle of two cotton fields next to an empty house with a now overgrown, wooded lot, and critters (and getting rid of them) are just part of living here.

So what had my dog discovered? A baby rat snake. It came in with the recent dip in temperatures, after our most recent influx of mice no doubt. It was curious about Ari, and Ari was curious about it and sniffed it a bit before he decided it wasn’t worth killing and didn’t present danger. I didn’t even bat an eye, because this is about the dozenth time I’ve seen one of these snakes in my house. I usually have my sons remove them to the yard, and if I’m here by myself and can’t round them up, I let them go. As I mentioned, mice can be a problem here, and these rat snakes? They take care of that problem. Sure, I’d rather have them in the crawlspace or completely outside, but they tend to find their own way out.

I was reminded of a few summers ago when I saw my last snake in here. My sons were gone, the snake went out, and I promptly went to the Home Depot to get some Snake Defense spray. I sprayed it all around my house, indoors and out, because it’s all-natural and completely safe for children and pets. And? It smelled sooooo good! Come to find out, many natural snake repellents are made with cinnamon oil and clove oil. I had just made a batch of fall cleaning vinegar, which has an oil blend with cinnamon and clove oils, so last night I grabbed the spray bottle of all-purpose cleaner I’d made from it and sprayed around my bed. I watched the snake for a while, and the snake didn’t cross the area where I’d sprayed. So I thought this weekend, I’d make a stronger homemade version of Snake Defense. Here’s my Five For Friday, and what I plan on putting in it:

  • Cinnamon Oil
  • Clove oil
  • Black Pepper oil
  • Anise Oil
  • Cedarwood Oil

I’m hoping those scents will also repel the mice – and I’ll be spending all weekend spraying it around the exterior of the house, anywhere mice/snakes can get in (and stuffing those places with steel wool), and maybe diffusing the “snake oil”. Rat snakes are one thing, but poisonous snakes can get in just as easily, and I can not have that.

On to the MUSIC! My Rocktober Music Fest selection for today is the latest from a band who finally released some new music after ten long years.

Tool – “Fear Inoculum”

It is long, but fantastic. Chances are you’ve already heard this if you’re a Tool fan, but if you are a Tool fan and haven’t heard it yet? Pretty sure you’ll love it!

What are YOU listening to this week? What about five things? Five fave new songs, tv shows, books, podcasts, hacks/tips? Let me know!

Featured image courtesy Daria-Yokovleva on Pixabay

Writer’s Workshop for 10.10.2019

The prompt I chose for this week’s Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop is “Write about the last thing you made…”

I was so excited to see this on the list of prompts, because it just so happens that I spent the weekend making two things: homemade dog food, and MY FIRST BATCH OF CLEANING VINEGAR FOR THE FALL! Obviously, I’m going to talk about the cleaning vinegar, and the dog food may find its way into another post someday.

If you just want the cleaning vinegar recipe (it’s very simple, I promise!), it’s in the next paragraph! And if you want to read the hows and whys of my cleaning vinegar, feel free to keep reading past the recipe.


  • Large, wide-mouthed Mason jar(s) with lid(s) (I re-used a large Ragu jar)
  • 1 quart Apple Cider Vinegar (I got mine for under $2 at Walmart)
  • 60 drops of an immunity blend essential oil (I used the $6 Guru Nanda brand I found at Walmart. Thieves Oil from Young Living, On Guard from DoTerra, or your own blend will also work. It just needs to be a blend of clove, cinnamon, lemon, eucalyptus, and rosemary oils, or the appropriate parts of the plants themselves.)


  • Pour the vinegar into the Mason jar(s).
  • Add the essential oil.
  • Tightly close the lid, give it a good shake, and let it steep in a cool, dark place for 4-5 days, giving it a shake every day or so.

(For suggested uses, scroll to the end of the post.)

For years now, I’ve been making most of my household cleaners because I’m trying to go as natural and chemical free as I can in housecleaning. One of the most economical and strongest all-purpose cleaners you can use is vinegar – straight up, diluted, infused with favorite or special flowers, herbs, essential oils, etc. And making my first batch of cleaning vinegar for the fall is one of my favorite things to do!

The above recipe was a cheap and simple version of Four Thieves Vinegar. I am on a pretty non-existent budget, so I opted for inexpensive, but it can be made as extravagant and organic as you want. I love it for housecleaning, but the ingredients also have some amazing medicinal properties as well as magickal properties if that interests you!

I added about 20 drops of lavender and 5 drops of cedarwood oils, 3 cinnamon sticks (my oil didn’t have cinnamon in it), and about 1/4 cup black peppercorns. I also added quite a bit more immunity blend oil to mine, because I wanted to make a super-strong, super-concentrated batch.

You can keep it in the Mason jar (though I would strain it if you use anything solid), but I strained mine and poured it into a repurposed liquor bottle. My oldest son is a barback, and I love re-using the beautiful and unusual bottles and decanters he sometimes brings home to add to my collection!


  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup full strength in laundry, especially if there’s a bug/cold going around in your house!
  • 1/4 cup full strength mixed with 1/2 cup salt and 1/2 cup baking soda for a scouring powder (or just the salt – there will be a reaction with the baking soda and I’m not sure if that cancels its cleaning power out, but I use it because it makes the texture of the powder much finer, and I can’t tell that it negates any cleaning power).
  • 1 cup full strength to one gallon warm water and a squirt of dishwashing liquid to mop surfaces such as tile and vinyl. Not sure about hardwoods.
  • Fill one half of a 32-oz spray bottle with the vinegar, 1 tablespoon dishwashing liquid, and fill the rest of the way with warm water – shake prior to use as an all-purpose cleaner.
  • Spray the diluted all-purpose mix into the air to use as a disinfectant – when the vinegar smell dries down, it’ll smell like a warm, sunny autumn afternoon in your home!

What is the last thing YOU made?

Music Monday and #RMF2019 for 10.06.2019

It’s the first Monday in October, my favorite month of the year. I love September almost as much, since it has the end of summer, the Autumnal Equinox, and my birthday. But October? October is magical. Something happens in October that brings out the happiness in me, and I appreciate this last hurrah before the colder, darker months.

And on that note, there is no theme this week for Monday’s Music Moves Me, but I’ve been really been getting in the mood for all the scary spookiness to come. Here’s a blast from my past. I loved this movie! (Trick or Treat, 1986):

Fastway – “After Midnight”

Also, Mary’s got a great little musical blog festival going on all month at her place, #RocktoberMusicFest2019, so I think I’ll stop by there as well!

What music are YOU listening to this time of year?

Featured image courtesy Free-Photos on Pixabay

Complete. And Utter. Frustration.

I should have just stayed in bed.

One of the prompts at Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop this week was “Write a post that starts and ends with “I should have stayed in bed.”” And hasn’t that been the story of my life this summer? Seriously. Just wake me up when September ends! Oh…it has?

To be honest, the summer was wonderful, but also so busy and stressful and frustrating, then I reached a point where things were going pretty smoothly again and life was good. And then last week happened. Last week was day after day of weird and minor annoyances that I ignored at first, because worrying is like praying for things you don’t want and all. But I soon became overwhelmed, and now it has spilled into this week with a pretty serious issue regarding my blog.

I CAN NO LONGER LINK UP WITH MR. LINKY, Y’ALL!! I can get a link to go through on the ones that just use links, but I can’t link up like I should with the ones that use thumbnails. I first noticed this issue I think either last week or the week before. Mr. Linky can’t pull from the web because my blog is somehow blocking that, and I don’t know what it is to change it. I can’t upload from my computer, because I get an error when I try to do that as well. After getting Cathy‘s help and eventually getting Brent from Linky Tools involved, I am still unable to upload thumbnails, BUT! I have discovered I can link up on my phone (unless something has changed, and it may well have by now). So for the time being, I will be making my posts, linking up on my phone for as long as I can, and saving for another new-to-me Macbook.

I am afraid the issue might actually be my computer. For now, the only issue is with Linky Tools. But you know how it is with computers. Once they’re dying, they just keep getting worse. Currently, I can still upload to social media and my blog. But at ten years old, this Macbook may just be on its way out. We had a great run together; I only paid $250 for it, and I got more stress-free use from it for a few years than I have from my $400-$600 Windows laptops that lasted about the same time, or less.

I am calm, but exhausted from the irritations of the past few weeks. Now here I am today, struggling to get out the door. I should have stayed in bed.

Featured image courtesy JerzyGorecki on Pixabay