10 Tips for Successful Summer Entertaining

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They say the kitchen is the heart of your home. I find that’s especially true for me. My roommate Bambi loves to cook, so we are always hosting a weekly dinner night with significant others or friends. With summer on the way, we expect to do more summer entertaining than ever.

Top ten tips for successful summer entertaining! If you're as excited about getting into the swing of summer entertaining as we are, check out these great tips for opening your kitchen, and the rest of your home, to guests this summer. Plus the best pet friendly, non-toxic cleaning products for cleaning your home!

We recently moved my patio table into the backyard to use for summer entertaining as the weather heats up. Bambi loves to grill. So we have a grill on our list of things to buy this summer. There’s nothing more magical than BBQ and great friends as the sun goes down. We’re even thinking of making our own string light solar lanterns.

As Bambi is also a gamer, not just an incredible cook, we’re also looking forward to hosting more game nights. While I prefer games that are more in the realm of Exploding Kittens and Cards Against Humanity, Bambi prefers games of strategy. Hosting guests for summer game nights gives us both a chance to enjoy the games we love.

And of course, I’m looking forward to hosting a few ladies only craft nights as well. There’s something about the warm weather and shaking off the final remnants of those winter blues to inspire extra socializing.

Top ten tips for successful summer entertaining! If you're as excited about getting into the swing of summer entertaining as we are, check out these great tips for opening your kitchen, and the rest of your home, to guests this summer. Plus the best pet friendly, non-toxic cleaning products for cleaning your home!

Before summer entertaining gets into full swing however, it’s nice to take a minute and create an inviting space we feel proud to entertain in. Bambi and I are both a bit obsessive about both cleaning and creating the perfect space for hosting guests. It’s one of the many reasons we work so well as roommates – especially post divorce. It’s also why we are both such big fans of Grove Collaborative.

We both love the non-toxic and pet friendly products that Mrs. Meyer’s has to offer. (Bambi and I are both mommies to fur babies!) Not only are they effective at cleaning our home, they also look great by the kitchen sink.

Top ten tips for successful summer entertaining! If you're as excited about getting into the swing of summer entertaining as we are, check out these great tips for opening your kitchen, and the rest of your home, to guests this summer. Plus the best pet friendly, non-toxic cleaning products for cleaning your home!

If you aren’t already a Grove Collaborative member, you can get a free kit of Mrs. Meyer’s dish soap, hand soap, and lotion and replaceable head dish brush with your first order of just $20. We received this fantastic cleaning kit when we signed up and loved it! (You’ll want to hurry though as supplies are limited.)

Grove Co. offers more than just eco-conscious, non-toxic cleaning essentials. They also offer other homemaking and personal healthcare products from brands I trust. I buy Lovebug Here’s the Skinny Daily Probiotic at a discount from Grove for my own gut health. (Many of you know I suffer from fibromyalgia so vitamins and supplements are a must.)

Bambi on the other hand is crazy about Grove Collaborative’s Walnut Scouring Pads. In fact she ditched her regular brand of scouring pads for these after she tried them for the first time. She also loves Grove’s Cleaning Concentrate Essentials which are scented with natural essential oils. They’re another great way to get a pet safe, non-toxic clean we can both feel good about.

We also both found the Grove Collaborative Reusable Bag Essentials Set extremely useful. (I got these as a free gift as a part of Grove’s VIP member program.) These bags are super high quality and are great both in and out of the kitchen. We use the large bag for leftover Naan when Bambi makes curry. And the others for easily stashing personal care essentials when traveling and camping.

Place your first $20 order with Grove now to receive your free Mrs. Myer’s cleaning kit. Or, if you’re already a Grove Co. member, you’ll receive a free set of the Grove walnut scrubber sponges that Bambi is so fond of. Then keep reading for some great tips for entertaining guests in your home this summer.

Top ten tips for successful summer entertaining! If you're as excited about getting into the swing of summer entertaining as we are, check out these great tips for opening your kitchen, and the rest of your home, to guests this summer. Plus the best pet friendly, non-toxic cleaning products for cleaning your home!

If you’re as excited about getting into the swing of summer entertaining as we are, check out these great products and tips for opening your kitchen — and the rest of your home — to guests this summer.

Great Products & Tips for Successful Summer Entertaining

1. Hand wash summer accessories that have been in the cabinet all winter. Grove’s replaceable head dish brush has curved bristles and a sturdy bamboo handle that’s perfect for washing pitchers, platters, and prep boards.

2. Wipe down the counters to create a clean and tidy space for food prep and serving impromptu midnight snacks. All you need is some warm soapy water and a microfiber. I love the ones from Grove because they have a hanging corner for easy drying and storage.

3. Your sink gets a workout during the summer, from washing grilling utensils to cutting flowers. Make sure it’s up to the task by giving it a good scrub with a paste of baking soda and Mrs. Meyer’s dish soap.

4. Set up a beautiful sink side experience that makes everyone happy. Mrs. Meyer’s soaps and lotions come in a variety of cheerful scents like honeysuckle, lavender, and lemon verbena that guests of all ages will love.

5. Everyone’s always hungry after a day at the pool. Now is a great time to stock up on supplies like Bees Wrap and Grove reusable snack bags for storing cut-up fruit, cheese, and pretzels!

6. Cool drinks are a must for successful summer entertaining. Make sure your blender is ready for fresh fruit smoothies or frozen cocktails. Simply add a drop or two of dish soap and two cups of water and blend on high for 30 seconds. Then pour out the suds, rinse, and dry with a microfiber cloth.

7. Punch up your home decor with a pop of happy color, from new throw pillows to a fresh kitchen towel. I’m feeling inspired by lush greens like Grove’s garden tea towel.

8. Create an inviting entryway with plenty of space for guests to stash sandals, hats and pool gear. I like to stash my Full Circle dust pan and brush from Grove near the front door for quick cleanup of dirt and grass clippings.

9. The powder room is a small space, which means a little bit of effort goes a long way. Freshen it up for summer by laundering and fluffing up the rug, putting out a fresh hand towel, and switching out the hand soap and lotion for a summery scent.

10. Once you’ve submitted your Grove order, you’ll be signed up for the free 60 day VIP trial. The VIP program is a great way to keep your home streamlined all summer, with perks like free shipping, free gifts, price matching, exclusive sales and personal service. Now, it’s time to light a rose candle and enjoy the quiet while it lasts!

For more great summer entertaining ideas, be sure to check out these must have wine and cheese night party essentials. Or grab a few ladies craft night ideas. You can discover even more entertaining ideas on my Party Ideas Pinterest board.

You’ll also want to follow Soap Deli News across all of your favorite social media platforms including G+FacebookTwitterBlog Lovin’, and Instagram as well as subscribe to Soap Deli News via email for future updates, DIY projects and recipes.

How to Use Neem Oil for Plants as a Natural Pesticide

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How to Use Neem Oil as a Natural Non-Toxic Garden Pesticide

Do you need a non-toxic natural pesticide alternative for your home and garden? Learn how to use neem oil for plants as a natural non-toxic pesticide!

In addition to neem oil’s many medicinal uses – for which I’ve already created multiple recipes for soap, shampoo, salves and lip balm – you can also use neem oil for plants in your garden as a natural broad spectrum pesticide. Neem oil is extracted from the seed of the tropical neem tree and contains thee active ingredient, azadirachtin, which acts as an insecticide, fungicide, and miticide.

You can use neem oil for plants in the garden as a natural, non-toxic pesticide to help control slugs, snails, fruit flies, white flies, squash bugs, Colorado potato beetles, Mexican bean beetles, Japanese beetles, aphids small leaf eating caterpillars and other harmful insects.

In your home it works against fleas, ticks, ants, bed bugs, dust mites and cockroaches as well as scabies mites.

Simply combine between .5% and 2% of neem oil to warm water depending on severity of infestation. (So for every 16 oz. of water by weight, you’d want to use between .08 oz. and .32 oz. neem oil.) For the garden you can also include insecticidal soap or detergent at .01% – .02% of the water amount. Use the solution within a day or two and then make up a new solution to use as needed. If you have an existing infestation drench soil and leaves and apply once a week until infestation clears. As a preventative measure, use the neem oil at .5% dilution with warm water once a month.

Also be sure to check my natural homemade skin care recipes that contain neem oil: Natural Neem Oil & Rosemary Salve Recipe, Natural Homemade Neem Oil Cold Process Soap Recipe, Homemade Neem Cream Recipe, Natural Topical Anti-Fungal Toenail Treatment, Homemade Cold Sore Therapy Lip Balm Recipe, Natural Homemade Dog Shampoo and my Lanolin & Neem Salve Recipe.

For more home and garden tips and recipes like this one, follow my DIY Lifestyle Tips board on Pinterest. Or keep up with all of my new projects and recipes by following me on Blog Lovin, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google + and Instagram!

Quick & Easy DIY Eco-Friendly Reuable Swiffer Pad Solution

I may receive compensation from links on this site. See my disclosure policy.

Easiest Ever DIY Eco-Friendly Reusable Swiffer Pad Solution

One Good Thing By Jillee recently posted her homemade solution for making the easiest ever DIY Swiffer Sweeper refill pads. Her simple alternative solution for eco-friendly, reusable pads is to use chenille socks.

However, you could easily use the same concept and upcycle a pair of old socks that are stretched out or have acquired a hole. Visit One Good Thing By Jillee here for the skinny on how she does it. Plus discover how to refill those canisters of Swiffer Wet Jet solution as well as how to make your own DIY eco-friendly, non-toxic cleaner to refill it with!

For more great DIY homemaking tips and solutions, be sure to follow my DIY Lifestyle Tips board on Pinterest. It’s filled with tips for making every aspect of your life easier for tips and how to’s to home remedies and natural non-toxic cleaning recipes and everything in between.

Getting By On a Budget – Books to Read

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I got divorced just over a year ago, and I’m finally to the point where I’m going to be able to move out of my parents’ house and back on my own again. Except this time around it’s not going to be as easy because my income is significantly reduced over what it was when I was married and my ex-husband was the bread winner. As a result, I’ve really been researching ways to save money but to still be able to enjoy life on a budget. In doing so, I came across a few great books that I thought you might be interested in too!
I am super excited about the book, Make Your Place: Affordable & Sustainable Nesting Skills by Raleigh Briggs. I think this book is beautiful and it brings back memories of when ‘zines were a trend and mail order was god, before the internet took over the masses and amazon made it’s way into the world as the first big internet retailer. Sort of in the way that mustaches are trendy now. Except this book is much more useful than a mustache on a mug! Written and illustrated by Raleigh Briggs, this book is a DIY collection from the author’s ‘zines and illustrations containing her amazing ideas for making and keeping a DIY household. There are how to’s and recipes for making cleaning solutions, using herbs to heal, dealing with “women” related problems, setting up a garden, and so much more. If you’re interested in becoming more sustainable and a little more green, this is definite one book you’ll want to buy!

You may also be interested in the book, The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking: Decorating, Dining, and the Gratifying Pleasures of Self-Sufficiency — On a Budget! by Kate Payne. This book is your source for decorating, homemaking, and dining on little to no money. It’s the perfect book if you’re on your own for the first time – especially if you have a limited budget – or just want to explore new ways of saving money. This book contains ideas for thrift shopping with a purpose, urban gardening, cleaning, cooking, decorating, saving space and more!

And if you are REALLY into growing as much of your own food as possible, definitely check out The Urban Homestead (Expanded & Revised Edition): Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City (Process Self-reliance Series).

It’d love to hear some of the things you do to save money in your household as well as inexpensive ways to entertain or have fun!