those dang fruit flies

We're well into the dog days of summer,  it's hot (OMG it's hot), summer fruit is at it's best (mmm I love summer fruit!) and so are the fruit flies. They're taking over our lives and our kitchens. We've had the problem before but this time I took it to Google to find a solution.

So far, I've killed over 20 of those little buggers with my new and improved homemade non-toxic fruit fly trap, with one modification.

Need one too? You'll need the following:

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar (fruit flies go crazy for this stuff)
  • 4 squirts dish detergent (this basically messes with the vinegar and traps the fruit flies)
  • a bowl

Pour one cup of cider vinegar into a bowl with 4 squirts of dish detergent place bowl where the fruit flies like to hang out. Most traps you find online will tell you to put cellophane over the bowl and poke tiny holes in it, but I tried that and it doesn't work. Trust me go cellophane free.

Please, thank me later. Happy trapping!

July 17, 2010 by Alanna Banks

that's hot

Is this what your office and house turns into during the hot summer months? (I know you're all nodding yes!) We bellyache all winter about how cold it is and then once the heat arrives we crank the AC so that we're freezing our backsides off.

When we bought our house a few years ago the AC was a "nice to have" but I can count on one hand the number of times we've used it in three years (maybe 5?). I didn't have AC growing up and we just coped with the hot summer nights so as a result I've never been a huge advocate of flash freezing my home (don't get me started about the workplace).  So as you can imagine I was pleasantly surprised today when I read Dave McGinn's interview with Stan Cox, author of Losing Our Cool: Uncomfortable Truths About Our Air-Conditioned World (And Finding New Ways to Get Through the Summer) in the Globe and Mail. He discusses why we're so used to AC and how it's effecting the environment and our health.

Here are some of my own personal stay cool tips:

  • Install a ceiling fan in your bedroom (amazing!)
  • Keep your blinds closed in the rooms that get the most sunlight (this keeps those rooms cool during the day)
  • Open all your windows  (it creates a cross breeze)
  • Have a cool shower before tucking into bed
  • Take the duvet and heavy blankets off your bed (just sleep with a sheet)

I hope this has inspired you to try to quit your AC addiction. Your bank account will thank me.

June 04, 2010 by Alanna Banks

not like your grandma's

Photos courtesy of Design*Sponge

I've been really digging this look (an updated version of the wall your grandma had!) lately and I wish I had my own cool collection of plates.

If you want to try it out Design*Sponge has a DIY video.

Happy decorating!

May 15, 2010 by Alanna Banks

home sweet home

This post is a salute to all you new homeowners out there (yes you know who you are!).

NOW columnist Adria  Vasil's Ecoholic Home should be on every homeowners bookshelf. It's jammed pack (382 pages!) with money-saving tips, a sustainable home checklist, reviews of "green" cleaners, resource guides (and the list goes on!). But, what I like best are the DIY cleaners.

Here is one of my faves, a DIY window cleaner (Windex is evil!)

Combine the following ingredients in a spray bottle and get window washing:

  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp of natural dish soap (see list below)
  • 2 cups water

My hubs tried it out a couple of weekends ago and the windows are sparkling.

Here are two natural dish soaps Vasil recommends:

Bio-Vert Dishwashing Liquid

Nature Clean All Purpose Cleaning Lotion

May 03, 2010 by Alanna Banks