Help your Garden this Spring by making a simple Mason Bee House.

Did you know there are well over 500 different species of bees in the State of Ohio alone? The mason bee is often less talked about in comparison to our friend the honey bee, but just as important nonetheless. Although, mason bees help pollinate our fruit and vegetable reproduction, they do not produce honey like the honey bee. Mason bees are always looking for shelter each spring to lay their eggs. Why not take a moment this spring to give these little friends some help? One simple way is to provide the Mason bee some shelter for its eggs. In exchange they can aid with any growing backyard garden.

What is a Mason bee and how do they differ from the Honey bee?

Although honey bees are the most common bee type, have you ever really gotten to know the mason bee? Mason bees are docile male and female workers that carry pollen on their abdomen whereas, the honey bee carry on their hind legs. For this reason mason bees are able to pollinate 100x more! Mason bees are docile because they don’t have a hive or a queen bee to defend like the honey bee. The females do carry a stinger like the female honey bee, however the sting is similar to that of a mosquito bite.

Another way they are different from the honey bee is their natural blue hue color. At times they have often been mistaken for a pesty house fly.  Their main purpose from March (they peak in the Spring when the temperature is a steady 50 degrees or higher) to June is to help pollinate flowers, especially fruit trees and fruit bushes. Their average life span is about 8 to 10 weeks. Whereas, the honey bee works year around.

Finally, Mason bees only fly a few hundred feet away from their nests. The honey bee will travel up to 3 foot ball fields away in search of pollen.

How can I make a Mason Bee House?

Mason bee houses are simple to make at home or at local workshop in your area. They are even simple enough to make alone, or with your kids, and are a great way to help out your garden and give shelter to some of the most awesome pollinators on the planet.

Starting in the month of March, female mason bees look for shelter to lay their eggs. You will definitely want to have the house prepared ahead of time. If made with cedar wood (as I will explain below), the houses can easily be stored away at the end of June until the following Spring.
To start measure and cut four pieces of cedar wood as follows:
dimensions
wood
Drill 2 to 3 holes either side with 1inch screws:
drill3 house
You should have the shape of a house
house
Mount the house to the last slab of wood by drilling holes in the back
LILLIE DRILL
Roll approximately 40 to 50 tubes of newspaper each 6 inches long to be laid within the house.
ROLL
This is where the females will lay the eggs. A cool fact: female eggs will be laid towards the back of the house and male eggs will be laid towards front. This is to protect the female from predators such as woodpeckers.
packing

Once your house is complete follow these steps to insure your Mason Bees have a proper set up:

  1. Hang your house on a building, garage, post or tree that stands at least 3 to 6 feet tall.
  2.  The house should face east towards the rising sun each morning.

3. Make sure that mud is easily accessible for the bees to grab. You can easily dig a small mud patch near the house. Mason bees use the mud to securely pack and seal their eggs in the tubes.

4. Having your fruits and vegetables nearby the house helps since mason bees do not travel far.

Sources: Information gathered from The Mason Bee Workshop at the Shaker Lakes Nature Center in Ohio

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The Big Pay Back!

We are an enlightened people who will not just reach for the shelf! We will take back our bodies, our minds, and our planet and furthermore what we consume and use will be conscientiously thought about. We do not need you to necessarily “prepare” our food and products, we just ask that you make available to us access to non-GMO seeds and allow for organic space and living to create our own. For those who cannot grow everything, allow farmers to raise and grow their animals, fruits, and veggies organically. We will slowly start to replace your shelf products with a healthier alternative for our friends, families and ourselves. We will spread the word, create and educate those around us.

Disclaimer: The following article is an informative article about some simple swaps that my family and I have consciously chosen to remove out of our lives for a healthier lifestyle. It may not be necessarily a good choice for you and your family. However, I confidently stand by my choices and would like to offer you the opportunity to seek a better understanding of what you are consuming and using.

For many, unbeknownst to us, we wake up to a routine of: showering with Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate(soap). After we dry off, we wipe moisturizer onto our skin with Panthenol, and brush our teeth with fluorinated toothpaste.

Knowledge is power! The more that you seek to understand and pay attention to what you are using and consuming, the more power you are giving back to yourself. You do not have to take my word for it. Simply read up on it and do your research.

Let’s take a look at some simple “swaps” that my family has made that you might like to consider and research further:

Swap Iodized Salt for Pink Himalayan Salt

bigpay2Pink Himalayan Salt

Pink Himalayan is a non-processed, healthier and more nutritious alternative to salt, containing over 84 minerals and trace elements, including iron, calcium, copper, magnesium, and potassium to season your food. Many of us have come to watch our salt intake due to the offerings of high sodium table salt at restaurants. Pink Himalayan gives you a reason to season! Take your salt back!Pink Himalayan can also be used to detox your colon and heal your adrenal gland! Check out the recipe for this master cleanse here: http://7-min.com/himalayan-salt-water-flush-recipe/ 

Other seasoning swaps to try:

Garlic Salt – use garlic cloves or minced garlic

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Replace garlic salt with minced garlic or garlic cloves for a healthier alternative.

 

 

Black pepper – use peppercorn grinders

Regarding packaged seasonings –just understand this – Say Bye-Bye to seasonings containing dye, TRICALCIUM PHOSPHATE, OLEORESIN (true words off a seasoning label) and all those strange words that none of us truly understand. Most ingredients that will season your food can be grown or purchased from a farmers market. It may require some preparation but once you have an abundance, those seasonings can be stored in the freezer or in jars. Just like they store packaged seasonings on the shelf at the grocery store – but without the other additives. Won’t take my word for it? Next time you go to a commercial grocery store read the labels on packages and watch the scientific experiment wording labels explode!

 

Swap Cow Milk for Almond, Rice, or Soy Milk

 

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 Almond Milk

 

A childhood favorite that can’t be wrong. Right? Let’s consider some common sense facts before the criticism. Baby cows consume their mother’s cow milk. It has all the nutrients and vitamins it needs from its mother for it to grow and become a healthier cow (of course!) Same concept as with a human mother producing milk to breastfeed her children. Even at birth we are told not to feed our children cow’s milk until after age 1, however after age 2 through adulthood we should be free and clear to consume this substance. The only difference is that our bodies by age 1 has built up antibodies and are able to consume more than that of a newborn could, but are we really free and clear to consume a milk that was produced by a cow mother for her baby? There are also other additives to milk such as hormones, pus, blood… I can go on. Check out this article by Global Healing Center to get the nitty gritty on cow milk http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/dangers-of-cows-milk/

However, not to worry. There are several fantastic healthier variations of milk that give you that rich, creamy taste that you are seeking on your taste-buds. Almond Milk is my families #1 choice for a non- animal milk replacement. Almond milk is made from almonds which are mixed together with water. The result is a rich creamy milky like substance. As muchas I used to love my cow milk, this was easy to switch to. We have also tried rice milk and soy milk, but found almond to not only have the most protein, but also a great taste to use in our cereals and other favorite dishes that call for milk!

 

Swap Canned Food for Whole Food

Can food has become so popular in most households for the convenience of longevity and simplicity. But, what comes in those cans are ingredients that can be harmful to our bodies. Additives to canned vegetables, soups and meats to prolong the shelf life are digested into our systems. And we wonder why our intestines are blocked and constipated.

A nice start would be to grow or buy  fresh vegetables and fruits and either use them within a few days (yes go back again for more in a few days) or you can freeze them. Homemade soups can be prepared ahead of time such as chicken noodle, and cream of mushroom and can also be stored away in the freezer.

A little preparation ahead of time can go a long way to leading your family away from the “shelf life.”

 

Swap Meat for Local Hormone-Free Grown Meats or Vegetarian Substitutes

At a young age, I eliminated red meat out of my diet completely. Still a work in process, I am slowly eliminating both chicken and turkey. My husband being a vegetarian makes it easy for me to swap certain dishes that call for beef or turkey by using soy or turkey meat. When the kids and I need our poultry fixings, we do our best to buy meat from kosher, amish, organic, or free range labeling local farmers. We rarely purchase deli packaged meats as they are full of sodium and that strange slimy gel that appears just doesn’t seem right. The solution: Try roasting a whole chicken or turkey for the week for sandwiches. Just all around better for the tummies!

 

Swap Fluoridated Toothpaste for Non-Fluoridated Teeth Cleaning Options

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Tom's has become a household favorite for its non-fluoridated choices.

Tom’s has become a household favorite for its non-fluoridated choices.

Pick up your favorite commercial toothpaste and read the label. More than likely it is packed with words that the average consumer won’t be able to pronounce. So why put those chemicals on your teeth to push down into your stomach? Fluoride is also NOT our friend. Fluoride not only blinds your third eye (pineal gland that is responsible for your spiritual connection to Source), but also is toxic to our overall health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, most doctors, dentists and other health establishments make no money from taking these products of the shelf. They like to push the ‘idea”that Fluoride is good for us. Not convinced? Check out this article from Dr. Axe athttps://draxe.com/avoiding-fluoride-and-how-to-detox-it-from-your-body/.

Solution: There are Fluoride free toothpastes such as Tom’s for your family. If you want to take it one step further here are some recommendation’s that my family and I have used for years.

Activated Charcoal  leaves a supreme, oxygenated clean feeling. Prolonged use also whitens the teeth. It can be super messy at times, but worth it once you learn how to do it right!

Virgin Pressed Coconut Oil  can be used as a maintenance in between teeth cleanings and dental office visits. This is often known as oil-pulling. A half a teaspoon a day swish in your mouth for as long as you can stand (15 minute minimum recommended) helps prevent tooth decay and cavities.

Peroxide  an excellent alternative to alcohol driven mouthwash. Swish peroxide mixed with water in your mouth for a bubbly fresh feeling in your mouth.

 

Swap Chemical Cleaning Products for Simple Household Products

Cleaning products are full of toxic chemicals that can get into our skin and cause long-term damage and irritation. Remember this rule of thumb: most things that we clean with should be okay to also consume(ammonia should Not be eaten, but aren’t as toxic as other chemicals). Go back to basics with household products such as Baking soda, vinegar, borax, ammonia, and lemons.

Baking Soda  good for deodorizing, and cleansing. Add some tea tree, peppermint, eucalyptus oil for afresh carpet cleaning deodorizer.

Vinegar  freshens, eliminates odors and cuts through tough stains.

Borax  can be used for cleaning clothes. It also can be used to eliminate fluoride from the body. Make a fresh detergent with Borax using this “chemical-free” recipe atwww.dwellinginhappiness.com

Ammonia  can be used for window cleaning, lifting stains and dirt. Add some fresh squeezed lemons to a squeeze bottle and you are in business!

Lemons  the strong citric acid in lemons is known for cutting through grease and eliminating odors. That’s why most cleaning products purchased on “the shelf” contain lemon scent. You can take raw lemons and wipe off counter tops, toilet seats, and clean the ring around the tub. Squeeze into any mixture above for a lemon fresh scent. Grapefruits work just as good so give those a try!

Cleaning the skin – When it is shower and bath time I highly recommend Bonner Brothers Peppermint soap. It’s one of the most natural soap/cleaners on “the shelf” that can be used to clean the body and the house. The label on this product says it all.

 

Swap Sweetener’s for Raw Organic Honey

My goodness! I could go on and on about how terrible these Aspartame chemical flavored sweeteners are out there. Honestly, there are NO healthy and chemical free sweeteners out there that come in little packets. PERIOD! Just say NO! And white raw Sugar consumption is toxic. Check out this video from sikuvideo for a brief overview of Sugars effect on the body: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yda8RtOcVFU

What do I recommend when you need to get your “sweet on?”

Raw Organic Honey  get as close to the source as possible. It may require some soul searching trying to locate a local farmer that you can purchase honey from, but it’s well worth it. We use honey to replace syrup on pancakes, sugar in oatmeal and so on.

Coconut Sugar  similar taste, but healthier alternative to brown sugar that can be used in baking and other recipes that you would normally put sugar in.

This list is short and to the point because sugar in general is just plain bad man. It is.

 

Swap Plastic Bottled Water for Glass Bottled Water

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Reuse your glass jugs by refilling with fresh water at stores such as Whole Foods.

True: It can be super hard to find pure water that naturally comes from the source. I truly don’t think there is one water company out there today that is 100% pure and not cleaned with some “type” of chemical. But again, there are always better choices!

My family and I recently switched from purchasing plastic jugs and storing our water in glass jars. Plastic bottles are not only bad for the environment (hard to decompose), but plastic also contains harmful chemicals that can interfere with the hormones in our bodies. To make this simple switch, we purchased large glass jugs of organic apple cider from Whole Foods for $3.99. Once those jars were emptied we took the jugs to Whole Foods for a $.33 jug fill up at their filtered, oxygenated water station! Not only is it some of the BEST water I have ever tasted, but you can’t beat the cost for the quantity. Recycle and Repeat!

Wondering how to take water on the go? I recently came across these cool glass bottles at www.faucetface.com

As with introducing anything new into your life, making small gradual changes work best. Are there any daily household products or foods that you or your family have “swapped” out of your lives?  I would love to hear about it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Veggie Spaghetti

It’s dinnertime again. Your family is probably getting tired of eating the same boring spaghetti! Last night, my family and I sat down to a delicious healthy alternative. We added a powerful punch of fresh veggies, spice and vitamin C! As your family’s food choices change, so will your dinner plans. If you have vegan, vegetarian, or even meat eaters ino your home, this dish will please everyone! I also recommend for anyone attempting to make any small gradual food swaps.

 

(any items listed below may be substituted or left out depending on your vegetable)

Here is the recipe for my veggie spaghetti:

Sophia’s Vegetarian Spaghetti

1 pkg meatless meat (we purchased our from Trader Joe’s)

 

1 pkg brown rice gluten free noodles (we purchased our from Trader Joe’s)

 

1 yellow or purple onion

 

1 small yellow zucchini

 

1 small green zucchini

 

1 half of an eggplant

 

1 small banana pepper for spice

 

4 roma tomatoes

 

1 green pepper

 

1 red pepper

 

1 yellow pepper

 

2 cans organic spaghetti sauce (we purchased our from Trader Joe’s)

 

2 tablespoons organic brown sugar (optional)

 

2 cloves of garlic or minced garlic

 

Himalyan Pink Salt & peper

 

Olive Oil for sauteing

 

Begin by boiling noodles, while simultaneously sautéing cut vegetable chunks with olive oil in separate pan. After sautéing approximately 5 minutes (keep crunchy) add meatless meat (if using red or turkey meat sauté in separate pan until brown than add). Add garlic, salt, and pepper. Finally, add spaghetti sauce to meat and veggies. Let simmer a few minutes.