Kid Safe Multi-Purpose Kitchen Spray and Ant Deterrent

We had our last snow a few weeks ago and since then the temperatures have been hovering in the mid-sixties. That means it's time to shut off the heat, open the house up, and start on my annual spring cleaning. I'm not much of a housekeeper, so it's a bit of a dreaded chore and with a busy little boy running around nothing every stays clean long anyway. 

This year, instead of trying to do everything at once I've made up a room-by-room plan. I'll start with the easiest room first so I can ease my way into it, then tackle the most difficult room last. The first item on my list, before I can even start cleaning, is to make a huge batch of multi-purpose spray from vinegar and oranges. I usually stock up on the necessary supplies around Easter when vinegar is on sale, then buy a case of Cuties for my son's Easter basket. Every time I peel an orange for a snack I drop the leftover peel in my repurposed 1-gallon glass jug and top it off with vinegar. After a couple of weeks I have enough cleaning solution to last the better part of a year. The best part is that it only costs pennies to make— I don't have to spend $10 or more on so-called natural cleaning products. 

Kid Safe Multi-Purpose Kitchen Spray and Ant Deterrent

Multi-Purpose Kitchen Spray and Ant Deterrent
makes 32 ounces

Ingredients

32 ounces white vinegar
1 large orange (see notes)
spray bottle

Directions

  • Remove a ½ cup of vinegar from the bottle and reserve for later. Pack bottle with orange peels, top with reserved vinegar, then reseal the bottle.
  • Set aside for several weeks in a cool dark place, then transfer the infused vinegar to spray bottles.
  • You can use the mixture straight or dilute it with 50% water to make it last longer. 

Notes

Did you know that oranges are a natural ant deterrent? Just spray your floor or countertop along the trail where you see ants coming in. It will mask the scent trail left behind for other ants to follow.

You can use any type of citrus peel for this recipe, you don't need to limit yourself to orange (although other citrus fruits may not work as well as an ant deterrent.) 

If you have hard water you may want to consider using distilled water to dilute the spray, otherwise it may leave white spots on the areas you've cleaned.

 

Tuesday Tea - Jan/Feb Subscription Box - Curious Tea

Last month Curious Tea offered a peek at their new subscription service which ships out of the UK. Of course, I was out of town when this happened and by the time I responded they were all out of the monthly box. Instead they allowed me to choose from a list of teas they still had on hand from previous months. Today I'll be sharing a light tea from the January Box and a Dark tea from the February box so you can get a feel for this new subscription service. They ship internationally, at reasonable prices, so this tea is available worldwide.

Snow Bud (Xue Ya) - from the January 2015 Light Box

Snow Bud (Xue Ya) - from the January 2015 Light Box

Suggested Brewing Tips:

Serving Size: 2 teaspoons (5g) per 16oz serving

Water Temp: 176°F/80°C

Steep Time: 4 - 5 minutes

Review:

I don't even know where to begin with this tea, except to say that I could drink a lot of it. The mild flavor and light sweetness pair well with almost any meal, or can be enjoyed on its own. I managed to drink the entire 50g (1.76oz) package in under a week. It's unusual for me to stick with the same tea for so long, I tend to get bored with it, but this seemed to fit all of my moods.

Because our weather is alternating between warm and cold I've switching back and forth between hot and iced tea. As it turns out, this makes a fabulous iced tea that doesn't need a sweetener. Those are my favorite kinds of tea because I'm still desperately trying to defeat my sweet tooth (with varying degrees of success.)

Pro Tip: If you find you're having unpredictable results brewing large leaf white or green tea try measuring by weight instead of using a teaspoon.

My Rating: 85/100

Would I order this again? Yes. This is great hot or iced and doesn't need to be sweetened making a it a great tea to cool off with once the weather heats up.

Darjeeling Castleton - from the February 2015 Dark Box

Darjeeling Castleton - from the February 2015 Dark Box

Suggested Brewing Tips:

Serving Size: 2 teaspoons (5g) per 16oz serving

Water Temp: 212°F/100°C

Steep Time: 3 - 5 minutes

Review:

Before I review the second tea in the box I want to take a moment to talk about some of the language used to describe Darjeeling teas. This particular tea was described as chalky, muscatel, with a hint of spice. Most of those words are easily recognized, but muscatel isn't a word that comes up in daily conversation for most people. So what is muscatel you ask? To put it simply, it's a flavor reminiscent of grapes or wine. You'll often see Darjeeling teas described as having this flavor and it is considered a very desirable trait.

Now that we've cleared that up, lets take a look at the tea itself.

The first thing I noticed about this tea is that it is very dry, with a wine-like, or muscatel flavor. When I hear Darjeeling tea referred to as the champagne of teas, this is exactly the type of tea I picture. It has many of the same characteristics of a quality champagne.

That said, I have to be in a very specific mood to enjoy this type of tea. I avoid them at all costs during the hot summer months when I'm already parched. I think they're better suited to cooler weather. Oftentimes you'll find me drinking this type of Darjeeling after a meal when I need something to clear my pallet, or when I have company that enjoys drinking wine. Often times wine drinkers love the characteristics of this type of tea. 

My Rating: 81/100 

Would I order this again? Yes. This is a great tea for sharing with friends, but isn't something I would drink every day.

Box Summary

I was impressed with this box from Curious Tea, they definitely paid attention to detail. My teas arrived in under ten days and when I opened the box I found my teas wrapped in blue art paper. I know I'll be repurposing this at some point, it's gorgeous! On the lid of the box were cards with steeping instructions, a brief description of the tea, as well as space for taking tasting notes. All of the information I needed was easily found, but I did have to hop online to convert the temperature from ˚C to ˚F since I never can remember the formula, even though I know it's simple.

I never have and never will have a math-brain. That gene skipped over me and went to my little brother. I on the other hand got the good looks in the family (but don't tell him I said that ::grins::)

As for the tea, the quality was top-notch. Both selections were teas I would consider ordering again, but unfortunately Curious Tea doesn't currently offer an option for reordering the teas I enjoy. That is the only negative thing I found with this box, but according to the FAQ they are working to make reorders possible in the near future.

Overall Box Rating: 83/100 - I'd definitely order it again!

Plan Description:

When you buy one of our monthly tea subscriptions you will receive on a monthly basis a box containing two types of high-grade premium loose tea. The pouches contain 50g each (not just the small amount in the bowl pictured!), which is enough tea for 40 cups minimum in total. The contents of the box are different each month, so that way you will be able to experience a wider variety of tea. This is perfect for broadening your tea knowledge and for trying out new types of tea.

When you start your subscription with Curious Tea you choose between light, dark, or mixed teas.

Light teas include green, white, yellow, lightly oxidized oolong and other similar types.

Dark teas include black, red, pu-erh, heavily oxidized oolong and other similar types.

Mixed teas offer a wide variety of tea: 1 tea from the light box and 1 from the dark box.

You also choose your subscription length:

Monthly £16.95 / $25 USD or Quarterly £44.85 / $66.00 USD 
shipping is free to the UK, but there is an additional charge for international shipping

You can see what has been included in past boxes by visiting the Curious Tea Blog.

Disclosure:

In an effort to be open with my readers I want to let you know that Curious Tea has provided me with a free month of their subscription service. As always, all opinions are my own.