Saturday, July 30, 2011

Easy, Green Living by Renee Loux
*****
Easy Green Living - Rodale






"We are what we eat, but we also are what we use to clean our homes, pamper our skin, and decorate our rooms.  Author Renee Loux demonstrates that being green at home is easy, affordable, and better in every sense of the word.  She discusses the daily choices we face that can keep the home, personal care, and beauty routines free of toxins.  She exposes the dirt on cleaning products and common hazardous ingredients and reveals her recommendations for greener options, including her 'Green Thumb Guides' for choosing chemical-free, eco-smart, and human-friendly products.  This complete lifestyle guide shows that healthier choices don't mean a radical or complicated life change-it is, after all, easy to be green."

The title of this book was what caught my eye.  These days, the effort is made on a daily basis to simplify and "green up" our lives.  Not only does the author have great tips about how to do just that, she delves into an area which is not often ventured.  She goes into detail about products folks use everyday and the chemicals that are laden in these mainstays, as well as their effects.  Education is the way to freedom, and having the knowledge that is available in this book allows one to make informed decisions about what we choose to put on and in our bodies, homes and workplaces.  Her recipes for cleansers are easy and simple to make and use.  Anyone who is striving to make their world healthier, safer and greener will enjoy this book.  It's a keeper.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thrifty Thursday

Thrifting never gets old.
You just don't know what you're gonna find out there.

I'm not much of a shopper.
In fact, I can count on three fingers the number of times
the mall has been visited in the past 2 years or so.
Don't miss it one bit.

Now, thrift stores are another animal altogether.
I guess I just love the treasure hunt!
Old stuff is good...




Adding another Fire King bowl to our collection
is satisfying, especially when you read the
"Made in the USA" inscription on the bottom.




Finding this glass cup was a treat.
We had a similar "Flintstones" cup
which Lil' Guy had dropped.
He felt so bad about breaking it beyond repair,
so I was thrilled to pick up this lil' cutie for 50 cents.




Ready for a nice cold glass of rice milk.

Being thrifty is a way of life for me.
It never occurred to me that it had a name,
it's just my nature.
The blogs that I follow embrace the same school of thought.
It seems that I'm in pretty good company!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pleasing Portulaca



Portulacas are a new addition to the garden this year.
Once described as "paper flowers"
due to their delicate blooms,
these beauties may look frail,
but they easily withstand poor conditions.



Thriving in poor or sandy soil and highly drought-tolerant,
these sweethearts ask for very little
but give the gardener quite a show.

The ruffled petals just keep on coming,
cast in vibrant colors.
You will sometimes find several hues on one plant.



Almost rose-like in appearance before blooming,
portulacas have a most interesting range of textures
contained within each plant.

















I think they're keepers...











Monday, July 25, 2011

Seeds, Organized

In the last few weeks, the weather's been perfect...



for planting seeds.



Overcast skies lend themselves well to working in the garden.
With the absence of extreme heat and the promise of rain,
I can't think of a better way to spend a weekend morning.





Out comes the basket of goodies.
There are still many flowers that will withstand
the heat and humidity.

I plan to have blooms well into the fall.




Seed saving is simple, easy and very relaxing.
These small jars are perfect for saving
when you have just a plant or two
that you are trying for the first time.




Larger containers come in handy repurposed
from the medicine cabinet.




Most seeds, though, end up in plastic zipper-type bags.
They just work well for volume.
It helps that you can see what's inside too.
Here are some I saved and some from a friend.
Clearly marking with permanent marker will ensure
the intended seeds get sown.




A neighbor was selling this plastic box in a yard sale.
It holds a multitude of seeds and seals
so that there is no worry about moisture.




This one was found at a thrift shop.
It houses our vegetable and fruit seeds.
Keeping the flower and food seeds separate
makes it easier when planting time comes around.




For now, this system works just fine.
As collections continue, it may no longer meet
the size requirements.
Storage is something that I always look for
at yard sales and thrift stores.
Seems you can always use it for something!



Happy planting!!!


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Java Jive


One of the best parts of my day is my morning cup of coffee.
Just smelling that mocha brown liquid brewing is a great way to start the day.
(Any fellow java junkies out there?)

It's a good idea to clean the inside cavity of your coffee maker every so often.  Ours gets cleaned about once a month.



See what I mean?
Yuck!
How does it get like this when it's just water going in there
and the lid is always closed?



We have a 4-cup capacity coffee pot, as I'm the only one around here addicted to the stuff.
Pour 1/2 C white vinegar into a measuring cup.
Add a coffee filter to the brew basket.



Fill the decanter the rest of the way with water up to the metal band.  Pour contents of decanter into reservoir,
just as you would to make a pot of java.  Repeat this process.

After the 2nd brew cycle, dump the vinegar/water mixture and the filter.  Repeat the process using only water once or twice more, to flush out the vinegar.




Enjoy your next cup-a-joe!



Friday, July 22, 2011

Ouchie Towel


This is our "ouchie" towel.
Every home with kids (or squeemish folks) should have one.
For anyone who can't stand the sight of blood,
(especially their own), this is a must-have.
They are more likely to stay calm if their ouchie
isn't quite so obvious. 
Keep an ouchie towel handy for those unavoidable mishaps.
You'll be glad you did!


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Toss, Keep, Sell! by Leah Ingram
****


"Looking for a way to make money and get your house in order?  Toss, Keep, Sell! teaches you how to turn the junk you haven't used (or even seen!) in ages into cash-while organizing your home at the same time.  To make decluttering easier than ever, each orderly chapter is organized by rooms and daily tasks and features."

The reason I wanted to read this book is because I love all things organizational.  While it does a good job of taking the reader through each room of the home with easy steps to aid in decluttering and reorganizing what's left, the focus seems to be more on making a profit from one's throw aways.  Having had bad experiences with traders on FreeCycle and Craig's List, things are rarely listed there anymore for giveaway or a modest charge.  This book made me rethink using Ebay as a means to jump start our savings account.
As we pare down our belongings in anticipation of moving to our homestead in the (very) near future, why not earn a bit of cash?  Toss, Keep, Sell! gives ideas about what really sells.

For folks who are new to organizing their homes, this book has great charts and quick tips.  There are personal testimonials from people who have decluttered while cashing in.  The author also has a blog where further frugal ideas are shared.  You can find that here.