Looking for Sustainability ideas

I thought I find a way to keep costs down while still trying to stay eco-friendly. Trying to keep striving for sustainability. This a record of that journey.

Sometimes blunt and straight forward then sometimes sarcastic

This frugal crunchy hipster single momma is doing what she can to save Mother Earth while not breaking the bank!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Green? I thought I was being Lazy and/or Frugal!


It is everywhere.. the evening news, some of our favorite shows on TV, magazines and on line; hints to help you go green. The simple ways you can save energy and reduce your carbon footprint.

Many of them I do out of the way I was raised. My parents grow up on farms. Way Way Way long time ago. They learned to conserve water just because they had to get it from the pump out in the back yard. If you used all the water you had to go pump more. They raise their family that way. Conserving helped with the bills and of course left more disposable income. Pinching pennies as my dad called it.
I can hear them now:

Turn off the lights if you are done in there.
You have been in that shower long enough Young lady
Shut the refrigerator door!
Shut the door you are letting all the heat out!!
Are you done watching TV? Turn it off.

So I been told that paying my bills on line is green, huh I thought I was being lazy. I don't have to find a place to park. Stand in line forever some days.... Then be greeted by a very bored sounding teller. I want to say I am sorry my deposit is boring you.

Making things from scratch. I could make a cake cheaper than they want at the store and MINE taste better. The other half will not be thrown away because it sat on the counter for two days.

Eat one vegetarian meal a day will help cut carbon emissions. Ok so I have a vegetarian daughter so to make 2 different meal would be not worth it at times. I really do like pasta without meat and vegetarian chili.

Grow your own food. I'm trying to do that, I have a couple little green tomatoes and a pepper... Free food!

The microwave and crock pot are energy savers. I love using my crock pot! It cooks slowly and makes the food so tender. I can home from work and my food will be done. How easy is that. The microwave is good for quick snacks and defrosting. 60 seconds away from a hot snack.

Run only full loads. First off I don't have a dishwasher but I think I make sure it was full before washing them. My luck I forget one glass or fork and have to start the cycle over!! Laundry isn't hard to have a full load, ask any mom. Just keep your teen-ager away from washing that favorite pair of jeans by themselves!!

Did think that the things you do to save money really had a green shade to it? I guess I am a dark shade of green then I thought..........

ivy

Friday, August 28, 2009

Genetically modified (GM) foods to eat or not to eat.

So today I went to the farmers market and got the sweetest sweet corn I have had in a long time. I got to thinking about the fuss with Genetically modified foods. Is the fact that we are genetically changing our foods some how change the taste? Plus it is so confusing the whole controversy. Is it really as bad as I hear about?


GM foods help feed the world. They are modified to be insect pest resistance and or to help keep the weeds from growing. Food crops are not the only thing that is modified. They are modifying the poplar tree to help clean up soil contaminated with heavy metals. Researchers are trying to develop edible vaccines. The idea is that it would be easier to ship. That would make it so easy to get your little one to take their medicine or even your pets. But then how easy would it be that that same little one overdosing because it taste like food.

Well we have been eating GM foods for almost 10 years now. 54% of our soybean crops are GM and 25% corn with cotton, rapeseed (or canola) and potatoes trailing behind.

There are three different government agencies that over look GM foods. The EPA evaluates GM plants for environmental safety, such as pesticides or toxins that may cause harm to the environment. The USDA evaluates whether the plant is safe to grow, and the FDA evaluates whether the plant is safe to eat. Then of course there is a lot of talk of this agency doesn't cover corn being used for cattle feed and it just is so confusing.

BUT the downside........

Our children are developing life-threatening allergies to peanuts and other foods. The GM foods can be in your baby food without you knowing.

Gerber baby foods and Frito-Lay refuse to use GM foods. Heinz is changing their policies due to the public outcry.

The bees and monarch butterflies are dying has be sited as the insect pest resistance plants don't target the bad, but can kill the helpful bugs. How do we know that we are not making super bugs. Mosquitoes developed resistance to the now-banned pesticide DDT.

European Parliament has passed a law that all food must be labeled as GM food. Beginning the first of 2010 they must be marked. US is one of few countries that doesn't have a law stating GM foods must be label as such.

But I found something interesting on line at Plu codes users guide. Page 7

PLU codes on the labels on your fruits and veggies.
A four-digit number or a 0 means it's conventionally grown.
A five-digit number beginning with 9 means it's organic.
A five-digit number beginning with 8 means it's genetically modified.

Yea now I can tell if they are GM foods because really can we afford to keep killing a group of animals off and damaging our children for fear of the next dust bowl?

I think I will try to get to the farmers market more often. Stay away from a five digit number ending in a 8. Being that person with the allergies, never know what my body might nopt be able to process.
ivy

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The double edge Sword of being green

I find that many items that are being label green or eco-friendly are very misleading. Ok yes it true they may have been made from 100% recycled whatevers, but if they are made in China, Japan, or anything overseas is that really green?

Because green is more than just reusing and make something from recycled products. It's about the environment. That includes the gas that the airplanes use to fly the product to the states. The gas it uses to ship the product all over the states. PLUS it is more energy to recycle plastic that to make new plastic or glass. Glass recycling is the easiest. Ever watch a glass blower? All it needs is to be reheated and reshaped. Steel and aluminum are easy to recycle also it the same matter. But still take a lot of energy.

It also sad to say that little of the plastics we put in the blue bags or recycling bins make it to become that can be recycled again. Items that are marked made with recycled plastic can be made from plastic that are just mistakes from the factory never making your grocery store let alone your recycling center. Most of the time the plastic from the recycling center are made into plastic lumber and parking lot bumpers. Not all plastics are recycled!! Eleven states are sueing the American Plastics Council for misleading the public. Because many buy these bottles think that I am recycling them, it won't hurt the environment and are never recycled. New York State is quoting $5 per ton of plastic as what they receive from recycling companies. It doesn't work out to be cost effective. Because before they are shipped they must be separated into each number that you find on the bottom of your plastics. Plus it is a hit or miss business. At one time they will be a big demand for the plastic then none for months. Not a sound business venture in this troubled times it wouldn't not be a sound investment.

Plastic recycling also contributes to health problems. That areas with plastic recycling centers have pollution that can effect those with weak amunine systems. Most of the center however are located in countries with weak environmental controls. I'm sure we all have smelled the horrible smell when someone placed a plastic item to close to the stove, threw it in the fire or overheated in the microwave. :Shudders: Could you imagine that 24/7?

Sad is that the general public is thinking that their recycling, reducing, reusing and buying eco-friendly marked product actually help the environment. But it can have a misleading label, use more energy than needed to remake and just be not worth the extra money.

I would say that reusing would be your best bet. Not buying the water in plastic bottles, but reusing a water bottle or sports bottle. Same with container that hold food and remember don't reheat your food in the microwave in plastic containers.

That buying something just because it says recycled may not be what they claim. Remember that buying local manafactured items is better for the environment and the countries economy................ If you can use what you got you don't need to buy new even if it is marked made from 100% recycled whatever.....

ivy

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Has ubber green gone to far?

So as you can tell by my last post I have been surfing the net and reading many of my favorite green sites. I have been seeing to many things that are just plain shocking, leaving me to wonder has the ubber green followers gone to far?

First thing that really made me go huh? was potty whispering or know as elimination communication (EC). Basically this is a practice of talking to your baby as they are pooping or wetting their diaper. AND using the babies tell signs of "going potty" to hold your child over the toilet as to help them understand where you want them to go. That basically the baby doesn't want to mess their diaper they want to go to the potty. Hummm I agree that babies aren't stupid but then I really don't believe they are thinking that they don't want a diaper on. Are they really thinking I have to go, are they thinking I want to go or just yes thank-you parent person for removing my soiled diaper. You see this helps with limiting the number of diapers used, less landfill and less cloth diapers that have to be washed. This will save 15-20% of the approximately 27.4 billion disposable diapers used in the US.... but really? Isn't this another thing to attack the already shaky psyche of a new parent specifically the mother? What your 6 month old doesn't go diaper free part time? You DON"T potty whisper?? GASP!
Confused? The basics of potty whispering is watch and put over a toilet. So you watch your baby try to learn their signs of when they use their diaper. You can basic tell when they are using their diaper by watching, learn their natural rhythms and by instinct. hummm I know at times I thought oh nice the little one is making a stinky diaper for grandma but it ends up that they just had gas. We do this on instinct already. You hold them over the potty for them to do their business. There was a picture of a 3 month old. Ok really that young? Wow I am glad I don't have to worry about potty training anymore. I am told that girls are easier and I was very lucky the wet diaper was the biggest motivator, plus a bigger kid friend who had a cool potty that made all the grown ups go OH You're a big boy now. She just decided to use it just like he did. Yea I am braggging but it was that easy for me. I feel for the moms that don't have it as easy as I did. Plus working mommas have really hard they can't watch their babies 24/7, again the war between the working mommas and the stay at home mommas gets more attention.
raSo I think if I had a little one right now I wouldn't worry about potty whispering too much. I did have the fun of a little raw bottom from diapers that gave her a rash out and left her on a towel with a changing pad under that to help air it out, but to hold her over the potty and tell her to go on the potty at 3 months. Nope, I don't think I would have done that far!!

Then it was the colon cleansing that is recommended that had me going huh?. Shame on them. There are sites that are being sued now for using Oprah and Dr. Oz's names without their true endorsement. If you are ubber green you know that a colon cleanse should NOT be a choice because you already have eaten a balance diet. Stay away from those frozen family sized meals that you nuke to heat. Give up the sugar drinks. Ok that is my weakness.. :as she takes a drink of Pepsi:. Don't open that little envelope and mix in milk or water to make a meal that you could have done 20 some years ago from scratch. No need to remove toxins from your body you haven't placed any in your body. Or very few. Oh and : Don't nuke anything in plastic to not be exposed to BPA (Bisphenol A ) , use glass. Speaking of BPA don't use canned veggies or fruits, buy frozen or fresh. Don't wash your hair or body in anything containing Nitrosamines, Lead and Other Heavy Metals, Parabens, Phthalates, Hydroquinone, or 1,4-dioxane. Check the site Skin Deep first.

That was my rant for the day...........

ivy

Sunday, August 23, 2009

List of things to make

Ok maybe it is a list of things that I think would be cool to make. I don't have a dumpster in my backyard but wouldn't it be cool to have a swimming pool made from dumpsters. I really would love to make a window farm. . I think it just the time I am not looking forward to...

But I really loved the truck farm A film maker has a farm in the back of his Dodge Ram truck that he drives in Brooklyn, New York.

So I think after the window garden the first project I might actual do is make my own hammock


I also found a project that I really could do. Solar Jars or Moon Jars. But I would not buy a new solar light. I have had some break and my dad is trying to fix them. Plus he was wracking his brain - that's my dad's dads'speak for you, to make something to put on the patio table. So I show him the lifehacker page and well guess I am not making a Solar Jar or a Moon jar.... my dad is talking about making it. I will post a picture of it after he makes it... One for me and one for him.

Why not dream big? I saw this nice minibuilding. built with earthbags. Looks like a hobbit studio. to go with my hobbit house.
ivy

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I finally did it

So friends have told me for years I should sell my tote bags. I kept saying I would maybe one day set up a "shop" on those sites to try to sell them. I finally did it tonight, the sad thing is it is almost 2 AM now....... But it was fun. Check out my new site Selestial Creations!
ArtFire - Buy Handmade - Sell Handmade I have a mini veiwer in the side column of this blog, so you can see some of the things I sell.
ivy

Sunday, August 16, 2009

More craft recipes

I remember letting my little one when I was painting use her baby cereal as paint. No color added just a piece of paper and her cereal and she "painted" just like Mommy. Then we used juices to color the cereal. So naturally as she got older I looked for recipes for safer craft products.

Finger Paint

1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup water
Food coloring

Stir a small amount of water together with cornstarch, making a paste. Just like making gravy! Add the paste to the rest of the water in a pot. Over low heat stir while simmering until clear thick. Cool completely. Divide Add food coloring.

Natural Dyes
Lavender
Small Quantity of Purple Grape Juice
Violet Blossoms plus 2 tsp Lemon Juice
Red Zinger Tea

Violet Blue

Violet Blossoms
Small Quantity of Red Onions Skins (boiled)
Hibiscus Tea
Red Wine

Blue
Canned Blueberries
Red Cabbage Leaves (boiled)
Purple Grape Juice

Green
Spinach Leaves (boiled)

Greenish Yellow
Yellow Delicious Apple Peels (boiled)

Yellow
Orange or Lemon Peels (boiled)
Carrot Tops (boiled)
Celery Seed (boiled)
Ground Cumin (boiled)
Ground Turmeric (boiled)
Chamomile Tea
Green Tea

Golden Brown
Dill Seeds
Brown
Strong Coffee
Instant Coffee
Black Walnut Shells (boiled)
Black Tea

Orange
Yellow Onion Skins (boiled)
Cooked Carrots
Chili Powder
Paprika

Pink
Beets
Cranberries or Juice
Raspberries
Red Grape Juice
Juice from Pickled Beets

Red
Canned Cherries with Juice
Pomegranate Juice
Raspberries

Save the water from cooking the vegetables and use in the recipe.......

Not the greatest recipe for paint but it safer. Specially for little ones that fingers are finding their mouths.

I liked this one but it does have detergent in it so it is for older kids

1/2 flour
1/2 water
1 Tablespoon liquid detergent
Food coloring

Combine flour, water and detergent together. Stir until it become a smooth paste/ Divide and add food coloring

Paste

1/2 cup flour

Cold water

Add cold water to flour until a thick cream forms. Simmer on stove for 5 minutes. Add food coloring or flavoring if desired.

Cornstarch paste
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 cup water

Mix sugar and cornstarch together ina pot with a small amount of water. Stir until it makes a paste. Slowly add the rest of the water. Simmer until it looks like pudding. Cool and store in the refrigerator.


ivy

homemade craft supplies

Slime

Make a 50% water 50% white glue solution. Take 1/4 cup of each and mix thoroughly

Add 1 tsp. Borax to 1/2 cup of warm water. Stir until completely dissolved.

add the borax and water to the glue solution.

Add a couple drops of food coloring.
knead mixture together

If slime is too sticky, add a little more borax. If slime is too slippery, add a little more white glue solution. (50% glue/50% water)

Basic Play Dough:


Ingredients:

* 1 cup flour
* 1/4 cup salt
* 1 cup warm water
* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
* 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
* Add drops of food coloring
* For natural color, use beet, spinach, grape, blueberry or carrot juice

Directions:

Mix flour, salt and oil, and slowly add the water.
Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until dough becomes stiff.
Let cool for five minutes. Place dough onto wax paper until cool.
Knead until the dough is the proper consistency.
Divide and add drops of coloring to each ball, and knead until the color is distributed.
Add vanilla, peppermint, lemon or almond extract to the dough for a better smell.
Vitamin E oil to help protect against bacteria forming.

Can bake your little one masterpieces i the oven at 350 for 20 or until hardened. Let cool completely.

My favorite for keeping a masterpiece is:

Salt dough

4 Parts Flour & 1 Part Salt
Water (enough to make dough stiff )
Mix items together. Shape or roll and cut dough into shapes. When rolling out, do not roll thinner than ¼ inch – any thinner will break when dried. Paint can be added to dough and with glitter. Poke a hole at the top for a ribbon or string for hanging. Bake in a 225 degree oven for several hours and leave the ornaments in the oven to dry overnight. Can be painted/glittered after dry also

And for holiday ornaments I like:

Cinnamon Ornaments

1 Cup of Regular Applesauce (not the chunky variety)
1 Cups of Ground Cinnamon
1/4 cup of ground allspice
1/4 cup of ground nutmeg
1/3 Cup of White Glue

Mix all items together. Chill for 30 minutes or more to stiffen dough. Shape or roll and cut dough into shapes. When rolling out, don't roll thinner than ¼ inch, because it may crumble and break. Use more cinnamon instead of flour to keep from sticking. Poke a hole at the top for a ribbon or string for hanging. Place the shapes on a cooling rack and dry for about two days. The color is a deep brown when the dough is wet, will lighten when dry. .

ivy

Saturday, August 15, 2009

T-shirts! Scissors

Wonder where I been? Think I got lost? Well I kinda did.
With the shrug post i went and found a couple more videos that got me going crazy on t-shirts...

SO I don't really watch her tattoo show but this video explains so well. She has a great voice and works well with the camera.

Then I found this video and well in this video she does well; but some of her other videos she forgot to spit out her gum. It's the mom in me that wants to tell her to close her mouth when she chews her gum, or don't speak with food in your mouth...





But great place to really get lost at is ThreadBangers

So little young momma came over with my foster grandbaby and my batteries died!! I have to wait til she emails me the pictures she took... AND she had one on, she told me she got it from the mail, wet seal I think. I asked if it was cut like that and she yea, cause her sister got it for her.. because she had done a t-shirt for her like that years ago.....
Think for free you could make a shirt that would cost something like $30 at the mall!

Happy Cutting.... wait that doesn't sound right..... Happy designing.

ivy

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A shrug

Oh sweet! My daughter has this nice dinner to go to and a nice sundress she wants to wear. But her cover-ups are not matching.... So when I saw this shrug
You take a t-shirt. Cut the center of the front down the middle and then sew a casing for a drawstring. Then thread the string or ribbon threw the casing and tie. Whoa-la! A shrug!!

Oh yea might post pictures but first we have to find a t-shirt that matches. This might be a while...... Daughters even grown sometimes just don't see thing the same as their moms.
ivy

Organic food? Way to much for my budget

Really it is hard to budget a household with trying to go organic, with the price of everything going up. So I keep seeing this table of the "dirty dozen". The fruits and vegetables that score the highest in pesticides. I know a great place to keep it where I can find it. ;) Right here on my blog...... Go to theEnvironmental Working Group. And see the whole list.........


The following list is based on information and studies by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Consumer Reports, and the Environmental Working Group.
The dirty dozen:
1.Nectarines – 97.3%
2.Celery – 94.5%
3.Pears – 94.4%
4.Peaches – 93.7% .
5.Apples – 91%
6.Cherries – 91% .
7.Strawberries – 90% o
8.Imported Grapes – 86% of imported grapes (ex. Chile)
9.Spinach – 83.4%
10.Potatoes – 79.3% .
11. Bell Peppers – 68%
12..Red Raspberries – 59%


tested lowest in pesticide residue. Most have thick, inedible skins. Think armor!
Avocados
Bananas
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Corn
Kiwi
Mangoes
Onions
Papaya
Pineapples
Sweet Peas


So really good to know....
This is for you DJ. Good luck with the Raw Food lifestyle

ivy

Friday, August 7, 2009

Summer cook outs

It been awhile since I was a girl scout leader but I miss the camp outs...

We made solar cookers out of pizza boxes.
Cut the top one inch border around three sides (the part by the box leave attached
Keep the top and cover the opening you just cut with a cooking bag on the inside.
We used packaging tape
Line the inside bottom with black construction paper
Cover that with heavy duty foil
Cover the lid (that faces the open box-the part you cut) with heavy duty foil.

Close lid when baking, have the flap that is cover with foil propped up with a stick

We did English muffin pizzas, corn chips with cheese and chili, s'more's

I always wanted to make a bigger solar oven but they didn't like waiting for their food!!
I found a wedsite Solar Cooking Archive Reflective Box Solar oven . I just might make that one of these days when I get bored.

ivy

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Speaking of Back to School

Center for Health, Environment & Justice released the PVC-Free Back-to-School Guide. There is a smart pocket sized guilde to print out to take to the store with you..
.


They tell you that bad news happens in 3's so don't buy PVC.
I thought when I was reading this leaves of 3; leave it be!!

Humm it is summer I guess you know where my mind is.
Any packages with 3's on them use for craft supplies or to hold odd and ends if you have any. Or recycle them.

With all being said about the plastic containers that would leach
phthalates or BPA . Just a reminder that phthalates or BPA causes damage to humans. It is been linked to birth defects, hormonal imbalances and cancer. So many green sites are on side of removing all plastics. I however found at the Good Housekeeping site where they tested the plastic containers for levels phthalates or BPA and out most of the plastic containers didn't leach. They have the recycling number 5 in the arrows. They used spaghetti sauce to test them. We know how spaghetti sauce reacts to plastic... Truth is I wouldn't reheat food in them cause I fear melting the plastic but will take food to work in them, now I just feel better about my choice.

Seems like many of those old notebooks from the last year school year didn't get many pages removed. When my daughter was younger we would make them new again by getting stickers. Even the stickers I pay more than I would just to have a sticker was still cheaper than a new notebook. Or markers and stickers. Saying like "Too cool for school" was written on her notebooks became her favorite ones. When she hit middle school she would reuse them without the stickers knowing we would have more money for clothes, which to a pre-teen was more important.



ivy

Monday, August 3, 2009

Carolina Pad Give away- Go green fro back to school

At Clueless_Momma's Guessing all the way site she has a great give away just in time for back to school. Hey some of the schools in Cleveland start next week.
Carolina Pad has a green line the Sasquatch Collection Notebooks and dividers have made out of recycled paper. That is 80 % of the paper is recycled product. Pencil clutches are polyvinyl free.

Ok my first thought was that of many green companies that the only I would be able to get these notebooks was to order on line. Nope there are at many popular stores in my home town and your hometown. Places like Target, Staples, Wal-Mart, K-Mart and Walgreens. Yes one Idea book is on my shopping list.

Plus check out the other product line called the Kendall Kollection . It may not be green but it does have a big heart. The line was developed for the 2 year old cousin one of the signature designers that was fighting leukemia. It helps raise funds and awareness for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
The cousin luckily is now 6 and is in remission.

So check out Guessing all the way to enter for a Carolina Pad giveaway.
Good Luck!!!!


ivy

McLinky Blog Hop- ENCOURAGEMENT

Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections.”




MckLinky Blog Hop


ivy

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