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!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Vampires in my home!!

Shriek!! There are vampires in our homes! Yes it true, Most home have more than one! Spooky vampires waiting to .... ..... .... drink your ..... energy! 30% of all energy use is for the vampires in our home. In the United States alone that is lost is around 4 billion dollars a year to these monsters. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Stand By power table shows the biggest offenders. It's called vampire energy loss.
So wooden stakes and holly water will not work on these vampires. But surge protectors, unplugging the item and the energy star will!! Unplug that TV in the spare bedroom, the DVD player if you don't use it very often, and unplug the cell phone, camcorder, or camera chargers; for they are still using energy even after being turned off.

Plasma TV a big Count Dracula vampire will cost if it was in stand-by mode only $160 a year. Computers $34. VCR $10 might not seems like much but it will start adding up!

Ok granted something does eat some energy when turned off but can cause problems when you plug it back in, so that is the time (when replacing them) you look for a Energy Star Product. The computer might not be a good item to unplug but the monitor and speaker system are the bigger robber of energy on stand-by. So these items can be on one surge protector to turn off after use.

If you have some young ones that would like to help with the hunt of the vampires check out Energy Hogs.Org site they have a great check list to help you hunt out the vampires lurking around..... and help to keep them from sucking you dry!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy Halloween everyone................


ivy

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cereals and Ads killing our kids?

Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity just released a report that states “The worst cereals are being marketed very heavily to children.” Your preschool children can see on average 642 cereal commercials in one year! Now if you look at the boxes there are saying like Now made with whole grains and healthier! But look on the back and see that they could be as high as 50% sugar by weight. Healthy? With 50% Sugar? That equals the nutritional equivalent of a glazed doughnut. For many of these cereals have 12 or more grams of sugar per serving

The Food and Drug Administration is planing to have standard to labeling. Truth in labeling. That a cereal high is sugar can not be labeled as healthily. Sad thing is the commercials and the little ones wanting the sugar filled cereal will not end. Marking it with a big check mark and labeling in healthier is just another marketing ploy. Yes it is true that the cereals are healthier than before because the sugar dropped 3½ to 3 teaspoons a serving on average. Healthier but not healthy. But it also fact that kids that eat these cereals also eat 2 bowls. That's like eating 2 glazed donuts! Those cereals that we add sugar to will equal less sugar then the cereals with sugar and they still eat less. Win win situation!

Web MD posted the following as the best cereals. They add that served with milk and a piece of fruit you have a balanced breakfast,

  • Cheerios (General Mills), with just 1 gram of sugar, 3 grams of fiber, and 190 milligrams of sodium.
  • Kix (General Mills), with 3 grams of sugar, 3 grams of fiber, and 210 milligrams of sodium.
  • Life (Quaker Oats), with 6 grams of sugar, 2 grams of fiber, and 160 milligrams of sodium.
  • Honey Nut Cheerios (General Mills), with 9 grams of sugar, 2 grams of fiber, and 190 milligrams of sodium.
You know keeping kids from sugar sweet stuff is the hardest thing to do, but some of the cereals that Web MD found as good are:
  • General Mills: Cookie Crisp, Golden Grahams Honey Graham, Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Trix, Reese’s Puffs.
  • Kellogg: Frosted Mini-Wheats Bite Size, Frosted Flakes Gold, Frosted Flakes, Cocoa Krispies, and Frosted Flakes Reduced Sugar.
  • Post: Fruity Pebbles, Honey-Comb, Cocoa Pebbles.
I was lucky my daughter doesn't like really sweet sugary cereals. She likes Cheerios dry, Frosted Mini-Wheats Bite Size, and Apha Bits dry. Two out of three isn't to bad.


ivy

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I got a Bamboo Cutting Board!

My dad found me a bamboo cutting board at Marc's Discount store. Bamboo the is eco-friendly stuff that many green gurus have been telling us about. Bamboo really isn't a tree it is a grass. It has sustainably because it grows quickly and is stronger than most woods making it last longer. Very little water is absorbed by bamboo keeping it from shirking and warping, Some species can grow as fast as a foot a day. Go Bamboo!

So then I think wow I have t get on line do a search on how to care for my new cutting board. Ok not the first thing, that was to get rid of the nasty old one. Sad thing is that I have thrown it away many times but the kids get it out soak it and tell me "it's ok now I soaked it" But it still gives me the ebee gebees.. Use the glass one! The glass one now is the meat cutting board. They thought that it is too big, so I had to find a small cutting board...... Dad was witness to his daughter's out cry plus his granddaughters rolling eye balls and found a nice one for the peace offering to the ladies of this house. He does love all the ladies in this house.... We Love him... Poor man caught in between a rock and a hard place as he would say!! Plus the board was $1.99.

What I learned:

Hand wash with mild detergent
Once a month and before first use wipe with food-grade mineral oil.
Use hydrogen peroxide or vinegar to sanitize
Bee wax to keep nice looking


Hand washing the board with your dish-washing liquid is your best bet. Use a gentle rubbing motion. Do NOT soak or use dishwasher.
When applying the food grade mineral oil heat on low heat or microwave for 30 seconds. Apply generously as more is better than not enough. What the board needs it will soak in. Let sit for about 25 minutes. Wipe with clean cloth to remove extra. Now I read that Martha Steward uses organic olive oil on hers. BUT I didn't find anything on her site. I really don't want to use mineral oil because it is a petroleum by-product ... I have read beeswax, walnut, almond or coconut oil will work. So beeswax might win for my new board. This was the biggest search for a sub for mineral oil.

3% Hydrogen Peroxide. Kept in a spray bottle to sanitize the board fast. After sanitizing, rinse with hot water. Dry your board and dry upright. Keep dry between uses. Bacteria grows with moisture.

Getting Ready for Halloween



I love Halloween! The costumes, the candy, and the parties that make Halloween my favorite holiday of all. But how can a green momma make this eco-friendly? I have thought and fought this for many years.

The costume is the most fun thing for a small child. It also can be the biggest fight. See rows and rows of plastic I want that costumes at the big stores is my biggest fight. I hated those things when I was a kid. The mask would get all gross from me breathing in to the mask. The plastic would feel weird and shift making it hard to walk. So not because I was green it was because I had girls that hated the feel of labels in their clothes let alone the seams on the socks. I would make costumes from old clothes and adding some wonderful accessories.

We had princesses with fancy dress that they didn't like to wear to school because they were too puffy. Add some necklaces and a crown that we made from a headband or got from the dollar store. Now being jeans and t-shirt people, we had hippies with this outfit very easily. One daughter loved ballet so she was a ballerina. She wore her Tu-Tu, tights and leotard and became a ballerina. Cowgirls was easy too. A flannel shirt from Dad and jeans with a cowboy hat. They got to carry a rope and a play gun. A black cat was a favorite costume. I made ears from black fuzzy material. Very easy to do. Cut triangles from the back and pink for the inside. Sew together leaving the bottom open. Stuff with fiberfill. Sew bottoms to a heavy plastic hair headband the type with a open end. Sew the bottom of this tight to the hair band.......... She get to wear black sweat pants and a black sweatshirt. Ta Da. She was also a dog one year with long ears but that was something her grandparent found for her at the store....

I have my favorite too. I fall back on being a gypsy! I wear a flowing top with a big skirt add a shawl. Add a bunch of necklaces and I become a gypsy. I really like the bohemian look to this day. So it isn't to hard for me to pull this off. I can't wear a shirt or a head-cover. So I am going to wear a pair of black pants and flowing shirt I got from Good Will.

Friday, October 23, 2009

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month



Breast cancer has snacked this family with more than one punch. We lost my daughters great-grandmother when she was two. (Her fathers grandmother.) My mother had a radical modified mastectomy, chemo and the whole nine yards. She went into remediation for 5 years and it returned to the same breast and the other. My daughter was very little and all she remembers of her grandmother is with cancer. She lost her when she was only 8 years old. Her father's mother found a lump and had a lumpectomy and chemo. She is doing ok and it has been many years. So when we see shows with breast cancer news we like to watch.

Here is what we have learn:

lower your body mass index (BMI)
30 minutes a day of exercise (my mom would walk with my dad everyday)
Eat more fruits and veggies
Spicy foods help keep blood strong
Drink green tea at least 3 cups
2 aspirin or 2 acetaminophen a week
Vitamin D
Don't smoke
Limit alcohol
Watch the hormones, even from soy


I know many of you have seen the email that says that anti-perspiration. Spend some time on the Skin Deep: Cosmetic Safety Database many of the cosmetics have known cancer causing ingredients, developmental problems, (and these are found in children products!!) brain and nervous system effects, and irritation
Plus many items can cause problems with your reproductive, endocrine system and or kidney or renal system effects. Not only for the human body but many ingredients are known to be a wildlife or environmental toxin! And we use them on our bodies and our children.... Scary!

So my daughter really loves the pink ribbon stuff, the pens, the coffee, and whatever that has a pink ribbon on it. I start my holiday shopping in October for my daughter....... I really was hoped that there would be a cure before the girls got boobs... but it didn't happen



ivy

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Awards!!


I'm blushing I just got another reward! This one is the Over the top award.
From Tanya over at The Grab Bag
The rules are to pick 5 blogs that are new and that I am happy I found.
My five are:
A Faded Rose
A Sparkly Messy Life
Butterfly Wishes
My Life's Journey as a Young Mom
Shhh...don't tell the kids I'm here...


HERE ARE THE BEST BLOG AWARD RULES:

1. To accept this award, copy and save the award then post it in your blog together with the name of the person who granted the award to you and of course with his/her blog link. Please do leave a comment.
2. Pass the award to other 15 bloggers of your choice. Remember to contact the blogger to notify them that they have been chosen for this award.

So here are my top blog picks:
Two Peas in a Pie
Theta Mom
8 Muddy Boots
Web Savy Mom
A Frugal Housewife in-training
Be Blessed!
Beautiful Moments
Critical Mass
Frugal Green Girl
Homemade Mamas

ivy

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Where's my sexy eco-friendly guy?



So I guess this would be better titled green eye candy! I keep seeing all these sexy guys that are pushing for the green way and think hum wheres my green guy? Most guys at first think it is cute then think Oh s**t her she goes again.. Styrofoam once in a while wouldn't kill you. Well it does take 1000 of years to decompose. Guess I am looking in all the wrong places!!

We all have heard of Brad Pitt helping build green housing in the areas of New Orleans that Katrina destroyed. Would that be so great! Building house right next to Brad Pitt...... drool drool. Guess I would have a hard time getting things done, for I spend most of my time looking over at him!!

So imagine my surprise when I read that Johnny Deep lives in a eco-friendly house with a grid-independent solar hydrogen system. Wow. He also has purchased a 35-acre Caribbean Island he named "F*ck Off Island." Ok my kind of man. He will understand my need to hate Styrofoam!! Plus Johnny Depp I have loved him since 21 Jump Street. yea I am showing my age............

So for all the younger followers hers is Leo... You younger ladies can fight over him, yea he is hot but a little too young for me... humm Leo do you have a older brother? A Uncle? That picture really does make him look good....


ivy

Friday, October 9, 2009

Recipe for Candy

I found a great recipe that I don't want to lose! Making candy corn from Homemade Desserts.




Homemade Candy Corn Recipe
This Halloween treat recipe is adapted from a recipe that's been based on the original and has been widely published.

1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup corn syrup
1/3 cup (2-1/2 oz) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups powdered icing sugar
1/3 cup powdered milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
Red and yellow food coloring

In a large saucepan combine granulated sugar, corn syrup, and butter. Bring to a boil over high heat while stirring constantly, then reduce heat to medium and continue boiling for 5 minutes while stirring occasionally. Remove mixture from heat and add vanilla extract.

Combine the icing sugar, powdered milk, and salt in a separate bowl and add to the mixture in the saucepan, mixing thoroughly. Allow the dough mixture to sit until it's cool enough to handle.

Divide the dough into 3 equal parts and place each part in a small mixing bowl. Add orange food coloring to one part (a combination of yellow and red) and yellow food coloring to another part, leaving the remaining part uncolored or white.

Knead the dough in each bowl until smooth and stiff enough to hold its shape, and the colors are even. Wearing plastic gloves can help prevent your hands from being stained by the food coloring.

Still using your hands, roll each part into a long, thin rope, making each rope of equal length. You may need to use a long countertop or tabletop covered with a strip of waxed paper for this. You'll also need to be careful when rolling as the ropes can easily break if you form them too thin.

When you're done, lay the three ropes of dough along side each other with the orange dough in the middle and carefully press them together to make a long, narrow rectangle. A gentle, light rolling with a rolling pin along the length of the rectangle helps to press the rope edges together, but be careful not to flatten the dough so the rectangle stays as narrow as possible, plus you'll also want the kernels plump looking and not flat.

Finally, cut the dough into triangles or "kernels" using a sharp knife and gently shape the kernels with your fingers, if needed. Allow the kernels to sit for a while and become firm.

You'll end up with over a pound of homemade candy corn, some with yellow tips and some with the traditional white tips. There's no getting around it, kneading the dough and forming the ropes IS time-consuming, hard work, but the results are worth it.

Traditionally, each piece of Halloween Candy Corn is about the size of a kernel of dried corn, but yours made with this homemade candy corn recipe will be about the size of today's giant candy corn.

Holiday Candy Corn Colors
Halloween Candy Corn is traditionally colored with a white tip, orange center, and yellow base. However, over the years, different colors were added for different holidays:

* Indian Corn for Fall and Thanksgiving is colored with a white tip, orange center, and brown base, with chocolate flavoring added to the brown.

* Reindeer Corn for Christmas is colored with a white tip, green center, and red base.

* Cupid Corn for Valentines Day is colored with a white tip, pink center, and red base.

* Bunny Corn for Easter is colored with a white tip and pastel shades of pink, purple, yellow, or green for the center and base.

You can even make candy that you can shape into different decorations like pumpkins...


ivy

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Power of Smells

Aromatherapy uses essential oils, herbs, plant leaves, roots or flowers and barks to help heal the body and the mind. In the society that places great emphasis on looking and smelling just right, our sense of smell can help heal ourselves. I walk down the isles of the store and see many people opening many packages to smell the product. Oww I like that one they say as they get a good whiff.
But many studies have shown that our sense of smell can also help heal us. Many flowery smells can help us relax, even have a good night sleep. Rose, lavender, jasmine and geranium help relax and calm us. Many of the woodsy oils can give us the sensual feelings.. Oils like sandalwood, patchouli, or ylang ylang. Citrus smells help wake us up! As well as the mint family.
Some smells can be something that only you have memories that can be powerful to that smell. When I was younger I used to go to my grandmother house and she had the biggest lilac tree by the window so when I smell lilac I remember lying in bed at my grandmother's house. My other grandmother wore rose water when she went to church so the faint smell of roses remind me of her. Just like everyone loves the smell of a new car right?

The strong smells of eucalyptus, wintergreen and citronella are healing. They help clear up sinusitis and can be insect repellents. Peppermint and wintergreen also help sore muscles.

Well I have been using a aromatherapy tea candle diffusers. I have been putting some lavender, rosemary and eucalyptus in this with water for the stuffy noses in the house. Poor old lady kitty the one we call Princess, she is the one that is stuffed up the most.... but she is doing good. We got her to eat some fish smelly food cause she wasn't eating to much. She can't smell it! But I can feel the congestion clearing in my sinus. It that change of weather allergy sinus infection time of year.

ivy

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Potty talk


Going green sometimes means using recycled products. But have you tried recycled TP? Very rough but many sites are telling me that they have gotten softer then they have been in tha last few years. Well the tissues have not! Our noses are bright red from them. Hankies are a pleasant welcome after those tissues! I know I can be so sneaky when I want to be... So for our backsides and noses they are cutting old growth trees in Southern California but we need them to use our CO2 and help fight the climate change. The reason why is that older ancient forest tree produce longer fiber in which can be softer. Recycle paper products end up making these fibers shorter meaning not as soft paper.

So what is a eco-friendly person to do?

These are some of the things that I learned that will help.

Pee Outside! It helps the soil. I read at Planet Green Urine in the garden is a good thing you can even fertilize your garden. My first worry was the pharmaceuticals they found in many city water supplies. But microorganisms in the soil will take care of that. Use the compost pile and you can add some charcoal to help aid the plants.

Pee in the Shower. Urine is sterile and will just wash down the drain anyway. Safe a flush; pee in the shower.

Composting toilet. Old fashion out house doesn't really sound like a plan for this northeastern Ohio city girl. I know the newer composting toilets at the park aren't as bad as they use to be but going outside in December with -10 degree windchill doesn't sound like fun to me. Or keeping inside with odor being the number 1 reason and the animals not having a place to sneak a drink (or maybe trying to sneak a drink in a composting toilet is what I meant!!) .

Wash clothes: Ok there is something to be said about just using a wash cloth, but I know they keep saying that our urine is sterile , but I really worry about the washcloth not getting all the body fluids rinsed out of the cloth and causing infections. AND that where I am right now with a UTI, hence why I seem to be finding every potty site while reading the eco-friendly sites online today!! Isn't that the way it goes.

Bidets. The french invented the bidet but they have grown in popularity in Europe, Japan, Latin America, Egypt, Morocco, and the Arabic world. They are used in hospital and for the disabled and elderly. Many eco-friendly households are adding a bidet attachment to their low flow toilets. They have a stream of water that cleanse your backside for you using less TP.

Well I do hate the fact that old trees are being cut to wipe my backside... but I will try a recycled product when my bulk TP runs out, but I would like to get a bidet but don't have the money right now, maybe next time..... The companies need to find a way to make TP soft without cutting down our older trees...
Excuse me I need to visit the ladies room now........

ivy

Today is National Vegetarian Day


I missed it again but Tues was hug a vegetarian day. I miss it but I still hug my vegetarian everyday. But I am down one vegetarian. He ate meat this week. It was the double cheeseburger that did him in. But his vegetarian girlfriend still loves him.

Vegetarian is green! So yea there are sites that tell you how many gallons of water, gas and whatever it take for the sale of meat. It takes three times the amount of water for meat production. That would be like paying your water bill x 3. Ok it makes some sense to me now. The USA eats more meat now then we did 40 years ago. In this country we also have more heart disease and health problems now and many doctors blame the high red meat intake. So it doesn't kill you to eat less meat. Sorry the mom came out.... But it does hurt you to eat more meat. So eat more veggies.

So the happy medium would be to eat less meat and use organic meats. Organic meat can be pricey but if you eat less you can us that money to buy better cuts. Grass feed is the animals that are free range. Corn feed is the standard and proclaimed as proud banner. They do not normally eat mostly corn they eat mostly grass. When you go threw the country the cows are not all eating out of corn fields they are glazing in the fields eating grass. That's how I remember it!

This give a new movement to the vegetarian tribe. I can now can be called a "flexitarian", "almost vegetarian" or the oxymoron "part time vegetarian." I went to Amazon and searched flexitarian and was so shocked to see all the recipe books. At frist I said oh I bet they are the same author. Nope. WOW. Many different books.

So going to less and less meat isn't to hard in this house but what about your house? What is your favorite vegetarian meal? Ours is pasta. Sometimes with spaghetti sauce, Alfredo or herb and butter.

ivy

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