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!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Fragrances are made of petroleum products and ......synthetic materials. They are blamed for many allergies and allergic reactions in many health and beauty products. Things like asthma, wheezing, headache and contact dermatitis. PLUS there are hormone disruptors  that can hurt unborn children and even cause health problems. Because many ingredients have been found and proven to cause cancer and other health problems  But the theory is it can be tolerated in small amounts. That would be ok if most of the products we used have fragrance or that one fragrance could have over 400 ingredients to produce that smell.....     

So what a green eco-friendly girl to do??? Make her own that is.

H2O based perfume

1-1 1/2 cups of flower petals
2 cups of distilled water

Collect flower petals and wash thoroughly removing dirt and pollen.
Fill aluminum pot with 2 cups of water. Add petals. Simmer but do not boil water. Simmer for 2 hours and don't let the water boil away, you can more distilled water if needed.
Turn off heat and let cool
Strain the water into a bottle or jar.
Nice spray for your linen.

Vodka based cologne

bottle of vodka or ever-clear
Flower petals

Collect flower petals and wash thoroughly removing dirt and pollen.
Fill a jar with the petals. Pour alcohol over petals just to cover the top of the petals.
Let sit for one day Strain and add more petals but not alcohol.
Repeat the straining of petals and adding new petal to you get the desired strength.

Cream Perfume

Olive Oil, EVOO, Almond Oil
Essential Oils
small  glass  jar
Small container to pour finished perfume into

 Add one tablespoon of olive oil and about 3/4 tablespoon beeswax to your glass jar
Microwave for 10 seconds until melted, might need to ass 10 seconds. Add your essential oils. Between 5 and 15 drops of  your essential oil(s)
Stir the essential oil
Let it sit and harden for at least 30 minutes. 


Sunday, June 27, 2010

1 Year Old!!!

Oh no not my baby or grandbaby, it is well yea my baby, my blog! Turning shades of Green is now 1 year old!! YEA!

When I first started this blog I did fall into the trap of .... HAVE to have tons of followers... must have tons of readers..... But you know that takes way to much time... trying joining  different groups like Mom Bloggers Club which is where I found many blogs to follow myself! And many of you wonder  followers came from. I learn about blogging and found some great tips. Being on different social sites joining the groups on the site to try to get more followers, it felt like more of a chore and then it hit me.... do it for myself for they will come... LOL.    I added a banner of my blog to my social web sites and things like that... ok if they come and start to follow they want to read my info!

I started to see my blog as a journal of sorts. A place where I can type my mind. A place where I could find other moms with the same drive I have. Many green moms out there, does my soul some good. But stopped worrying about the numbers.  Began to enjoy the ride, the process of what I want to say, to read my blogs I follow to comment where I can.

Now it just so relaxing/ I find  myself saying to myself wow I think I should write a blog about this....  Not worry about how many followers I have.  But what I can put down into words for those who want to read my blog. AND not worry if they read every single blog.  Like me they read what is interesting to them.

 Come join the party!! ivy

Friday, June 25, 2010

Shout Out

A shout out to Kevin Costner.  BP is ordering 32 more an oil-separating centrifuges!

They tested it with some tough areas. It still has problems with the thick oil tar balls that are close to shore, but it worked well in the deeper waters.  they are sending some out to the barg.

Plus there is some weather problems heading the Gulf's way.
Kick butt Kevin!!


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Why are we cutting down so many trees?

We have so many different more sustainable items that can be used without cutting down all the old growth trees. Without cutting down our rain forests.

Many of these ideas are not gaining popularity fast enough.  We have heard of bamboo being a very sustainable wood. Hemp is easily grow but outlawed in the USA. Kenaf paper made from a fast-growing hibiscus plant. Last but not least...  recycled paper products...

Hemp is softer than cotton. It grows fast and needs little pesticides. Very strong plant and material that is stronger, yet softer, more absorbent; and mildew resistant.   A little room can yield 4 times more than a old growth trees produce. 3 to 8 tons of fibers per acre. Uses less chemicals when being processed meaning less pollution!  

Plus hemp is great for our bodies too.  Oil made from hemp is lower in saturated fats and high in the good fats. It also is said to have a rare nutrient; gamma linoleic acid (GLA), found in breast milk....  It feels like cotton when woven into cloth. Plus is it stronger and grows softer with use and washing.  It would get rid of 50% of the chemicals used with cotton, the pesticides, chemicals used in processing  and bleaching 

Why is it still illegal in the USA?  Our fore fathers grew hemp! Because pot and hemp are in the same gene pool. hemp has very little THC the stuff that makes marijuana illegal.  If there were to have hemp farms they couldn't hide it in the fields for
marijuana plants need more space between rows and plants then the hemp. Plus if you did try to get "high" from hemp you will find out that it would be like taking a dose and a half of a high fiber laxative.  Giggles... I could see some pre-teens thinking that they might like to try that out, and finding the "uncool" side effect!! 

Kenaf reaches 12-18 feet in 150 days, a fast growing plant.  Old growth trees take around 17 years.150 days verses 17 years.... humm no brainer!  Plus another hign yeilding crop where they can produce 5-10 tons of dry fiber per acre. PLUS use less chemicals, heat and the paper can be bleached with household hydrogen peroxide.  I think the only problem with this plant is it is grown in South Africa. It will have to be shipped, but it could be great for that area economy!  Many books and companies are now using the kenaf paper like big box companies for catalogs. A few eco-friendly authors are  using the paper for their books. 

I also find it so funny that eco-friendly websites and magazines know this stuff but the business in control don't.... We need to think about the effects our consumption does to the environment. 


Monday, June 21, 2010

Reading a Nutrition Label

Many people I work with seem to think that it is too confusing to figure out the nutrition label.

First thing that is great about a nutrition label is at the bottom you will see a chart of the calories you should be eating per day.  Most women are in the 2000 to 1800 calories per day.  The older we get the less we should eat, but if you are a active or athletic type you need more to burn more calories when very active.  So I look at the first column the 2000 calorie counts.  

The sneaky thing about calories and food labels is the top part. That where you see the serving size.  Like on some convenient packs that you get from a machine the serving size may say 1 1/2 or even 2 or more.  Like some multi-grain crackers a co-worker asked me if it was a healthy snack.  She was asking how to read the label.  It was low in sodium and saturated fat.  It did have sugar but still had under 25% carbohydrates. Better than the candy we have in there.

Carbohydrates are not bad. Really they break down slower and help keep you going between meals.  But this is where many people think they should cut to low numbers.  The fact is if it is refined flour you should eat less of, adding more whole grains to your meals. This helps you keep going threw the day..

    Plus many things that are carbohydrates have natural sugars.   Fruit based foods will have more grams of  natural sugar like applesauce. We just get the no sugar added applesauce.  The label doesn't get to tell you either if it is natural sugars or added sugar. 

Potato chips for example. Serving size is 16 chips with 150 calories, 14% sodium, 2% saturated fat and 2 grams of sugar and protein.  Not bad but then really are potato chips healthy???

I do look at the label. Most of the time I look to talk myself out of the purchase. I talk myself out of things that are high in sodium. That wonderful bloating effect us women get is helped by high sodium foods. I try to keep it below 25% as I have heard is a good number to limit yourself on many of the nutrients items  listed.  Because I do snack during the day and try to have a fruit snack once a day, no fat;  no sodium to worry about. 

I also heard that looking for cereal you want more than 2 grams of fiber, less than 5 grams of added sugar, and less than 2 grams of fat. Many of the "healthy" breakfast cereals still have over 9 grams of sugar but claim to help you lose weight or keep you healthy.  But if it has added dried fruit it will be higher sugar because of the natural sugar in the berries. But then I eat oatmeal and try to keep away from prepared breakfast cereals.  

The truth is I read the ingredients the most.  I check for high fructose corn syrup, refined white flour (sometimes stated as enriched flour) and where the products are on the label. For the top of the ingredients list is the most used.  So if you see on a label list wheat flour, and then see sugar at the bottom of the list you know that a little sugar was added. AND as a baker I know that sometimes you need to add sugar to the batter or no one will eat it
I have cut high fructose corn syrup, refined and bleached flour from our foods.  I try to eat more natural things like fresh fruits and vegetables.  With getting some frozen for the vegetables and fruit when out of season. That have listed on the ingredients list: the fruit or vegetable and nothing else. 

Plus at the bottom of this list of ingredients is a list of allergic ingredients. So if you or your family has any allergies to food products they are listed at the bottom.  Many times will state if they are made in the same area as certain things. For those who are highly allergic  to certain things. The growing number of peanut allergies in children fall under that warning. If it is made in the same building or area the product was made  they note that as; may contain: XXX

The label on this blog is from a cup of soup. One of those heat and eat soups. Serving size is 1 cup but the cup holds 2 cups (serving per container:2) so if you eat this soup for lunch at work you have consumed 50% fat, 52% sodium and  560 calories for the day.  Not what you thought when first looking at the label right?

SO it is a good idea to read the labels but also the ingredient list.  


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Corn Fed Cars.......

After work tonight I had to run some errands go to the grocery store etc... I saw the beautiful sunset and was looking at the beautiful red streaks and dark clouds rolling in.  At the Sheetz on the counter I saw the fuel truck about to fill the underground tanks.  Then I saw the side of the truck.  Available Corn based gasoline..... What? I have to check this out!!

I thought OMG we are getting bio-diesel??  But I thought that the eco-friendly community has reported that bio-diesel hasn't go to be the way to go.. Stating that it would cost to much to make, too much to change cars over to bio-diesel, etc. etc..

I found the info at this site; and learned it was a 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline mix.  Now my dad has told me that he heard that the gas companies put ethanol in the gas in the summer time to cut down on air pollution.  Never found out where that came from or if it is true... but then there has been rumors to the effect that BP adds wax to their fuel...  Guess the next rumor would be there is mud and salt in BP fuel........ ok that was bad....

But at that site they send you to blog to find out if your car can use this mix.... Never did find the program to help me find out.  So I did my own google search and found  Fuel Economy.Gov And searched my car and the car my daughters drive... nope we don't have flex-fuel vehicle.

So what is the difference between gas and the corn based gas....

Ethanol burns cleaner.  This is the fuel that water is a byproduct.  Many green shows will show you the water that a flex fuel car has dripping from it tail pipe and even have the reporters drink it....

But ethanol does lower your MPG. You can expect a 2 mile per gallon lower than what you get on regular gas.  Plus it will help spread out our gas reserves like bread crumbs to meat loaf...

Ethanol however will pay for itself in the long run with the lower MPG.  It runs cleaner so it also helps keep your engine running smoother and with less damage.  Saving you a lot of money in repairs......... And we know how repairs can be costly!!


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sexest Man

Guess it is video day here at Turning Shades of Green!!

But Kevin Costner the Oscar, Globe and Academy Award winner, is also helping clean up the Gulf oil spill!

After the Exxon Valdez disaster Kevin Costner taught there has to be a better way to remove oil from the water and working for the environment he partnered with his brother to design a machine to do just that.. BP is testing the machines out and may send them out to the Gulf Coast as soon as tomorrow???


Rain and Bottes!

Michelle Kaufmann
a eco-friendly architect and designer has the coolest rain chain to help direct the rain for your plants.

I got lost on her site with many ideas on outdoor and indoor fireplaces that are eco-friendly. Decorating ideas..

Then I see a blog on bottles used as building material. Filling up the plastic bottles with mud and using cement to hold them together. How cool is that? It is known that plastic takes thousands of years to decompose so this would be sturdy building! It's as strong as a blick building.  It is also being used in many areas of the world that are in a economical crisis. Jobs and affordable housing....... Sound like a good deal to me...   I have to keep this is mind for my shed is having some problems and many have to rebuild the back wall!!


Monday, June 14, 2010

The Sunshine Vitamin

Well having learned that playing in the dirt can do some good, lately I have heard every time I turn around about the Sunshine Vitamin. That is of course vitamin D. We get some of our vitamin D from fish, eye yolks and milk.  But we can get vitamin D from the sun.  That's right just by going out in the sunshine our bodies get vitamin D. Sunscreen does inhibits vitamin D production but I really think as a very pale freckled person;  I will keep my sunscreen on thank-you.  I don't want  get a sunburn.... which is very easy for me to do. But our bodies has a chemical reaction to sunlight.  Some say don't wash your sunlight off your skin, just wash the "areas that need it".  the stinky parts. But if you have been out most of the day isn't the sunlight starting to do it job before you come in?? I don't know I am not a professional..... I'm just a mom.... But we all know how the sunshine can pick up our spirits! 

 Vitamin D helps our body use calcium and phosphorus.  That's why many calcium supplements have vitamin D added.  It's  like an aid in helping  our bones get the calcium.  Like that commercial were the key is in the shape of a D and they tell you that vitamin D helps unlock calcium to help build strong bones. 

Children that don't get enough vitamin D end up with Rickets. Where the bones don't grow right causing deformities.    This also leads to weak bones and weak muscles in their adult years.

So research has shown that it also may help conditions like diabetes, heart conditions, and multiple sclerosis.   I know I thought "sure that is what they thought at one time about vitamin C".  But the fact that they find many more cases in the northern hemisphere makes one think maybe it does help. Not cure but help.  Then I learned that some conditions like Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis, and celiac disease can't absorb vitamin D from foo.

So really there isn't the proof of Vitamin D curing anything.  It just studies that show it helps.  So it can't hurt to take a supplement. Or get outside and enjoy a day in the sunshine........  Yes you can overdose on vitamin D but only  if  you take more than 10,000 IU's per day for long periods of time.  And never from it natural state as in sunshine or foods.  So a little can't hurt but may help.


Saturday, June 12, 2010


Last month we got eaten up by the mosquitoes at our gathering at church. Someone had a natural mosquito spray. Well it didn't work too good. Smelled very good but didn't work that great... We got eaten alive!!

We are getting some citronella candles, but I wondered what mosquito repellents  recipes I could find online...

 What I found:
Of course the citronella plant. (I don't have one ....)

African Marigolds Plants works too.  (Wow I have some in the garden and  the front flower bed)

Mix one part garlic juice with 5 parts water Spray or soak clothes in this mix........ (so no one will talk to me...)

Add rosemary and sage to the fire (I don't think we will have one this time.....)

EOs (essential oils) that work:

* cinnamon oil
* lemon eucalyptus oil
* citronella oil
* Castor oil
# Peppermint Oil
# Clove Oil
# Geranium Oil
# Possibly Oils from Verbena, Pennyroyal, Lavender, Pine, Basil, Thyme, Allspice, Soybean, and Garlic

10-25 drops (total) of essential oils
2 tablespoons of a carrier oil or alcohol

Use Vick's Vaporub. (so no one will talk to me or if they do they will ask are you feeling ok?)

lavender oil: dab it on your pulse points (ok I like this one)

Things that you can spray on yourself

Clear real vanilla  Sold at health food stores Some Mix 50/50 with water Some say straight  (oh yea how much$$?)

Then I see you can use  the grocery store vanilla extract but I found some say mix 50/50 with water other say use straight on pulse points.  (ok I will smell nice!! Lavender oil and vanilla) 

Catnip tea.  (wait I really do want to sleep afterward... I have cats that love catnip and would love to keep me up half the night)

Amber colored Listerine (They say it works and to spray the yard and deck with it too)

Lemon Fresh Joy dish washing soap  put a drop in water on a plate. (ok the next idea is better for I don't use that dish soap- I use 7Th Generation) 

cut up a lemon and boil it for a few minutes.  Let sit a couple of days before bottling.  Plus others have said to use oranges. limes or lemons.  (ok I have lemons.... plus it make a great de-greaser- I can add some citric acid to preserve)

So I have vanilla and lavender on my pulse points,  and lemon spray......... Maybe I will add some amber Listerine to the spray...... Well it might smell something like the natural spray we had last month.  Lets hope it works...........


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Spread the Word.

Spread the Word for Charity Where you can help raise funds for your favorite charity. It is so easy.

Become a fan on their  Facebook page and earn 5 dollars for your charity.

Ttweet about them on Twitter and earn 10 dollars for your charity.

Then blog about them and earn 20 dollars for your charity!

They are a site you can use too.  Search for all hotel deals, from all major travel websites Saving you money and helping out a good cause too.

I had to email them and ask pretty please if I could get my donation to local animal clinic in the area.  They don't get any government aid and really are a great organization.  Where most vets try to get you to buy this vitamin or try to get you to return for the same condition, Pet Guards Clinic has in my experience always did what was best for the animal. With the canines ear infection the other clinic had us return and so did the infection. Pet Guards Clinic gave us the ear wash to help keep the infection from coming back. And we can get flea meds without a appointment.  We can just pick them up at the office.

Of course most of the time they donate to charity that are nationality based but I got them to make an exception for this charity.....

If you like you can donate to this worthwhile organization at this page


Night of Oreos and chocolate followed by retail therapy

Oh poor Miss Animal Rights; her car died.  It just stopped working.  PLUS there was a dark red liquid under the car.  So she called me. I was at work. I got off work and find the little box on my cell saying 6 missed calls... 1 voice-mail.... ok that set off the mom alarm, you know something is up if you have a ton of missed calls and most of the time I get texts of hey mom get more cheese on the way home.  SO having that many calls missed and voice-mail I just knew...  I call voice-mail and hear a hysterical message... asking to please get home....

After I get home I call AAA for a tow. We find some way to get this fixed or to get a new used car I tell her.  She calls G-Pa and of course he is out of town.... Maybe he can work on it.  We both know that her dad strong points have nothing to do with working on any car.  Because it was G-Pa he called, before divorcing me....

I was like OMG Spike (yea we name our cars...) couldn't have waited 3 months??? I would have my car paid off... SHHHH we are in the car...... Oh yea don't tell Ariel we almost have her paid off.  Cause she might get jealous with Spike getting all the attention......... 

Then the child young woman that only wanted to get home after it happened now wants to get to her car and get stuff out of it.  I try to talk her out of it saying it could be a hour and half before they get to our car. They will call when they are 10 minutes away... NOPE she hears nothing of it.  I talked her into Subway because I just got off work and was hungry. Then we go a sit by the car for about a hour longer.

So drinking  juice  and talking to her I really had to go to the bathroom... We ran to the gas station and buy some Oreos  and chocolate.  Sometimes you need some chocolate.......... sign.
Guess what!  they finally called, and sure enough it has been a hour and half!

We dropped  off the key Monday and they would call us when they figure it out.  We stopped by the thrift store and we went  looking.  I was laughing I am not a big person for retail therapy but hey why not I need short sleeved shirts for work.  Of course yesterday she had Tech's  mom drag her to the mall for retail therapy and she got a dress and shorts out of the deal. Today she got a skirt out of the deal.... I spent a total of 9 dollars for 3 shirts and 2 skirts.  Oh yea most  of the things where the color of the day....... Not bad for a day.  So they called today.....
It's blown. Transmission cost any where between 1,500 to 23,000. 

So where can I get a BOGO deal on cars?? You know... don't I wish.

Or any of the car companies looking for  long term test drivers for new hybrid cars? Electric cars heck I take anything!!! Oh life........ she looses a job then a car.......


Monday, June 7, 2010

Let's play in the Dirt!

Playing in the dirt can help you keep from developing allergies and 
"hygiene hypothesis" was first published in the British Medical Journal by Dr. David P. Strachan in 1989 Where he found that the children exposed to more dirt and siblings had less allergies. The scientists are looking into the fact this could lead to autoimmune diseases like asthma, MS,  lupus and RA.

He believes that vaccines, anti-bacterial soaps that really don't work much better than plain old soap and warm water, and the over use of medications to prevent and quickly treat infections has weaken  our immune systems.

So we become stronger to infection after our bodies build anti-bodies to find this infection. That's what the idea behind vaccines are.  We get a small dose of the live infection and our bodies fight it off. That builds our immune system to keep us from catching the condition or infection.

Plus studies show that exposure to dirt and it's the natural bacteria Mycobacterium vaccae found in soil will help us become smarter!   When we spend outdoors in nature we breathe these helpful microbes. Stimulating neuron growth and that will  causes serotonin levels to rise. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that helps us sleep, and helps regulate  mood, appetite,  muscle contraction, and some cognitive functions including memory and learning.  

Yes we might not like the clean up after our little girls make us mud pies but they could be really helping their bodies and minds become stronger........

I am not saying to give up your medicines if you do have one or more of the conditions named
here. Maybe it might not hurt to try to get out in nature...it's free.........

I have always thought kids should be outdoors as much as they can to use their imaginations and muscles..


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Natural Tomato Fertilizers

Talking about my tomato plants a co-worker asked me what fertilizer I used. I said nothing just the compost I planted them in. She told me that's why they didn't do very good last year, you need fertilizer cause tomatoes need a lot of nutrients.  So have you seen the prices of organic fertilizer? WOW. So I thought I find a recipe online.

But really didn't think it would be this easy!  Gardening tips ideas dot com.... tells me that hair helps my plants grow. Well with  us long hair women and all the animals  living here that is easily done.... It's the keratin, a protein in hair that helps the plant. Plus tomatoes need some nitrogen, carbon  and calcium. Egg shells and coffee grounds are good too.  Easy! Well I don't eat a lot of eggs here but can keep them for the tomatoes......

  I also added coffee grounds and tea leaves to the topsoil that we used for earth day wild flower plants for the kids, to make it easier to handle. My containers have inch of rocks for draining. Then I have about 4 inches of top soil then the compost black gold for the bedding of my seeds.  The few things I planted early; like my herbs, I didn't use new compost and they are not growing.... guess I learned I need to add some fresh compost the hard way

I have added some leaves as a ground cover  I found under the patio table to help keep the moisture in.  But I thought I want to make sure these are a healthy crop.

So I just kept looking for ideas on helping my tomatoes.

I also learned that adding a tablespoon Epsom salts to a gallon of water helps add nitrogen.  Wow I have some Epsom salts for muscle aches....  I have some buckets for rain water they are about 3/4 full.  I did use some water from the hose to let it air out like you do with fish tanks. Oh if I still had a fish tank I could use the water that would be tossed to water the plants also.  But I will add a couple tablespoons of Epsom salts and see how that goes. 

If you have bugs that are eating the stem cover the stem with a toilet paper roll and it will protect the stem. It will also add to the soil because it decomposes!  Win win!



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