Filed under: The Environment
Next time you take a shower, plug the bathtub. My, what a lot of water we waste staying clean. The next day, do the same thing but take a navy shower. For those who don’t know, that’s when you only run the water to wet hair and rinse off.
A four minute shower uses about ten gallons of water. A Navy shower uses about 3. That’s a lot of water if you do it on a daily basis. Not only do you save water, but you save the electricity it takes to heat that extra seven gallons of water. And it’s so much better for the environment.
Filed under: cooking
Today I cooked a roast for my husband. He still adores meat so I placate him while meat is on sale. While I was at it, I scrubbed a bunch of potatoes and threw those in to bake. I’ll make different fillings for them, stuff them, and finish them off in the microwave tomorrow and the next day.
Oh, and before the roast went in, I baked some healthy muffins for breakfasts and some more cookies to go in the freezer for occasional treats.
After you are finished getting multiple uses out of the oven, run the clean cycle if it really needs it.
Filed under: Beauty
Okay, not as catchy as the commercial, but it works and it’s cheap. Put some epsom salts in your bath water, add a few drops of essential oil, and enjoy. Add a little bit of baby oil if you want to really feel luxurious. Do this before a pedicure and your feet will feel wonderful. I sometimes plug up my bathtub, put a small amount of epsom salts in the bottom, and shower as normal. Not as water wasting as a bath but oh so refreshing for the feet.
Cider vinegar makes a good rinse for oily hair. If your hair has a lot of hair spray or hair gel build up, put a little shampoo in the palm of your hand, add some baking soda, wash as usual.
I buy those disposable latex gloves to put under my gardening gloves. During the winter when my hands are prone to get chapped, I take some petroleum jelly mixed with a dash of olive oil, rub it all over my hands, slip into those latex gloves, and leave on for 30 minutes. Oh, so soft. And the gloves can be reused. Just turn them inside out and give them a wash.
Olive oil makes a great makeup remover. Makes a pretty good shaving aid as well. Forget the expensive shaving creams.
Don’t buy the expensive anti-dandruff shampoos. Apply a bit of lemon juice to your hair before you shampoo. After you shampoo, rinse and then apply two cups water mixed with two tablespoons lemon juice.
This weekend I made a huge pot of black bean soup. While I was at it, I soaked and softened two bags worth of beans so I have gobs left for other things such as black beans and rice and black bean stuffed potatoes. After my soup was done simmering in the crock pot, I portioned it out for eating and freezing. A quick wash of the crock pot and in went a whole chicken, some water, and some seasonings for chicken soup.
For my family, I made some bread which only cost pennies per loaf. It only takes a few minutes if you have one of those good kitchen aid mixers with a dough hook. After the four loaves of bread were done baking, I baked some smaller loaves of my gluten free bread. While the oven was still hot, a few cookies for guests went in.
Then I made a bunch of flour tortillas for family and some corn tortillas for myself. It’s time consuming, even with a tortilla press, but saves a lot of money and the flavor can’t be beat.
Boom, clean the kitchen real well and we have enough meals for the week. Of course, the first couple of weeks you do this, you have to cook some regular meals during the rest of the week or you’ll be eating the same thing day in and day out. But after three weeks of cooking large batches of soups and stews, you have enough of a variety of things from which to pull lunches and dinners without getting too bored. And the shopping list for each week is nice and short and the total cooking time is only a couple of hours rather than the whole day that it usually takes to cook for the month.
Most people think of dieting as some sort of deprivation. Don’t eat this, don’t eat so much of that. I approach it in a slightly different manner. I make additions to my daily consumption.
I add lots of water. It has zero calories. It fills me up. My skin loves it. It helps keep things moving and it does help prevent fiber from bulking up and causing problems. So, add 8 ounces per day until you’re consuming that 80 ounces or so of water. Drink a glass 1/2 hour before eating. Drink a glass when you wake up. Most definitely consume water before and during exercise.
Add a snack. That’s right. I have actually added a snack to my diet. Around 4:00 p.m. I have an apple with a bit of peanut butter (the kind without any additives) and, you guessed it, a glass of water. It will spoil my dinner you say. That’s right. That’s part of the idea. Eating a smaller dinner is helpful if you’re attempting to lose weight. It’s healthier as well since going to bed on a full stomach is not a good idea.
Add some legumes, slowly. They’re cheap, especially if you buy them dried. They contain lots of good proteins, vitamins and fiber. They take a while to digest so you feel satisfied for a longer period of time. So, today, start your dinner with a nice bowl of lentil soup.
Add vegetables. If you normally squeeze in one vegetable for dinner, tonight cook two types. If you’re making soup, throw in one or two more kinds of vegetables than the recipe calls for.
Add fish. A nice dose of fish for lunch or dinner gives you your Omega-3′s, selenium, antioxidants, and protein.
Add dessert. No, I don’t mean cheesecake. I mean a nice healthy bite of fruit. Slice a peach. Yum. The idea is to add so many healthy items into your diet that you no longer have room for high calorie unhealthy choices.
Filed under: The Environment
Saving the environment benefits everyone. One step is to concentrate on reducing the amount of garbage your family produces.
Buy from bulk bins as much as possible to reduce packaging. 33 percent of what we throw away consists of product packaging.
I use plastic containers to store leftover food instead of foil and cling wrap. I take my own lunch to work and use a thermal lunch bag and those plastic sandwich containers which I can take home, wash, and reuse.
Use canvas bags when you shop or take the plastic bags back to recycle or reuse. We like to find at least one additional use for items that we throw away so, when we do end up with plastic grocery bags, we use them to pick up after our dogs while out on walks.
Compost fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, egg shells, etc… We shred our bills and other scraps of paper and compost that as well. Just make sure it doesn’t contain any hazardous inks.
Buy fruits and vegetables in bulk in season and freeze rather than relying on canned items.
Recycle your paper by making paper out of it. http://www.pioneerthinking.com/makingpaper.html has some great directions. It’s a bit time consuming but a fun craft for family.
Read news on the internet instead of buying a newspaper.
Recycle clothing by giving the good stuff to a charitable organization and finding another use for the stuff that’s too worn to give away. Old shirts and towels make great rags. Cut up some old clothes and use them to stuff the dog bed. You get the idea.
Filed under: Gardening
Landscaping can add curb appeal and resale value to your home. Buying plants can be expensive but propagating and filling in with seeded perennials can help.
I can spend $1 or more for each perennial or get a packet of seeds, make a sterile seed starting mix, and grow my own. Nasturtiums are easy to grow and it’s easy to harvest seeds for the next year. I also do gazanias but I buy those seeds each year. Each seed packet yields the equivalent of a $12 perennial flat or so. I grow some vegetables and herbs as well, always choosing those that are easy to grow in my area. I can usually fill my freezer with zucchini and enjoy it all year long. My favorite seed starting recipe is 1 part perlite, 1 part peatmoss, and 1 part ground or milled sphagnum moss. The seed packets will explain how deep to plant each variety.
Division is a great way to expand irises, hostas, daylilies, and some grasses.
I increase my bush collection with propagation. Hydrangeas are extremely easy to propagate. Take a hydrangea cutting early in the summer, remove the bottom couple of leaves, cut the largest leaves down to half their size, dip in rooting hormone, place in a good sterile starting medium (damp vermiculite works well), place a couple of stakes in the pot to hold up the plastic bag cover, and place in a spot out of direct sunlight. Don’t over water. You’ll have a rooted cutting in a few weeks.
Water consumption can be very high in the garden. In order to reduce it, I grow plants that are indigenous to my area and I use mulch. There are many ways to mulch but I prefer living mulch known as ground cover. It’s a bit pricey to begin with but does reduce the total amount spent in the long run and is much easier to deal with, in my opinion, than the traditional bark and bark dust which must be replaced periodically.
It’s never too early to start planning for spring garden additions.