Thursday, May 28, 2009

Saving money in a crunch

As many of you know, I received a traffic ticket a few weeks ago. Due to my husband being paid once a month, I was going to have to find a way to pay it. Lets see no job......hmmm. Yikes! Well luckily my ticket was reduced to $185 (was $249) but still its going to be very hard. So I thought I would take time to tell you my plan on how I was going to pay for this. You can apply this to any money crisis you may have.  Sports money for your children, unexpected bill, or maybe you just want to start saving money.

Work for your money-Luckily I have a friend who needs me to babysit once in a while and she just emailed me asking me to watch her children. This is where a sigh of relief comes in play. So this is very helpful. If you really need to make money, try sending out a email or telling your friends and family that you are trying to earn money. Let them know you will do anything and not to hesitate to even ask. My friends and family know I will do what ever they ask of me. Babysitting, mowing the lawn, dishes, laundry, picking weeds, or just helping them make homemade laundry soap. My motto is "Beggars cannot be choosers." So express to everyone you know, you are looking to make money.

Groceries-If I have to , yes I will take money out of my grocery budget. Which is not good because its a 5 week period this month. One of those long months. So its not good. But I will do it if I have to. Ways I save money are as following:
-Buy seasonal-Buy fruit in season. Right now banana's are only 59 cents per lb. My girls know its banana season and expect it. Its also BBQ season so pork, BBQ sauce, buns, etc are on sale. We eat a lot of these types of things.  I buy only mark down meats found usually on the side of all the other meat. They just need to be used soon or put in the freezer for later. My goal is to pay less than $1 per lb for any meat I buy. It can be done. So buy seasonal. It saves a bundle.

Garden-Yes your garden can help you out too. Right now the only thing thriving in my garden is spinach . So we eat a lot of salads with it, put it in pasta dishes, and work it into our meals any way I can. Lettuce  is almost ready so soon it will be top priority in our meals. Its free food for the eating in our house. Once my plants start sprouting, I will soon have a ton of veggies to eat and save me a bundle. I am stocked and ready for when this happens. I have purchased my jars little at a time to can anything I grow. I also will be making freezer jam in the next month or so. You will be reading about that when the time comes.  This alone will save you a bundle. 

Resources-Use any resources you have. The bread store I go to about once a week. Its free bread products with a small donation. All money goes to the local seniors. It helps them and you. If you don't have one of these programs, ask friends or family if they know of any places like this. When I was younger, my mom would go get brown bags of food from a local church. You pay $20 a year and once a month you go get 2 brown bags of food to take home. It had everything you could think of in it. So ask anyone you know. Someone always knows of someplace. Also if you have too much of something, give it away to your friends or neighbors. You never know when you will be getting something from them. Just yesterday I received a bowl of potato salad that was to die for. So yummy. I had given her some of my spinach and she gave me that in return. So this also can be helpful. We ate it for dinner with spinach tuna salad.  Try shopping in low cost stores. Example:Grocery Outlet. They are always 50% less than any other store. They always have different things so buy what you need at the moment and think ahead. When they have sales, its super cheap! 

Gift Cards-This is a option if you have gift cards you have not used yet. If your a member of my points, you know you can get gift cards to just about any store. Whenever I get enough points, I usually will get a gift card to Target. Target has everything you need plus groceries so I can get anything I need from there. So I save my gift cards for when I need really need to save money. So next time I need milk or anything else, I will use that card. If you are not a member, check the right hand side of this page and there is a link. Its a super easy way to earn points to use for gift cards. Ive already earned over $100 and only been a member for a year. Its the fastest way to earn money that I have found. My daughter does it as well to earn gift cards to barns and noble so she can feed her book apatite

Dont go to the store-This is my number one tip. Just avoid a store at all cost. Only time I go to the store now is if were out of milk or eggs. I have so much stuff stashed away that I really do not need to go to the store. If I really want, I can use powdered milk. I try to use what I have before going to any store. I have lots of baking products, so I will be making muffins and stuff for snacks.  You can also freeze them if you make a lot.  Try having breakfast for dinner sometime. Kids just love this one. Make homemade pancakes, or just have cereal. We do this on soccer practice nights. I have a ton of cereal that I bought when those round of coupons came by a few weeks ago. I was able to get each box of cereal for less than a dollar each. Maybe work those into your muffins. Kids love cereal muffins for breakfast.  So my point is, stay away from the stores. You will spend money in them now matter how hard you try not to. So just avoid them all together.

Second Hand-If you do need anything at all, try buying second hand first. This used to be optional for me (uuyyy I cringe thinking about it) but now its a must. There is just too much garbage going into the landfill and buying second hand helps prevent this. Plus it saves you a bundle. So my oldest daughter was in need of jeans and I really didn't have the money to go buy $20 jeans (and that's a Target or Walmart). So last Friday I hit the garage sales. I only went to 3 and found what I needed. 4 pairs of Gap jeans almost brand new for only $1 each. I also found name brand shirts (Abercrombie,gap,Roxi etc.) for only 50 cents. So for $8.50 I brought home 4 pairs of jeans and 9 shirts. Yahoo!!! When you garage sale hunt, make sure to check out any free box's out there. Each sale usually has one. You never know what you are going to find and want to keep. I have found most of my Tupperware lids in these. So before you go to get that certain item, check out Goodwill, thrift stores or even yard sales first.

So as you can see, this does save you money. I'm pretty sure I will not have to take any grocery money to pay this ticket. But if I do, it will be very little. Where there's a will, there's a way. Get creative and don't ever say you "CANT" do it. Even someone who has no job and is on a budget can do this. So get creative and have fun saving money.

Monday, May 25, 2009

6 amazing herbs you need to grow

These 6 herbs are so great not only for cooking but a boost of heatlh for your family. These are readily available in any Lowes, Home Depot, or any where that sells any type of plants. They add flavor to any dish you make, and have lots of healthy benefits. They have antioxidants and vitamins with not a drop of salt or fat. They also can protect you against cancer and heart disease.
1. Peppermint-Used in savory and sweet dishes. Peppermint's menthol's, an active terpenoid, triggers a cooling neurological sensation and inhibits tumors by stimulating detoxifying enzymes. Has vitamin A, calcium, and folate, too. Menthol breaks down the heat, so raw mint offers the most benefits. Use in salsa, or pasta. 

2. Rosemary-This plant is the most enduring out of all these. This is a beautiful plant alone even if you don't use it to cook with.  This is anti-inflammatory and anti tumor herb. Its flavonoids may help keep LDL ("bad") cholesterol from oxidizing, thereby preventing hardening of the atreries. The scent improve alertness and memory so you can also use it as a aromatherapy.  Bake into breads,  or use in marinades for chicken or lamb.

3.  Parsley-Has a wonderful peppery flavor.  Parsley has vitamin C, A and K. Also contains the phytochemical polyacetylene, which helps reduce cancer risk. Also fights bad breath, thanks to its odor-absorbing chlorophyll. Parsley can be added to just about any dish. Great with pasta, olive oil and some feta cheese.  Super easy to grow too. I would reccomend growing a flat leaf parsley, otherwise you will be getting a texture in your mouth thats not easily swollowed. 

4. Oregano-This taste great fresh or dried. This herb offers more antioxidants than any other herb as well as most fruits and veggies. Wisk into salad dressings, or put in any marinade. 

5. Basil-Has a spicy fragrance with hints of anise. It contains cancer-protective phytochemicals, which help stimulate the immune system and block  metabolic pathways linked to cancer developement. Add to your favorite sandwich, use in any italian dish, or wrap around a piece of cheese and tomato. 

6.  Cilantro-Its main aroma component, decenal, offers antibacterial effects, while cilantro's phytochemicals, including phthalides and terpenoids, provide anticancer properties. Also a blood-sugar-lowering effects which stave off or manage diabetes. Add to guacamole, or stir chopped cilantro into plain yogurt for a vegetable dip.

No matter what house we live in, we always create a kid friendly herb garden. I have the girls help me pick them out, plant them and water them. In return , they get to pick leaves whenever they want and eat them. They just love rubbing their fingers on them and smelling all the wonderful aroma's they give off. Their favorite herb (not mentioned) is lemon verbina. They pick a few leaves and put them into ice water. Its a wonderful (no sugar, no calories) drink in the summer. Everything in our herb garden and main garden is touchable. It feels good when we are doing our daily routine and they point out a plant and say "Mama, I want to touch and smell it." It shows me that they listened to me and learned. Hopefully the way we choose to live now, reflects them when they grow up. I dont want them to ever leave the house (so sad ) but when they do, I will be so proud when they show me their gardens. 

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Frugal Art Work

I get many magazines in the mail. There are so many beautiful pictures in these magazines that really could be used for art work. For us, simplicity is the key to successful living. We walk, bike, hike, and try to live a greener lifestyle. Not only to be green, but to save on money. So when I found this picture in a magazine, I had to do something with it. My husband bikes to work everyday and this would be a wonderful suprise gift for him. 
How to: I used a frame I had bought and used for another piece of artwork I had. We moved and the art work didnt look right in our older home. I did find this particular frame at the dollar store. I cut out the wonderful art and realized that it didnt fit my frame, it was too small. So I found a piece of acid free cardstock I had in my art supplies and used it as a matt. I used tape instead of glue. Glue will wrinkle the print. Done. Pretty easy huh? 
Next time you thumb through a favorite magazine, keep the pictures you just love. You never know what you can do with them. I keep mine in a folder for later use. 
FYI-He loved the print art work!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Problem...need privacy but on a budget. Solved!

My problem: My back door (which is located in my laundry room) has a window that needs some drapery. I dont have $20 to go get drapes to put on my $10 hardware I had to buy for the drapery. $30 was just too much money for me to cover a back door window. Id much rather pay $5.Solution:1 dowell .99 cents, $4 drapery clips (found on clearance), and fabric ive kept stashed away for 2 years because I love the pattern and it was thick wonderful quality fabric.
How to: Luckily the door had 2 hooks from drapery that was original to the door. I believe it was the two teir system, probably something lacy. 1967 wasnt the most fashionable year. So I went out and bought a dowell.  I cut it to size. Used a can of black spray paint of my husband's and sprayed it black. 
I found a package of drapery clips that were marked $8 and were 50% off lowest price. These clips make it possible for you to use any fabric you want to hang up anything. This beautiful fabric was found at Goodwill outlet. I couldnt pass it up. Even though I had a newer home and it wouldnt match, I still brought it home with good intentions. Little did I know we would buy a older home that this fabric would look just devine in. I just hung the clips on the dowell and set on the hooks that were on the door. Done. It truly was like everything just fell into place. Plus looked way better than my temporarely placed cut up pillow case I had put there. UUHHH. It was horrible. 

I challenge you to fix a problem the frugal way.  Think how much money you will save and will be in your pocket and not some retail store. 

Friday, May 22, 2009

One women's trash, another women's treasure?

What do you see in this picture? Could this be a picture of someone who needs to buy new slippers? Obviously they are on their last leg. Or could this be someone who loves their slippers and doesnt want to let go of them? Hmmm , I guess it could be either. Well its a little of both.

These are my Uggs that I bought from a thrift store as is in the picture. Yep, I bought them this way. Why you ask? Well first of all, I could never afford to buy a new pair. I could get 2 grocery carts loaded full of food, pay half my electric bill and who knows what else. All for the same price I would have to pay to get a new pair. I paid $1 for these. Yep, just one buck.  I guess I could go buy a inexpensive brand that will fall apart in 3 months but would be budget friendly. Uggs are very well made and even though they do eventually start to wear out, they still hold up. Ive owned these for 6 months and they are still going strong. What you cannot see is the hole on the inside of the shoe. Yes, I said it. A hole. Yet I still bought them.
I think what people buy, tells you a lot about a person. I dont believe in getting rid of anything just because its broken. Yes my slippers are hole ridden and ripped on the front. But they are the most comfortable thing I own and anytime I am home I am wearing these. I feel good about my decision to purchase these because I am buying the brand name. Well known excellent quality brand name slippers. Plus I saved them from going in a landfill. Who ever gave these up, obviously loved them and wore the heck out of them. 
Next time you look at someone, dont judge. That well dressed lady with the name brand purse, shoe's and clothing could be just a Goodwill junkie just like me. I believe you can be well dressed and get name brand clothing without stepping foot in a retail store. If you were to take a peek into my closset, you will find a lot of things. From Abercrombie, American Eagle, and Hollister (im very small and their clothing fits me perfect.) To vintage tube tops, scarves, and shoe's. Almost 90% of what I own is used and from thrift stores, yard sales, gifts from friends and family, retail thrift stores, and even free box's I find. Same goes for my children. My children have the biggest wardrobe's of any child I know. All name brands, all the current coolest fashions, and all from my 2nd hand ways. It can be done.
I choose to live my life like this. I refuse to pay full retail prices for anything. I love my worn out Uggs I wear everyday. And proud to wear everything I own. I hunted down each and everyone of my steals and deals. They may not be bought brand new but I love each and every one of them just the same. So think about this when you look at people, and most of all dont judge. You might even ask about where they found them and find out some new and amazing place to get good deals.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

An interesting article came to my attention today. Tampons is a must for women every single month. I didnt think about these things until I had children myself. I started looking at what I was putting into my childrens mouths which led to every aspect of their life. Was not until this article, did I look at myself. What I put into my body. How did I not know about this? Well women dont usually talk about this. So here's the article and I hope it inspires you to think about these kinds of things. 

Seventh Generation May 11,2009

Tampons are a big part of the monthly female lexicon. American women spend about $2 billion on them annually and will use about 11,000 during their lifetimes. But they are a product that few people regularly discuss.

That dynamic needs to change: Tampons, which come into contact with some of the most sensitive tissue in a woman's body, aren't as straightforward as they seem.

Tampons are typically made from a variety of materials including conventional cotton, rayon, or a blend of both fibers. Conventional cotton is one of the "dirtiest" crops in the modern world. According to the USDA, in 2003 U.S. cotton farmers applied an eye-popping 55 million pounds of pesticides to their fields. And global cotton production also uses high levels of pesticides.

Many of these agricultural toxins are classified as "extremely or highly hazardous" by the World Health Organization. In addition to polluting groundwater and soil, seven of the 15 most commonly-used cotton pesticides have been identified as possible human carcinogens by the EPA. (Others are known to damage the nervous system and are suspected of disrupting the body's hormonal system.)

When we buy tampons made with conventional cotton, we are contributing to these kinds of environmental pollution.

Rayon also needs further scrutiny. The wood pulp that forms a base material for most rayon is typically treated with chlorine-based bleach. This manufacturing process results in the creation of chlorinated toxins, which can accumulate in the environment over time.

Conventional tampons can also contain any number of other ingredients that women might not want to be intimate with. These include absorbency enhancers, synthetic deodorants, and artificial fragrances.

Add it all up and the term "feminine protection" becomes a bit of a misnomer. An alternative is to use 100% organic cotton tampons. These products are made from pure natural cotton that hasn't been grown in a soup of pesticides. They don't contain rayon or synthetic additives, and most have been manufactured using a chlorine-free process that doesn't create chlorinated toxins. When you purchase 100% organic cotton tampons you make a statement that you want to prevent the accumulation of toxins in the environment and that you want to make the world a safer, healthier place for you, your family, and generations to come.

Choices like these do more to protect our world and the people who live on it. They're part of the conversation about safer alternatives that parents need to have with their daughters and women should have with one another. Having the conversation today will keep everyone healthier tomorrow.

To find out about more interesting articles, to get coupons, or just to look into these kinds of things. Sign up for Seventh Generation newletter. Each month you will be sent great information.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Read all 6 sides of the box

I was surfing the web today and ran accross this eye opening article about reading the labels. Im pretty good about reading labels and avoid anything in packaging if I can help it. Packaging usually means added ingredients, or just not so healthy. So I try my best to buy fresh, healthy, and organic whenever possible. Here's the article found in MNN (Mother Nature Network). If you havent seen this site, you have to check it out. Truly inspiring and reccomended to all. 

A recent piece, The Worst Packaged Food Lies, brings to light the problem of looking only at the front of a packaged food box for nutrition information. The thing is, the nutrition claims that are on the front of a packaged food usually aren’t lies. They are true. But they aren’t the whole picture. The whole picture is found on the back or side panels where the nutrition labels are.
The article refers to candy like Mike and Ike or Good & Plenty and their “fat free” claim on their boxes. They are, in fact, fat free. No lies there. What the front of the box wouldn’t dare ever declare is that these candies are “almost 100 percent sugar and processed carbs.”
What we as consumers need to learn is to never judge a box by its cover; to never assume that a food is healthy because of a healthy claim on the front of the package.
Here are a few other examples from the article of claims that might lead a consumer to think a food is healthy.
Organic – I know. I preach organic a lot. But there is organic junk food. Foods can be certified USDA organic and still not be healthy. Remember Batter Blaster canned pancakes? They are certified organic. Even the Newman-O’s, that are made with several organic ingredients, that did well in the chocolate sandwich cookie taste test aren’t really healthy.
Less fat – The article uses the example of Smuckers Reduced Fat Creamy Peanut Butter. Sure, they’ve taken out 25 percent of the fat in the pb, but it’s been replaced with
maltodextrin, a carbohydrate used as a cheap filler in many processed foods. This means you’re trading the healthy fat from peanuts for empty carbs, double the sugar, and a savings of a meager 10 calories.
So while the 25 percent fat claim isn’t a lie, people who don’t know the facts can easily be mislead into thinking this is healthy.
A good source of vitamins and minerals – Ah, picks on the product that I don’t eat anymore but I miss the most – Pop-Tarts. It’s the strawberry frosted ones I miss the most; however, they’re talking about the Chocolate Cookie Dough Pop-Tarts that are a “Good source of 7 vitamins and minerals.”
Five of the 7 vitamins and minerals are derived from this product’s first ingredient—enriched flour. That’s the code word for “refined flour that’s had nutrients added to it after it’s been stripped of fiber.”
This type of claim isn’t specific to Pop-Tarts. Most traditional breakfast cereals and bars brag about their vitamins and minerals while still being refined carbohydrate and sugar laden.
Companies usually aren’t lying about their organic, less fat, full of vitamins and minerals claims. They aren’t even lying about the other ingredients that are in the product. It’s all there on the box if consumers would just take the time to flip the box over.
As consumers we need to take the time to read all of the ingredients that are in a packaged food. We need to look at the first few ingredients. Those are the ones that make up the bulk of the product. We need to decide if those are things we want to be putting regularly into our bodies and our children’s bodies. We need to educate ourselves about ingredients and what they really are.
We need to remember that the front of the box is marketing. It’s there to grab our attention and make us want to buy the product.
The piece says:
You see, food manufacturers think you’re stupid. In fact, their marketing strategies rely on it.
I don’t think we’re stupid. We’re in a hurry and want convenience. We’re misinformed and don’t understand what we’re reading. But we’re not stupid. We have the ability to educate ourselves and make better choices.

You game? 

Robin Shreeves 

Stay at home mom blogs about finding eco-friendly food options.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Oh My.....Had to brag!

So I took a last minute trip to Target today, just to pick up a few things. Didnt need anything, just wanted to  use up my coupons. Well I couldnt believe it when the total finally came in. All this cost me only $12.08. How you might ask? Stacking coupons. Yep, its super easy and i'm not sure why people dont do it much. You can use more than 1 coupon on one item. As long as they are different coupons. One Target coupon, one coupon from sunday paper insert, and one from on the package. Here's the breakdown

Sponges (2)
2 Target coupons 75cents off each

Natures Source (1)
1 coupon found on package $1 off
1 coupon for free item (from bzz kit)
Paid me $1 to take it home

100 cal pack Nabisco (1)
$1 off Target coupon
$1 off MFC

Fiber One Bars(with extra bar)(2)
$1.35 off each MFC

Starkist Tuna (2)
$1 off each (vocal point)
Paid me 2 cents to take home

Kraft BBQ Sauce
$1 Target coupon
Paid me 1 penny to take it home

Yoplait Yogurts (10)
40 cents MFC
40 cents MFC
$1 off Target coupon

Kraft Philly Cheese (2)
$1 off 2 Target coupon
$1 off (house party)

Rynalds Recycled 
55 cents off MFC

Cottonelle 12 pk
$1 MFC
$1 MFC
$1 Coupon came with sample

Alexia Foods
$1 off MFC
$1 off MFC
$1 off 2 coupon on package
Paid $1.99 for both together
Sent my reciept in and get $1.99 refund with coupon insert from sundays paper. Yipee!

Ritz Crackers
$1 off MFC
$1 off Target Coupon

Total was $44.78
Coupons $32.70
PAID $12.08

They actually paid me to take things home! I just love that. So here are a few things to remember. 
-You can use more than 1 MFC (manufacturers coupon) as long as they are differant ones or dont say 1 coupon per purchase
-You can use store coupons along with MFC coupons
-You can use coupons even on mark down items. Things that have been clearanced,marked down, or discontinued.
-Always combine with sales to maximize your profit
-Try to pick younger cashiers. Always had good transactions with this rule. Sometimes older cashiers question things or wont let you use coupons sometimes. I always end up going to customer service and have them take off the coupons that they didnt. Never had a problem doing this.
-Remember to have fun with it.
-Take advantage of rebates

Remember Captian Planet? Well he's back!!!

Remember that Saturday morning cartoon that taught you how to be kind to the earth? Well Mother Nature Network has brought it back for everyone to watch again. Sign up for their updates and be the first to know each time they put a new video up. While you are there, check out this amazing site. Its truly ispiring.
Check out their photo gallery, take the quiz, enjoy behind the scene's interviews, sing the them song, and watch the video interview with the creater Ted Turner. Ted Turner created this is 1990 and it was the first environmentally themed animated series. For the next 12 months MNN will unveil more than 20 episodes of this classic cartoon as well as never before scene bonus footage.
So grab the kids, grab some pillows and let the kids watch these amazing eye opening cartoons. You can find all these and more here

Monday, May 18, 2009

Plastic code for me.

Are you having problems figuring out which plastic is good or bad? Well your not alone. Here's a list of plastic codes and what they mean. This number should be located on the bottom of the plastic item you are inquiring about. Even if there is no number, dont throw it away. Below has ideal items that dont always have numbers but are safe. Be sure to read completely.

#1, PET or PETE (polyethylene terephthalate):  easily recycled, not found to leach. Used in water, juice and soft drink bottles. Known to absorb odors and bacteria after long time use.
#2, HDPE (high-density polyethylene): easily recycled, not found to leach. Used in milk jugs, detergent and shampoo bottles. Soon to be in a new Nalgene bottle. Known to absorb odors and bacteria after long time use. 
#3, PVC or Vinyl (polyvinyl chloride):  not recyclable; soft PVC can leach toxic phthalates. Used in some cling wraps, children's toys, fashion accessories, rain gear, detergent and spray bottles.
#4:  LDPE (low-density polyethylene):  recyclable at recycling centers; not found to leach. Used in most plastic shopping bags, cling wraps, some baby bottles and reusable drink & food containers.
#5:  PP (polypropylene):  recyclable in some curbside programs, not found to leach. Used in some baby bottles, most yogurt and deli takeout containers, Tupperware- and Rubbermaid-type reusable food and drink containers.
#6:  PS (polystyrene):  recyclable in some curbside programs, can leach styrene, a neurotoxin. Used in rigid foam drink cups, takeout food containers, egg containers, some plastic cutlery.
#7:  It's a mixed bag! This code applies to all other plastics, notably PC, or Polycarbonate, which Nalgene is discontinuing in its popular Lexan sports bottles because it can leach the suspected hormone disupting chemical, bisphenol-A. Polycarbonate also doesn't recycle.
But #7 also includes the relatively benign new copolyester Tritan plastic, which Nalgene is substituting for PC in its new Everyday line; Camelbak also makes sports bottles with Tritan.

Adding to the confusion, the burgeoning crop of bioplastics falls under code #7, as well. These include PLA, or Polyactide, made from plants, especially corn. As a material, it's certainly renewable and hence greener than petroleum, with which all the above plastics are made. Ant it's used with increasing frequency in water bottles, bags, supermarket takeout containers and other packaging.
At the moment, PLA is not easily recyclable, but it can technically be recycled with other, conventional plastics so long as it comprises only 5 percent of the batch.  Hmm. Some brave recycling programs, apparently, are game. Most commonly, PLA can be composted in industrial-strength composters, at high heat (not advised for your kitchen bin, but a good option for universities, hospitals and other large institutions). PLA will decompose, slowly, eventually, in a compost heap or landfill (heaven forbid), where it can release methane, another greenhouse gas.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Top 10 Air-Purifying Plants

1. Boston Fern-#1 plant of all
2. Areca Palm-Another top performer.
3.  Lady Palm
4.  Bamboo Palm. Removes formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene
5.  Rubber Plants. Excels in removing formaldehyde.
6. Dracaena janet Craig. Removes formaldehyde.
7. English Ivy. Removes formaldehyde.
8. Drarf Date palm. Removes xylene.
9. Ficus Alii
10. Peace Lily. Removes alcohols, acetone, formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene.
11. Corn Plant.  Removes formaldehyde.
12. Golden Pothos.
13.  Kimberly Queen Fern. Removes formaldehyde and alcohols.
14.  Florist Mum. Removes formaldehyde, benzene, and ammonia.
15. Gerbera Daisy. High transpiration rate.
16. Dracaena Warneckei. Removes benzene.
17. Dragon Tree. Removes xylene and trichloroethylene.
18. Schefflera.
19. Spider Plant
20. Weeping Fig.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Homemade Goodness *Safe Play Clay*

Safe Clay

1 cup of flour
1/4 cup of salt
2 tbsp of cream of tartar
1 cup of water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Food coloring

Combine all ingredients in a pot over medium heat and stir. Add coloring until the desired color intensity is reached. (for 100% pure product, natural dyes like beat and berry juice,etc,. can be used instead.)  Continue stirring until the clay forms a ball and reaches the consistancy of commercial play doughs. Place on foil or wax paper until cool.  Store in plastic bag or tightly sealed container.

Friday, May 15, 2009

29 ways to help your family breathe easier

1. Use untreated bedding. Permanent press and other treated sheets contain formaldehyde that's emitted and inhales while kids sleep. Don't by flame-resistant pajamas or other textiles.

2. Wash bedding at least once a week and keep bedroom humidity below 50%. Both steps help reduce or eliminate dust mite allergens.

3.  If you use candles, use only non-petroleum candles with cloth wicks and natural essential oil scents. Synthetically scented paraffin and other synthetic wax candles emit unhealthy fumes and soot when burned. Make sure any wick you light does not contain a thin metal strand to help it stand upright. Such wicks emit zinc and tin when burned.

4. Use only natural cosmetic and personal care products, and avoid synthetic scents and perfumes. When your children hug and hang out with you, make sure all they pic up is affection and attention.

5.  Keep particleboard and other pressed composite woods products out of your home. These building materials are made with glues and other chemicals that give off dangerous fumes as they age, including toxic formaldehyde. Buy solid wood furnishings and construction supplies to keep this key component of unhealthy indoor air way. If cost is a factor, use plywood, which doesn't out gas as much, instead of particleboard or fiberboard.

6. Let fresh air into your home frequently even in winter. A good healthy air exchange is worth more than any warmed or cooled air you'll replace and is the best way to rinse out any unhealthy pollutants that have accumulated. Let kids sleep with a window open as much as possible. Buy a dowel and cut it to a specific size that will only allow the window to open up 1 inch. 

7.  At school, request that bus drivers turn off their engines while they wait for classes to get out. Buses emit a wide variety of unhealthy particulates and other air pollutants, amounts of which quickly rise to dangerous levels whenever they idle in one place. Also inquire about your school's pesticide policy. Most schools apply these poisons with no prior notification. Insist that you be told when and where your local school is using.

8.  Avoid indoor pools treated with chlorine. Choose those pools that use ozoneation,UV light, or biguanide, which is a non-toxic chemical alternative most commonly marketed under the name Biquacil.

9.  If you get new carpet installed that isnt made of natural materials, air it out throughly before installation. Carpeting can contain a wide variety of chemical compounds that out gas. Leaving it unrolled or at least loosely rolled in the garage for a week or two before installation will reduce these levels of emitted hazardous gasses. Similarly, refuse any carpet treated with stain repellents, mildew treatments, or other chemicals. Don't install carpets with adhesives. And once they're installed, keep fresh air circulating through the room for a few months.

10. use safe non-toxic cleaning products. The hazardous fumes and airborne aerosols created by synthetic chemical cleaners are on of the biggest sources of dangerous air pollution inside an average home.

11. Have furnaces, water heaters, and any other combustible devises in your home inspected and serviced annually to make sure emissions aren't escaping into your living spaces. Vent gas ranges to the outside. And never use kerosene or other portable combustion-type heaters.

12.  Use only safe and natural arts and crafts supplies. Avoid products that give off fumes, like many permanent ink markers, rubber cement, paints, etc. Use only those products you've verified are safe.

13. Don't use pesticides or any chemical flea or tick preparations for pets, including flea collars, shampoo's, or treatments. Researchers have documented clear links between pesticide products and childhood leukemia.

14.  Grow a lot of plants. House plants act as natural air filters that remove pollutants and keep indoor atmospheres cleaner. 

15. If you smoke, stop immediately. Forget smoking in your house or even on its grounds.  

16. Change air filters regularly. 

17. If you have a gas range make sure the flames are blue (an indication of complete combustion.) Orange flames should be adjusted.

18.  Never use a gas range as a heat source.

19. When purchasing a new gas range, never purchase one with a pilot light.

20. Have your fireplace cleaned and inspected annually

21. Test for radon.

22. Ventilate bathrooms well and often.

23.  To reduce or prevent mold and mildew, wipe fixtures and walls clean frequently.  Keep them as moisture free as possible.

24. Do not use hairspray. 

25.  Groom pets regularly and outdoors if possible. 

26. Use a HEPA vacuum or one that offers enhanced filtration of its exhaust.

27.  Do not use pesticides ever.

28.  Keep paints solvents, strippers, and other chemical products in a well ventilated area away from the main home. 

29. Do not leave your vehicle running in the garage ever. 

Thursday, May 14, 2009

All-purpose Natural Cleaners

All-purpose counter cleaner
2 tsp washing soda
2 tsp borax
1/2 tsp natural liquid soap
1 cup hot water
Mix these ingredients in a spray bottle, shake well and spray. 

Window cleanser
2 cups of water
1/4 cup of vinegar
Put both in a spray bottle. Shake well and use as your usual window cleanser.

Floor cleaner

1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup of natural liquid soap
2 gallons of hot water

Use as your usual floor cleaner.  

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Battling Food-Borne Bacteria the natural way

Kitchens are the main source of our exposure to dangerous bacterial in your home. Salmonella and e.coli are the infamous interlopers. They travel on everything from meat to produce, and once loosed in kitchen, they can contaminate food. From utensils to surfaces. They will make you sick. Preventing these microbial hazards and keeping your kitchen healthy is simply a matter of practicing common sense precaution when handing raw foods. Here are some tips to help your safely handle and prepare raw foods. 

*Keep cutting boards clean. Plastic ones are safer. Treat your board in a 5 minute soaking after each use. 1 part vinegar to 5 part water. Maintain separate cutting boards for meats and produce.

*Wash all your knives between each use. Same as cutting boards, use knives separate for meats and produce.. 

*Human hands are a key way that bacteria get spread around the kitchen. Wash your hands after each item you cut up. At the same time, wash all appliance door handles, cabinet knobs, and drawer pulls.

*Wash produce well. Produce that transports bacteria include leafy greens, sprouts, mushrooms, and foods like broccoli, whose nooks and crannies can protect and transport bacteria.

*Watch out for cross contamination. If cutting meat, do not touch anything until your hands are washed.

*Don't use a cloth or sponge to wipe up after handling meat. Use recycled paper towels or only use your cloth or sponge for that purpose only then wash immediately.

*Don't use kitchenware that's been used to prepare it. For example: Don't use a plate to bring raw meat to the BBQ, then use that same plate to bring the meat in once its done. Big NO NO. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Green Review 4girlsdesigns


If your looking for chemical-free eco friendly reusable bags for your childrens lunch, your in luck. 4girlsdesigns have everything you need. From produce bags, sandwich bags, to snack bags. 
All these wonderful items are made with FDA approved material and inside is heavy duty sturdy FDA approved cloth nylon. They are made to last a long long time. 

Here is a run down of reasons why you should buy these sandwich bags (or any of them!)

• Economical: stop buying plastic/paper bags,reuse this instead
• Easy to clean surfaces: wipe off long-lasting nylon inner layer with damp cloth; Fabric can be spot cleaned or hand wash in cold water and air dry
• Eco Friendly: stop adding plastic baggies to the landfill!
• In-Demand fabrics: outer layer 100% cotton; inner layer Nylon with water, stain, mildew, rot –resistant coating away from food surface (This is NOT the PUL, or thin ripstop nylon you see elsewhere phthalate free, BPA, and lead free)
• Wraps AND forms Tray to eat from when opened
• Easy-to-eat-from-tray; you may find yourself where you can’t lay out a regular placemat as there is no room, or the surface available isn’t flat. The tray can sit on your lap! Just open Velcro closure, and pull the ends apart.
. Adjustable: from 6 1/2"x 5 1/4" up to 7" x 8" (measures approx. 13" x 13" if opened flat)
• Keeps food fresh for hours
• Handmade with the finest materials in the USA
• Opens easily, closes easily: just fold sides in, bottom portion up and top (with lable on it) down, matching up Velcro to fasten
• Versatility to adapt to many sandwich sizes, as well as other food (Not made for hot food, or microwave)

I also reccomend checking out the produce bags (pictured in above pic in white). They are made of no-see-um material which is the chemical free way to carry/store produce or bulk food items. They are extremely lightweight, yet very strong. You could easily throw them in your purse to use when you get get groceries.  No more toxic plastic bags. I used these to buy apples just the other day and they held up like a champ. I was amazed how these feather light bags could hold so much. Better yet, they are only $3.98 each. These things are just amazing.

Testing: My girls were on a mission to test these for 1 week. So everyday I packed their lunch's with just about everything you could imagine. From dropping them on the floor, kicking the bags, to putting them in their back pack. I must say, they did a great job. I was so happy to find a sandwich bag that could be used with any type of bread. I found it very hard to find anything to fit whole wheat wider bread. These had plenty of room for any type.

Verdict: WONDERFUL! I was just amazed how well these things were made. No spills, no mess to clean up, nothing. They did exactly what they were meant to do. I washed them by hand, put them in the dishwasher, and even threw them in my washer with our clothes. I just let them air dry.  I reccomend 4girlsdesigns highly.

Find 4girlsdesigns on Etsy

You may also check 4girlsdesigns at

Prices are from $3.95-$10 for single items and $12.95-$23.95 for sets. 

Alyssa "I like the designs on the fabric, my friends think they are cool."
            "My favorite are the bags with velcro, they keep my food inside and protected."
Hailey "It keeps my sandwich fresh and my friends think they are so cool."

Natural ingredients for natural cleaning

Do you usually look for natural alernatives for medical reasons? Why dont you do the same for house cleaning? Here are the core ingredients your natural cleaning cupboard should contain. All can be found on the internet and other places. 

Baking Soda-Deodorizer, non-abrasive scouring powder (available in bulk)

Beeswax-Floor and furniture wax (also found in craft stores)

Borax-Deodorizer, non-abrasive scouring powder, all-purpose cleaner, mold inhibitor, rust and stain remover. (Winco sells this one)

Carnauba Wax-Wood and furniture wax 

Citrus fruit like orange, lemon and lime-Grease cutter, deodorizer, flea repellent

Eucalyptus oil-Insect repellent 

Favorite essential oils-Air freshening, scenting homemade formulas 

Hydrogen peroxide-Bleaching agent and antibacterial (found anywhere)

Jojoba oil-Wood polisher 

Lavender oil-Disinfectant, deodorizer 

Natural vegetable-based liquid soap(like Dr.Bronner's)-General detergent product substitute. Bug repellent.

Neem tree oil-Insect repellent 

Olive oil-Wood polisher (found anywhere)

Washing soda(sodium carvonate)-Grease-and grime-cutter, wax remover, deodorizer(Winco sells this one)

White Distilled Vinigar-Dissolving hard water mineral scale and greasy build-up, removing tarnish, cleansing wood and glass. (found anywhere)

Tea Tree Oil-Antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral agent;deodorizer

Toothpaste-Metal Polish

Monday, May 11, 2009

Ten Key ways to read labels and avoid toxic products

Want to rid all toxic chemicals out of your house? It starts by looking at yourself. You make most of the decisions in the buying of products, so you must look at yourself first.  Think to yourself these 10 questions before you buy anything.
1. If the label includes the notice: "Poison," "Warning," or Danger" stop right there and avoid it all together. Some products say "Caution"  without necessarily being toxic. Usually is a product sold in powder form and could irritate eyes. Use your own caution when buying these.

2.Are all ingredients listed clearly on the label along with a statement that notes that full ingredient disclosure has been made, or are only acutely hazardous or active ingredients listed? Look for complete listings and avoid products that offer only a partial listing. 

3. All ingredients listed by name or are they hidden under broad categories like "surfactant," "dispersal agents," "inert ingredient, " etc? Don't buy a product that lists its ingredients by category. Choose alternatives that have all their ingredients clearly listed by name.

4. Does the product label provide you with information concerning the source of each of its ingredients in order to help you assess its safely? Look for products whose labels help explain these origins and provide the most complete information. Avoid products that are content to simply offer a chemical or ingredient name with no further explanation. If a company doesn't want to tell you where an ingredient comes from, there's probably a reason why.

5. Are there any ingredients listed on the label that appear to be synthetic in nature? Its worth decoding chemical names on product labels because they can provide important hints about toxicity. While the system isn't completely fool-proof, the presence of any of the following indicate a product that likely should be avoided.
*The presence of "chlor" in any part of any chemical name indicates a chlorinated chemical.
*Any ingredient ending in "-ene" like benene, toulene, or xylene indicates the likely presence of a petroleum-based solvent. Note that sometimes these chemicals  are another identifier.
*Petroleum distillates or naphthas.
*Any ingredient with "glycol" as part of its name, indicating a petroleum-based polyol or ether.
*Any ingredient with "phenol" as part of its name, especially at the end, indicating the use of toxic coal tar derivatives.

6. If a product says that it is biodegradable, what length of time is being refered to? If it isn't "readily biodegradable" then it may take several lifetimes to break down, which effectively makes its toxicity semi-permanent.

7.  Is there information of the label that says the product is either "combustible" or  "flammable," or is there a warning statement that says the product should not be stored in temperatures above 120 degree's? Such warnings usually indicate the presence of hazardous solvents, which typically account for the vast majority of the flammability hazards represented by cleaning products. 

8.  Is there a warning statement that says the product should not be used around flame or open fires?This is another clue to the presence of hazardous solvents.

9.  Are there any precautionary statements on the level that warn of possible air quality dangers, such as a warning that the product needs to be used in a well ventilated room, that users should avoid breathing product vapors, or that the product can cause respiratory irritation and should be avoided by people with asthma, respiratory illnesses, emphysema, etc? Avoid these products that have these or other similar statements.

10. Is there a precautionary statement on this label warning that the product can cause skin irritation? Avoid any products that have such a statement. 

If you cannot find the answers to these questions on cleaning product labels, you may be able to obtain them from the manufacturers. Most companies offer a toll-free phone number consumers can use to contact them and ask such questions directly. In addiction, some manufacturers will send you a Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for their product if you require one. 

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day to all

Take time for yourself today. Dont feel bad about it either. You diserve it. Right now as you read this, im in Seattle Washington having a girls day away. I will be relaxing, sipping on coffee, and enjoying some sort of pastry im sure. Every now and then you just need to get away with no children. 

Homemade Goodness *Depression Chocolate Cake"

In the depression, resources were limited. Like eggs and milk. So people used what they had. Here's an excellent recipe to try out.

Chocolate Cake
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons baking cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup oil
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups cold water
Mix flour, sugar, cocoa, soda and salt in ungreased 9-by-13-inch pan. Make three depressions. Into one, pour the oil; into the second, pour the vinegar; into the third, pour the vanilla. Pour the cold water over all, and mix very well with a fork until completely combined. Bake in preheated 350 F oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour (test with toothpick). Also makes awesome cupcakes! Just mix it all up in a bowl, and make about 26 cupcakes. Bake 20 minutes

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Focus on reducing your waste

This is a great way to put a lid on your trash and conserve resources. Here is a list of ways to reduce with little or no effort.
-Avoid disposable items whenever possible. Usually these have a coating that cannot be recycled.
-Choose durable products that can be used again and again. (coffee mugs,silverware,etc.)
-Use the blank sides of scrap paper for notes, list, or printing again on. I use hand outs from my daughters school papers to print coupons on. Then recycle scraps. 
-Save plastic produce bags and paper or plastic bags for reuse. Some stores have plastic bag recycling box's so recycle yours when done or better yet stop using them all together. Reuse paper bags as trash bags in every room. Have the kids decorate them and then use them for throwing in stuff to be recycled. 
-Carry a cloth bag to use when you shop. Many stores sell them for cheap. Beware of poorly made ones. Trader Joe's has excellent stury ones for around $1.99. Carry them in your car(or cars) at all times. Have a small travel bag? Throw that one in your purse. Your always covered.
-Buy in bulk whenever possible. Winco has the cheapest prices around. Take your own container if possible. No need to use their "plastic" thin bags. There are several bags that can be reused and washed that you can use to buy bulk in. Try out. 
-Pack lunches in reusable containers to reduce waste and save money. I pack my daughters lunches every single day. We have a "No Ziplock" rule when it comes to packing lunches.
-Choose products with minamal packaging or packaging that can be reused or recycled easily. Buying in bulk will reduce this. Most products are starting to use recycled packaging so seek those out as well. 
-Bring a resable cup or mug to coffee shops. Like those famous coffee brands? Just bring your own cup. They encourage it. 
-Request a junk mail kit to reduce unwanted mail. Portland area: 
-Borrow books from the library or buy used rather than purchasing new. Try for books you cannot find in thrift stores. Otherwise you can find books for 25 cents-$1.99 at Goodwill.
-Repair broken or damaged items rather than replacing them. Keep a sewing kit handy. If you need to replace the item, look for it in the thrift stores first. You will spend 50% less then new items.
-Donate items you can no longer use to nonprofit groups or thrift stores. Try seeking out a womens shelter.  Do some help along with getting rid of your unwanted items.
-Purchase quality used items such as furniture, clothing, sports equipment, toys and books at second hand stores, garage sales or classified ads. Try for what you want too. is a site for free items. Look for your nearest local group and list what you want or look for what you want. 
Compost leaves, grass clippings, and kitchen scraps (no meat or dairy) in a home compost pile. Use compost to improve your garden or feed house plants. 

Friday, May 8, 2009

Composting- A recipe for sucess

Composting is easy and inexpensive...and yields beautiful gardens! This natural product enriches soil quality, promotes healthy plant growth, and reduces a garden's need for water. Adding compost to soil helps:
-Replenish and store organic nutrients
-Reduce erosion and water run-off.
-Loosen clay soils for better root development.
-Retain moisture in sandy soils.
-Support beneficial soil organisms.

How to compost for better blooms.
A well-maintained compost pile will create compost from yard debris in as little as 6-8 weeks. The preparation and tending of the pile determines the speed and success of the finished product.

Tips to compost success
1. Chop the debris. 
A finer debris is chipped, the better the access for tiny organisms to do their work. A successful blend of one part brown debris to one part green helps to stabilize the pile and control odors.
Green=Nitrogen-rich materials(grass, green leaves, fresh-cut flowers, stems)
Brown=Carbon-rich materials(sticks,branches,dried leaves,straw,wood shavings)

2. Turn the pile.
Aerating the pile weekly allows the tiny ecosystem and organisms to breathe. If not aerated, the pile becomes anaerobic: a much colder, slower process, and common cause of foul odors.

3. Maintain the moisture.
Keep the pile moist by watering...but not too much. Strive for the wetness of a wrung-out sponge. If the pile is too wet, add dry leaves or wood shavings.

4.  Finish the compost.
Finished compost will appear dark and crumbly, smell earthy, an no longer generate heat. Use chicken wire or mesh to screen off larger items and allow the finish compost time to "mature"-usually several weeks-before spreading compost over soil as mulch.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Chemical Free Green Garden

Wanting to have a green garden? Don't want to use chemicals? Well here is a list of things you can do to have both of these. 
-Build Healthy Soil. 
Healthy soil makes healthy plants that naturally resist diseases and pest. Add organic material to improve drainage and provide food to the microscopic creatures that produce nutrients for your plants. Add 2 or 3 inches of compost or aged manure every year by turning it into the soil or using as mulch around plants. Live in a rural area? Might find some for free, just drive by and ask. Most are happy to get rid of it.
-Rethink your lawn.
 Grasscycling is the practice of leaving grass clippings on the lawn to release nutrients back into the lawn. It also reduces fertilizer needs by up to 50%, and saves time bagging clippings for yard debris collection.
-Water deeply but infrequently. 
About an inch a week is all your lawn needs. Let the lawn dry out between watering's to encourage deep roots that will withstand the stress of drought. Over-watering can promote disease and leach nutrients from the soil as well  as waste water. If you have a lot of clippings, throw some in your compost pile too.
-Skip the weed and feed.
Weed and feed is more than just fertilizer. It contains weed killers that may damage soil and lawn healthy as well as pollute waterways. Cover ground with mulch, you are less likely to get weeds. And if you do, they pull out super easy because the ground is very soft.
-Grow plants that thrive in our environment.
Choose plants that do well in your area soil and climate. A plant that is suited to its environment will be stronger, healthier and less likely to succumb to diseases or pests.
-Grow a diverse garden.
A balanced ecosystem provides a year-round habitat for creatures that are beneficial to your garden. such as insects, birds and other wildlife. A natural balance of insects, birds and other wildlife can help control pest. Using pesticides can upset this natural balance and actually increase pest problems. 
-Get to know your bugs.
Not all bugs are bad, and even the presence of some bad ones is not necessarily a sign of problems. If you think you have pests in your garden, determine whether they are actually damaging  your plants. Most plants can easily survive losing 25% of their leaf surface, so if they are signs that pests have been chewing on your plants, a little damage wont hurt. They can also be some time between the appearance of pests and the arrival of beneficial insects that will control them. Many plants can actually "outgrow" pests or disease if the soil is healthy.
-Try non-toxic pest control.
If you determine that a pest or disease problem requires intervention, use the safest method possible. Pick off bugs by hand, use streaming water from a garden hose to remove aphids, and set out traps for slugs. Use barriers to keep pests from getting on your plants in the first place-e.g row covers for vegetables. If you need to use a pesticide, choose the least-toxic product possible, such as insecticidal soap. Or use natural peppermint liquid soap. Just mix 2 tbsp with a spray bottle full of water. This is my preferred method.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Homemade Laundry Soap

All four of my daughters are allergic to all dyes and perfumes and all have some form of excema. I have had to learn this on my own due to doctors not knowing exactly what was causing the excema. Trial and error and lots of help from other moms going through the same thing. has lots of other moms and groups for support.
I have had to research and learn how to make laundry detergent and dish washing soap to be able to afford these kinds of items. They are pretty expensive in the stores. Just for laundry soap alone its $8.99-$13.99 for one bottle of the soap. Yes they are plant based but this does not concern me because I just need perfume and dye free soap. Here is my recipe for laundry soap that I use everyday and has made a huge impact on my daughters excema. Theirs has almost completely gone away.

Did the math and this soap is 1 penny per load. So would you like to pay $8.99 for 32 loads?
Or 32 cents?

Homemade Laundry Soap

Things you will need:
5 gallon bucket with secure lid(can buy for around $5 Walmart or paint supplies or use old large container of dry laundry soap?
1 bar of soap (I use plant based) use 1/3 bar with any non natural soap bar
1/2 cup Washing Soda (found at Winco) Removes dirt and oders
1/2 cup of Borax (found at Winco, Albertsons, Walmart) whitener deodorizer
few drops of natural oils. (lavender is my favorite but use tea tree oil to get stains out better)

Grate your bar of soap and put in a medium sauce pan. Add 6 cups of water and stir with wisk on medium heat until soap is completely disolved. Turn off heat. Add borax and washing soda and stir well. Pour 4 cups of hot water into your bucket and add your hot mixture into it while whisking. Next add 1 gallon and 6 cups of luke warm water into bucket and continue to stir. It will gel up almost immediately. Use 1/2 cup per load for regular washers and 1/4 cup for energy effeciant washers.

Once in a while you will need to remix the soap, it will thicken up and water will go to bottom so just remember to stir once in a while. This soap even gets out pee oders from animals and children. My 3 yr old twins are almost done with potty training and this gets out all accidents with no left over smells.
I do 2+ loads a day washing clothing for my 6 person family. Been using this for over a year now and find it works better than any other soap ive used in the past.
PLEASE keep out of reach from children. Only use containers with a secure lid so children cannot get into it. Keep it locked up or out of reach from children.

Disclaimer: This is a recipe that ive used for a year now with my energy effeciant washer and have has no issues with anything. I am not reponsible for anything that happens to your washer or clothes. I would test this before using it on your clothing. Again ive yet to encounter anything at all going wrong with this soap. Use at your own risk. Please call poison control if eaten or gets into eyes.

Soap bars-I usually use Trader Joe soaps because they are natural and only cost $1.49 for two. Oatmeal is a favorite because its a natural laundry softner and you dont have to use dryer sheets. I use tea tree oil bars for hard to get stains out. Its a natural oil used for years for many things and this is one way. Try not to buy soaps with chunks. Oatmeal bars, and lavender bars usually have the chunks in it. Trader Joe's has no chunks so I recommend them. If you dont need natural soaps and like the scent of your favorite body bar of soap, you can use this as well but you need to know it will sud up more. So use 1/3 the bar.

Dish washing soap

1/2 cup borax
1/2 washing soda
Small container with secure lid

Mix and put into a air tight container. Use 1 tsp per load. Keep out of reach from children. Keep locked up or out of reach from children. Will make sick if eaten or gets in to eyes. Call poison control if your child eats or gets into eyes.

Disclaimer: Ive used this for one year and have had no issues with my dishwasher. Does not leave residue, and has not marked or left stains in my dishwasher. My dishes are clean and works just was well as other store brands. Im not responsible for anything that happens to your dishwasher when using this recipe. Please test this out before you use on all your dishes. Use at your own risk.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Homemade Goodness *Banana Carrot Muffins*

This is my kids all time favorite muffin recipe. To be honest, its one of mine too. If you love banana, then you will love this one. This recipe calls for carrots, so you could use either left over cooked carrots, or shredded fresh carrots. You cannot taste the carrots in this muffin so its good if you want your kids who do not like carrots to eat them. These work great for in the morning on the go breakfast. They are very filling. My favorite thing to do is split it in half and put butter on it while its still warm. mmmm

Banana Muffins

1 cup sugar
4 eggs
4 or 5 banana's
2 cups shredded carrots or cooked cut up carrots
1 cup olive oil

4 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
optional: Nuts and flax seed

Mix all wet ingredients, then mix in dry ingredients. You can make banana cake with this or put into cup cake trays. Your choice. This also freeze's well.
350 degree's for 30 minutes or lightly golden brown.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Great things to do that wont cost you a cent!

Not sure what to do? Here's a few examples
1. Watch video's on everything you can think of .
2.  Learn to knit 
3.  Learn massage moves Search for "massage techniques into the search bar.

Invite a friend over and raid your pantry to create a day of pampering. Honey, avocado's, oatmeal, lemon even beer are all great ingredients. Type in "pantry spa" in the search box. 

Like to play games? Puzzles? Archade games? Check these places out.

Have a box of photo's laying around? Dig through them and put together an album. Or try putting together an album online so friends and family can see them. Try these out,they are FREE . You can crop, edit, and organize photo's.

Dont take a boring nap. Try getting your favorite pillow, comfy blanket, soft music, open a window, turn off the phone and go lay down. Just steal away for an entire afternoon.

Have a kids playhouse? Use that. Or just get your tent out and pretend you are anywhere but home. And hey if it doesnt work out, you can just go home.
1. get great camping food idea's here.
2. Get games and songs here.

Pick your favorite music, burn a CD or load the playlist onto the persons cell or ipod. 
1. Love this site. I have a playlist for cleaning, my girls have one for when they color at the table.
3. make one using windows media player

Most museums and galleries offer a free admission on special days or weekends. 
2. Bank Of America  credit or devit card owners can get free admission to more than 70 museums on the first weekend of each month.

Need stuff and want to get rid of stuff? Try these out.
1. Join the online fashion swap party. Read the guidelines, browse through a wardrobe of clothes and accessories, then swap all day long for free. 
4.  swap books, dvd's or cd's.

Like garage or yard sales but dont have cash? Most if not all will have a free box somewhere in their stuff and if they dont, just ask if they have anything for free.  Google has a new tool to help you find local yard/garage sales near your home. You can plan your route to save on gas or just walk to them.
Note:their site is down right now, check back later. I will keep you posted on this.

You could volunteer at any library. Just call your local one for details. You can also volunteer at any womens shelter, check your local listings. Call your church to see what projects are waiting for someone like to you to help out.  

Just think about that wonderful feeling you will have when you do this. Maybe you will find that lost shoe you havent been able to find in months.  Find things you dont wear but dont want to lose money out on it? Try selling them on for some extra cash. So easy to do, just try it. To make your life easier register with to accept debit payments. You get your money way faster this way and its free!

Really do I need to explain this one? This is how I spend my free time. I blog. If I can do it, so can you. Have relatives far away? Keep a blog about your family and your extended family can read it and keep tabs on you. Just think about what you are most passionate about and go with it. 

Yep, thats free too. Get the kids to come pull weeds with you, and enjoy the weather while your out there. Start a compost bin and encourage your kids to help with it. 

Could this be possible? Yep, its true. Redbox offers a code each Monday to get a movie for free. One movie per debit card. If you read my blog loyally, you wont need to search for the code, I give it to you. 
Register with them and your first movie is free!
You can return your dvd at any Redbox location. COOL!

I am not sure why this is amazing, but it is. I feel so good when I move my furniture around. Its like I decorated for free. Yipee! Need some inspiration? Watch Freestyle on hgtv. You take what you have and Freestyle it. Love this show!  Its on everyday at 9am. 

Okay, this should keep you busy. Now you cannot say "I cannot do anything, I have no money". You have no excuse.