Sunday, August 29, 2010

Produce that keeps on giving

A month or so ago I bought 50 lbs of Yukon Gold potatoes and was not able to eat them all before some started to grow. All the potato's that were growing were planted in the garden with hopes of maybe getting more potatoes. The other day I was watering them and noticed that some potatoes were peeking out from the soil. They already flowered but were not dying back. So what I think happened is that I didn't plant them deep enough. I had to harvest these because I didn't want the bugs to get to them. Drats! They got 2 of them!  

I gathered the girls and we went out to dig this row up. I have another row of them but they are smaller and I don't see any peeking out from the soil.   My kids grumbled about how they didn't want to help me but because i'm there mother I have the last word. One perk of being a parent that I love. Once the plants were pulled and they saw that there were potatoes, they started to dig and help out. While we were digging them out our neighbors came in the garden and helped out as well. Kids love this kind of stuff. How cool are potatoes? They grow under the dirt!  My kids just love that fact. So here is what we unearthed.
Since I was dirty anyways I decided to pull the two only carrots that actually grew. One was normal and the other looked like Barbie legs. I planted the whole package of carrot seeds and I only get 2 plants? Stinking Oregon weather!
This is the reason I love potatoes and will spend the extra to get organic ones. If you cannot use them up fast enough, plant them. Its the gift that keeps on giving. It really is a good money stretcher vegetable.
What do you think I will make for dinner tonight? Mashed potatoes of course! Yukon Gold is the best because you don't have to peel them. Just cut them up and boil them. Gotta love that.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Indoor allergies

According to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of American, 1 in 4 Americans have allergies. I have horrible allergies indoor and outdoors and all season long.  My eyes itch like crazy and I literally wish I could rub my nose off. At night I have a hard time breathing through my nose. During the summer my back neighbors have these tree's that have such a strong scent and massive pollen counts  that I cannot even open my windows for about a month. They are so bad that even my husband has issues with them and he doesn't even have allergies. Its a constant struggle all year long for me. Uggg

There are a few ways you can have some allergy relief.  Since mine are so bad, I only get a small amount of relief but hey, I will take any help I can get. Over the years I have found new ways to help with my allergies and hopefully you can get some use from my tips. And don't forget to leave a comment and add your own tips!

Improve indoor air quality
Tobacco and wood fires are huge triggers. Let friends and family know you have allergies and do not allow people to smoke in your home.  We have a strict no smoking rule in our home. During the winter we use our fireplace but I have to be careful how long i'm in the same room and keep my bedroom door shut or I will suffer all night long.  They also say that high levels of VOC (found in paint) can cause children to get asthma at a young age. So you might want to think about repainting rooms with no VOC paint especially if you have young children.  Cleaners are also loaded with VOC's. Might want to try cleaning with 50/50 vinegar and water and see if that helps you out.  Also children can help with cleaning because its non toxic.

Use dye free/fragrance free products
You have to be real careful with this one. Some products say they are dye free/fragrance free but are really not. Its better to just not buy any products unless you have to. Instead of using room spray use a spray bottle with water and a couple drops of your favorite essential oils. My favorite is lime/lavender.  Use your own homemade cleaners as stated above.  No plug in fresheners, no smelly perfumes, and lets just face it. No fragrance of any sort in any item in your home. This means also no carpet powder or febreeze type products Besides why do you want to mask anything? Just keep your home clean/body clean and you wont smell. Am I right?

Clean clean clean
Keeping your home clean will keep your allergies at bay. Dust often, pet hair/dander is everywhere so vacuum often, and don't let mold grow anywhere.  Keep your bathroom well ventilated to keep mold out.  Vacuum often and sweep every day.  A tidy home will help you breath more easily.

Out Optical Brighteners
Many laundry products contain ingredients called optical brighteners which are chemicals that reflect light in a way that tricks the eye to make fabrics seem brighter or whiter than they are. Sneaky companies!  To do this, optical brighteners are deposited on fabrics during the wash process. This can be problematic because optical brighteners can rub off on skin and react with sunlight to cause an allergic reaction which presents as a rash that is often mistaken for sunburn. Potential skin contact and allergic skin reactions caused by optical brighteners can be avoided by using laundry products that are optical brightener free.  Now days you can find these just about everywhere. Don't forget to research research research.

 Keep your windows closed in pollen season
Instead try keeping a fan in your room.  If you use your A/C unit, change the allergy filter often.  This has helped me out so much.  If you open your window, you invite all that pollen outside to come right in your home.

Avoid line drying outside
I have a hard time with this one. I refuse to not dry my stuff outside. My mother did it and I prefer the smell of my clothing naturally dried outside. Sorry but I cannot use my dryer unless its not possible for me to dry them outside.  I love the smell, the softness of my clothing and i'm loving the energy savings off my energy bill.  But if I did stop drying them outside, it would help my allergies a lot. Again I REFUSE! I have drying racks I can use in my garage for the winter months. There is always options.

So my question is what do you do about your allergies? Do you have allergies as bad as I do? How do you cope with indoor allergies?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Green Review Deodorant

As most of you know, I did a half marathon back in June. While training for the half marathon you can imagine how many times I went to the gym and worked up a sweat. I'm not a fan of sweating and usually try to avoid it. You see it makes me want to puke. I'm weird, what can I say? Over the last few months I have been looking for a good all natural deodorant to keep me from smelling. After 2 months of training I finally got over being scared to sweat. Suck it up sally! So I did.
I headed on over to my local Whole Foods store and looked for a economical and all natural choice of deodorant. I only ended up trying 3 products before finding my favorite. Luckily my kids get to use the ones that I was not able to use. And just maybe you can find my trial and error helpful to you.
First up is Nature's Gate Organics Fruit Blend Deodorant.  At $3.99 for 1.7 oz it was a good deal and smelt pretty good.  This particular scent is Asian Pear and Red Tea.  Stick is clear in color.

-No Propylene Glycol
-No Aluminum Chlorohydrate
-Baking soda to help with odors

My review:This stuff sucked when it came to actually preventing odors from an adult. Yes it was affordable and smelt good. But if you sweat at all or are active, this is not your deodorant. But I will say that its good for any child. My 9 yr old loves this stuff and luckily for me she has not developed her arm pit glands yet. If you have a child who has gone through that stage in life, you know what I mean. So good for kids but not adults.

Second up is The Crystal  body deodorant roll-on.  Again it cost around $3.99 for 2.25 oz so it won't break the bank. My thinking was that since the stick didn't work, maybe I will try a roll on. Crystal Body Deodorant is made of natural mineral salts which prevent body odor by creating an invisible protective barrier against odor-causing bacteria. Its non-sticky, non-staining, leaves no white residue and can be used by both men and women.  Safe for the environment and endorsed by Cancer Treatment Centers. Clear in color.

My review:I was happy to get a little more for my money this time. I will say that it did help with odors. I had no smell what so ever. skin didn't react very well with it. Apparently my arm pits do not like liquid deodorant.  I broke out in a rash anytime I had a hard work out. Could be from the friction or maybe from the salt?? This one went to my 12 yr old who plays soccer and has no reaction to liquid deodorant.  She likes it because it has no scent at all.

Last but not least I tried Hugo Naturals Dual-action formula. At $8.99 for 1.5 oz it wasn't very affordable.  I was desperate to find something that worked so I found my pal Beth at Whole Foods and asked her what her best selling deodorant was. Since she runs marathons and other races, she would know which is best. She recommended this brand because it was her top seller. So I bit the bullet and bought it. The scent I bought is Mexican Lime & Bergamot.

They formulated their deodorant with powerful anti-microbial ingredients that help stop odor causing bacteria, while leaving out propylene glycol, alcohol and aluminum.  Gentle yet effective, their rich deodorant contain rice powder to help absorb perspiration.  Non irritating. Non staining.  Crafted from cruelty-free ingredients. Always free of artificial fragrances, artificial colors, parabens, petroleum products and animal fats.  White in color.

My review: Whahooooo! I wanted to scream for joy the first time I tried this at the gym. It not only stopped smell but it helped stop my under arm sweat. I had no white residue at all and only had to apply it once that day.  I love love the scent of this stuff.  If you can believe this, it smells like Skittles. Weird huh? I will take Skittles any day over B O.  So from now on this is what I will be using. I will just have to budget in the $8.99 and accept it.

My apology to anyone near me before finding my deodorant. No humans were hurt in the making of this review.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Much needed "me" time part 2

Te he he. "The Magic is in the hole". Am I the only sick one here? I laughed my butt off when I read this and of course I had to take a picture. Many people have talked about how amazing Voo Doo Doughnut was. My opinion....Ehh its okay. Very over rated if you ask me. I do admit that they have strange things on top of their doughnuts but the fact is the doughnuts underneath all that stuff are just that. Doughnuts. Waiting in line for 20 minutes in a non air conditioned building was not the way I wanted to spend my Saturday morning. Although I did notice all the cool retro details in the building. Everything was original in their building and I loved it all except the dirty floor which i'm not sure they have swept in a few days. I had to stop looking because it was grossing me out. I kept thinking.."yummy doughnuts soon..."
Ha ha ha. Moving parts! Oh my goodness. Sitting in my car scarfing down my doughnuts I noticed these crazy signs on the side of this building. I have no idea what type of store it is  but the signs were cracking me up.
So on our drive to Alberta Street in Portland we were taking pictures of gardens/front yards so I can get idea's for my own home. I am amazed how many homes are so beautifully restored and modernized. I loved just about every single house I saw. I pulled over countless times to take a picture or two. One time I pulled over, took a picture and was talking to my best friend Dulbs about something when I noticed this dog strolling up the sidewalk. Do you notice anything? How about the fact that this dog has only 3 legs? This dog strolled down the sidewalk completely ignoring us and fixated on smelling every tree it could find. What a cool dog.

Yeah only in Portland would you find this. Not sure what was going on but I do know the little ones had confused looks on their faces. I was opposite. Go on with your bad self! Wish I had that sort of self esteem.
I was so happy to see this along Alberta Street.  Even with just a little bit of soil, you can make ugly spots pretty. What a beautiful sidewalk this is. I love when people take the time to make their property pretty even when you see they have very little soil/space. Very cool.
Now last but not least look what I found on my stroll to my car. Just imagine this weeded, watered and in full glory. What a cool idea this is. Why buy cookie cutter border wire when you can do this? And if you love bikes, bonus!   This is why I love Portland so much. Your always surprised and there is always something new to check out. Its amazing how many people do upcycling landscaping.

Now go check Surviving and thriving on pennies on Facebook. There are a few freebies, some good reads and a really cool blog I want to introduce you to.

Peace out.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Glass Dharma Straw Giveaway Winner!!

And the winner is.......

Blogger Theresa Turner said...

I love the dots. We use stainless steel straws but they get too cold. Glass would be nice. I'm trying to find a way around bags for dog waste. I use biodegradable ones but know that they take forever to break down. Tried the flushable but they are too stiff to pick after the dog. :)

Congrats Theresa!!! 
Email me at .  

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Much needed "me" time

Today I was lucky enough to get away without my children. The kids were off with daddy at my oldest daughter's soccer tournament and I was with my best friend doing our thing.  I really love this picture I took today. For one, its just me in the picture. That was not the reason I took it, it was for the cute little table you see. I want this table, seriously. When I came home and put my pictures on my laptop, the picture took a whole other direction. Rarely do I ever have a "good" picture. I'm one of those people who always have something wrong with their expressions. Usually it looks like i'm giving the stink eye. ??? What gives! Well as you see the camera is in front of my face and Wha la! Good picture!  I felt very independent today. I decided we would to go Alberta Street in Portland and I tried new things. I'm usually the go with the flow type of person.
Usually I do not buy anything for myself and usually wander towards the children items. Today I found this amazing natural stone sterling silver ring.  Its huge, bold and oh so pretty. Plus it was only $22~! Worth every penny. One not so good thing is the way my hand looks. As you can see, soccer tournaments every weekend this summer has really taken its toll on my skin. I'm crazy tan now (almost bacon-ish color). Yikes. I have that kind of olive skin that just tans so well and fast. I'm thinking its the Indian in my blood. Back to the point, I am in love with this ring. I love the color, love the simple shape, and love the giant statement it makes. Very cool.
We walked down Alberta Street in their sidewalk fair and walked past this side road. It seems like it goes on forever. I really wanted to walk down it.....its just so cool looking.
How cool is this? Imagine all the weeds pulled first of all. Come on people, pick your weeds! What a great way to reuse junk.  I love the bike parts.
We ended up stopping and getting some food at this lovely little place. Too bad I forgot the name of the place....oops. For $8.95 I got this plateful of food and a fresh made croissant with freezer jam. What a deal~!  This is mushroom risotto cakes with poached eggs on top, roasted butternut squash, and roasted potatoes. Seriously it was a very very very flavorful meal and I could only eat half of it.  I had a glass of tap water with no straw. They didn't even offer one which made me really happy. No plastic that I could see anywhere. Loved it. All that was missing was fabric napkins.
When we were walking to my car I saw this little tree and a tiny note. Note says to leave a little treasure for the fairy's. There were lots of little trinkets all over under the tree. For once I had nothing at all kid related so I took a picture instead. Very cute.
Then just before my car I looked to the left of me at some property that was about 5 ft high. There were these two little hens motionless and watching me. This makes me want to have chickens all that much more. Still working on the husband letting me get these. They are so beautiful. Jealous.
I had so much fun today. I was able to shop and think about what I was looking at. No kids trying to touch things that will break. No million questions about everything. No yelling "Quit touching your sister, quit looking at your sister, quit hitting each other, no were not getting that, no dear. Ahhhh it was just silence. I was able to enjoy my coffee. I was able to walk anywhere I wanted, no need to avoid things. I was actually able to think clearly. I even was able to stop by Whole Foods on my way home and shop a little. Finally found a deodorant that would work for me, all natural hair gel that smelled good, and even picked up some foot lotion. No words were said. Just me and my lonesome. I went home, cleaned my kitchen, and watered the garden in silence. No music or tv either. It was nice. Really really nice. And the best part was when my husband came home with the kids. I wanted to hug them and tell them how much I loved them. I was happy to see them. It felt like the really nice mama came home. I really need to get away more often without the kids. Once a month would be just fine with me. You hear that hubby? Just checking. 

Don't get me wrong. I love my kids so much. But sometimes its just nice to get away from them and have some "me" time. My "me" time is not the norm. No pampering for me, no nails done, blah blah blah. My best friend  and I have so many things in common. Driving around looking at old houses and property is one of them. Walking around in small shops and markets is another. Trying new food and looking at one of a kind items is our favorite thing. Today we did every single one of those things. I have many many more pictures that I want to share with you. Lots of front yards, drive ways, and front steps. Ahh it was a good day. Thank you Dulbs. You really made my day. I'm so glad we met and became best friends. You truly are my bestie. I love you.

What about all of you, what do you do to have "me" time?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Once your aware, its just plain scary.

When I first started to reduce my plastic habit, I was thinking that I could just get rid of my Tupperware, maybe some reusable plastic Glad containers and a few other things. That would get all the plastic out of my house right? Um It was like chores around your house. Once you start cleaning you stumble upon another mess, clean that mess up and find more mess. On and on and on. Its a never ending cycle. Well that's basically the same thing with plastic. 

I donated all my Tupperware (sniff sniff) with the exception of my smaller ones because I use them to freeze food in. I really do not have the cash to replace all those with glass. will be done. Well then I decided to try out no plastic in our personal things. No hair sprays, no gels, no hair product of any kind if possible. This has given me so much storage back. It looked like we were stocking up for a war or something. I had way too much crap under our cabinets and pretty much wasted our money buying them. Ugg!  But now its just shampoo/conditioner, bar's of soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes. 

Then it was onto all my samples/freebies. Did I sign up for everything? You would think so by looking into my closet. Everything not natural is OUT! Everything was given to friends/family or donated to a local shelter.  From now on I think before I sign up for any samples.  Is this natural? What kind of packaging will this be in? Can I really use this? If you answer anything no then I do not sign up for it. 

Same goes for when i'm shopping. I look for glass bottles, all natural and organic, and if its made locally.  Because I do not buy all that plastic crap anymore (saving me money) I can pick and choose what I want to spend a little extra on.  For example:I donated all my favorite VS lotions, body spray, and perfumes (sniff sniff). I bought a all natural unscented lotion from Whole Foods and use that instead. I then searched, asked around and researched a good brand of lotion that I liked and bought it. Before I never would of spent $9 on a bottle of lotion. I could make 2 meals for the family with that money!  Well since I save so much money now avoiding plastic, I can splurge $9 on a good healthy type of lotion. I use it  when its a special occasion since I do not have a perfume anymore. That will be my next splurge. 

The problem I am having now is shopping. Trying to get my girls school supplies and such is getting to be scary for me. Everywhere you look there's plastic. No numbers to look to see if its recyclable, barely any recycled products to buy, and barely any Eco friendly choices. I'm on the hunt for a fabric pencil pouch. One would of thought this would be easy but nooooooo. Cannot find anything!  Were about to make our own because its an exhausting search.  Next time your in the store just stop. Stop and look around. About 80% of everything in the store is made of some form of plastic. From clothing, to shoes, to even dishes. Makes me sick to my stomach. Seriously. 

So I avoid going to the stores. I'm turning into a granola hermit. I get groceries about once a month except for if I need milk. I really do not like shopping anymore. Plastic is sucking the life out of me. It makes me sad, scared and sick. Sad to know animals are dying because of our plastic habits getting into their habitats. Scared because I know all i'm gonna find is plastic everything. Sick because of all the health concerns of plastic. I am really scared for our children. They will be the ones who have to deal with our past problems. Its not fair. They should be learning new things, exploring new things and living a wonderful life. But lately all it seems is that they will have to fight global warming and deal with issues later from oil spills. I'm feeling very scared for my children.

Nuff said

What about all of you? 
How are you handling all the plastic in your life?

Glass Dharma Straw giveaway...........again

Remember the giveaway I did a week ago? Well its been over a week with no email so once again i'm doing the giveaway.   So once again is giving away a $25 gift certificate to one of my lucky fan's. This would be enough for you to get the straw of your choice and shipping cost.  Sweet deal! Winner will be chosen at random at

How to enter
Read my green review of this company. Then head on over to their website and check out their amazing products. Last but not least leave a comment and tell me one thing you cannot get around not having disposables or plastics.  My personal issue is my allergies. Ive tried the bee pollen, the local honey, etc. Nothing has worked. I have been using Costco brand Zyrtec. I really am not happy about it but its the only way I can function. My medicine comes in a plastic bottle. I wish I could get around that ugly fact but until will have to work.

Now I am not going to require you to share this on your blog, with your friends, etc. If you want to become my friend on Facebook, or Twitter that would be awesome! This is not a popularity contest and I do this for the love of being green and I just love helping people save money. One entry per person and duplicates will be deleted. Lets make this a fair giveaway. You do not have to be a fan of mine to enter but it would be really cool of you. And only cool friends give you things....just sayin

And tell your friends or family about the contest. This is a pretty high value certificate so share the good news.

Contest End
Sunday Aug 22, 2010 midnight. 


Monday, August 16, 2010

Top ways I save money

Over the years I have learned more and more about how to make things myself, how to conserve, and how to make things stretch. All these things can save you a ton of money.  When I first quit my job to stay at home full time, it was like being on vacation. I was able to sleep in, sit on my butt, and do anything I wanted. Well a week later reality hit me and I started to worry about my role in the home. Maybe it's just me but I just cannot sit around doing nothing all day. How would I surprise my husband with birthday gifts, or holiday gifts? Making no money meant no way to pay for things. Doing small things that add up is how I am able to pay for things when I need to.
My husband gets salary which means he only gets paid once a month. This was very hard for us in the beginning but now we have learned how to manage our money better. I get a $600 each month to take care of all groceries, household goods, clothing, and gifts. Did I mention for a family of 6? In order for me to get everything we need and save some cash for anything extra, I have to make our dollars stretch and save where I can. Here are my top ways that I save money.

1.  Garden-I buy my organic seeds in the after season sales. Only way I can afford to do this. I keep them in my freezer until after the last frost.  I have a 3 bin compost system which gives me amazing soil. Saves me money too. All produce is eaten, frozen, or canned. I use the frozen stuff all year long.  I use my mason jars over and over, even the lids and seals. Because I freeze my food I can use the seals over and over again.  We also u-pick during each season. My kids love to pick their own produce and we make a whole day of it.  You save a ton of money by picking produce yourself.

2.  Line dry my clothing. Anytime its not raining or snowing, my clothes are out on the line. Everything is washed (in our HE washer) and put outside to dry. I mean everything.  And no my clothes are not cardboard. We use no softener so there is no chemical build up to make my clothes hard or scratchy. Softener is the reason why people's clothes are hard when line dried. One or two washes without the softener and all chemical build up will be gone. This tip alone saves me a bundle each month. Again I do 6 peoples laundry so you can imagine how much I actually do.  No need to use bleach because the sun will bleach my whites just fine. Again saving me some money.

3.  Buy whats in season. Anything I need to buy that I cannot grow myself is bought at Marks NW Fresh Produce. Anything that is cheap and in season is used.  If apples are in season, apples is our fruit. If green beans are cheap, we eat those. My rule of thumb is I will only pay $1 or less per pound for anything.  Plus my kids look forward to eating things in certain seasons. Right now they cannot wait for Fall so they can eat pumpkin everything. Plus were growing our own pumpkins this year.

4. I make my own liquid laundry soap. This too has saved us a ton of money.  I control what my soap smells like and can change it each time I make a new batch. Using oatmeal soap helps my clothes stay soft as well.  About once every 3 months I make a batch. I'm A okay with only spending a penny per load on soap.

5.  Salvage wood-During the winter we use our fireplace often. This cuts down on our energy bill and our natural gas bill.  We order our fire wood during the summer which saves you a lot of money. This way it can dry out and will be ready for the winter. Anytime we can get free wood, we will do that as well. All untreated wood from our fence is being cut down for firewood. Luckily our neighbors replaced their fence along our property and gave us their wood as well.  Plus yesterday when we were picking blackberries I found 3 large chunks of wood. Those were brought  home as well. This all add's up to lots of money being saved.

6.  Nothing new. What I mean by this is that we do not buy anything new unless we have to. All clothes are either given to us by friends/family or bought used from thrift stores or Goodwill which sells their stuff by the pound.  This rule applies to just about everything. Everything my oldest daughter grows out of is handed down to my middle daughter. She then gives her outgrown stuff to the twins. I hand down all the twins stuff to a friend of ours.  My girls take really good care of their stuff and rarely every wear anything out which means I do not have to replace them. Undies and bra's are our only exception.  School time comes around and same rules apply. My girls love garage sales and save their favorites for school time. Backpacks are reused if in good condition, same goes for lunch bags.  Almost everything in our home is bought second hand or given to us. Fridge from craigslist, same goes for our dining table. Chairs we refurbished. Cars bought used, etc. You get the idea. Remember its a form of recycling too.

7.  Make everything from scratch. From our bread, to our jelly, to our muffins. Its all made from scratch. No boxed dinners, canned food, or unhealthy snacks. Less the packaging, the less your bill.  All noodles, rice, beans and baking goods are bought in bulk.  No spice packets, gravy packages, or taco seasons.  Yes you read it correct, I do it all.  I control how much sodium and sugar we take in.  Don't forget all the preservatives were not eating too.  This has saved us a ton of money each month.  I get my recipes from these resources.

8.  No cable. Nothing. Yes you can survive without it.  Regular Tv has many more channels now and including a 24 hour cartoon channel. We do not miss cable and I love keeping that extra $50 a month in our pockets.

9.  Storing food.  If its not canned or froze then its dehydrated. Cherries from my neighbor were dehydrated for later use in muffins, mint and lemon balm from the garden were dehydrated for tea, and soon apple slices will be dehydrated for snacks all fall.  No food goes to waste here.

10.  Conserve water usage and energy.  We water our yard once a week for 5 minutes to keep the grass okay for the kids to play on.  No lights are turned on during the day. All drapes are opened and windows open as well to keep the house cool. A/C is only turned on if needed. I would keep it off but the hubby likes it on. uurrrr. If its super hot we shut all windows and drapes to keep the sun out.  Then once it gets dark and cooler out all windows are opened to air the house out.  Any extra water not used from cups or what not, are put on our plants.  Bathing is every other day or longer. Since we have so many people in our home, this is a big money saver.  Saves on water and natural gas.  We are not dirty people and really can go a week if we wanted (but we don't ). No need to wash hair every time because we use all natural soap and have no oil build up.  Also during the winter we close all our doors and use our fireplace. I change their cotton sheets to flannel cotton sheets and quilts so they are snug as a bug at night.  Of course lots of homemade hot cocoa or hot tea before bedtime.

11. DO NOT BUY LIST. I have several things that I just plain stopped buying.  Cling wrap, plastic zip type bags, laundry softener, garbage bags, paper napkins, paper plates, plastic silverware, junk food, soda, and  cleaners. I either make it, fix it, or do without. There are all natural wax papers and bags, laundry balls, take my garbage out to the can, use fabric napkins, use our own glass plates, bought bamboo utensils, make our snack food, drink water and make my own cleaners.  Why spend your money on things when you can do without them or buy reusable items? Seems silly to me.

What about you?
What are your top ways to save money?
How much money do you save doing this?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Beautiful lazy day

Long long weekend full of lots of soccer games. My girls teams didn't make the finals so today we get to relax. Things I wanted to do did not get done. Maybe this is the reason?

Its just too hot and beautiful out to do much of anything. Don't look at my flip flop tan. I said don't look! You looked huh?  I did do some of this so i'm not that lazy. I will be doing this as long as I can today. Maybe get all the laundry done? Unheard of!
I have 4 lines on the right hand side of my house. The wind comes through here nicely and i'm able to get a ton of laundry done when its nice out.  Each line is easily removed and wrapped up for when not in use. Please do not look at my horrible ugly grass. Or the wood pile that we need to cut up and put in that wood shed you see there. My neighbors just replaced that fence you see and gave us all the wood to use as kindling. FREE WOOD! Just had to remove all the nails and cut them down. My husband is working on replacing our back fence and we will use all that wood as well for winter wood. Free too!
My husband is pretty handy I must say. He built that retaining wall a few months ago to keep the neighbors property in their property. French drain inside to fix the water problem and now he is building the new fence. As you can tell, our neighbors (very nice I might add) can see into all our property and we feel like we have no privacy. 8ft fence should fix that problem.  New area for me to plant in too!  Hopefully one day our back yard will look really nice. I have a beautiful backyard in my mind full of edible plants. I dream about it all the time. Anyways i'm back up and blogging starting tomorrow. Time for this lazy mama to get her butt in gear!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

And the winner is......

Tree Huggin Momma said...
I like the decorative dots, but would probably get a set of standards.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bringing home the gold with no waste

Hello everyone! I had another long weekend which meant that I was not able to blog at all. The hubby was away on a motorcycle trip with his friends so I had the kids to myself. My daughter Hailey had a soccer tournament up in Vancouver Washington.  I was excited for her and her team but not excited about all the work I would have to do. 2 games on Friday, 2 games on Saturday and one game on Sunday.  Because it was an hour away from home, we had to stay at the soccer field until the 2nd game each day. Parking lot was crazy and there was no way I was even going to leave. So each day this is what we packed.

Bread was cooked the night before and peanut butter & homemade jelly sandwiches were made.
Lots and lots of water reusable water bottles.
Fruit from Marks NW Produce stand. Peaches, grapes, and banana's because they are in season and under $1 per pound.
Home air popped popcorn.
Homemade pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. Cooked Pumpkin puree was used from last year.

My oldest had a bag with all her favorites in it. A book and her soccer ball.
The twins also had their own bag full of random toys and card games. They too had their own soccer balls.

In the back of my van we contain the following. Its always in my van because we just never know when were going to need it.

Sport Brella. We would sizzle in the sun if we did not have one of these. Best investment ever! Super easy to put up and large enough to shade all 6 of us. 

1 old Red Flyer Wagon. My neighbor gave this wagon to us last year. We pack all our gear into this and pull it to each field.

4 camping chairs for us parents and the older 2 kids. 

2 quilts I picked up at Goodwill. We lay these down and put the Brella over it. 

1 small cooler to hold all our reusable water bottles and fruit. Fits nicely into the front of our wagon. 

Lots of sunscreen.

So as you can see, my daughters team SILVER won the tournament and brought home the gold! My daughter is the little one bottom right next to the sign.  She plays keeper if you can believe it. Her U-9 team worked their little butt's off! Way to go team! And I made it out alive so it was a good weekend. Hailey was excited to win gold for her daddy because it was his birthday. What a great birthday gift it was. 

I want to point out that I did end up spending a little bit of money. I didn't want to but ended up caving in. Friday we had to wait several hours till the next game and my girls went through all their food. Don't they know I had a plan for everything? There went that plan out the window. I ended up with a hot dog and the girls wanted shaved ice. I warned them that they were going to get stomach aches because they do not eat that sort of stuff usually. Lets just say they didn't finish them and mom was right. I on the other hand enjoyed my hot dog.  Not sure if it was because I was starving or not but that dog was so yummy!

To my surprise they had garbage can's and recycling cans everywhere so we were able to put those plastic shaved ice containers in recycling. I would not of bought them if I had not seen those.  My hot dog came in aluminum foil which also was put into recycling. We used all our reusables and had no waste what so ever.  It was a good weekend all around.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Green Review Giovanni Hydrate Lotion

Giovanni Cosmetics has some expensive products and Ive been wanting to try them for a long time but it was never in my budget. One cool thing about Whole Foods is that they always have samples to keep my kids busy and samples for adults to try as well. I was excited to find a sample of Giovanni Cucumber Song Body Wash just sitting there waiting for me to take home. Yippee! Although I am not a body wash type of person I had to try it out. So I picked it up and took it home. Hey guess what? Yep its soap. I had rid my home of all toxic products including lotions, perfumes, etc. The only lotion I use (and love) is Whole Foods 365 every day value unscented lotion. It has no smell but feels so good on my skin. I've been on the hunt for one good lotion that can make me feel good and smell good. I stopped back in at my nearest Whole Foods and looked for some Giovanni lotion but found only body butter which is too thick for me. So I asked the "whole body" area worker if they sold the lotion or knew who did. The nice lady took my information and said she would try to find it. Guess what? Within 1 week I get a phone call saying we have your lotion come and get it. Yipeee! With lotion in hand I came home, pulled the trusty laptop out and did some research.

This company was started by Arthur Giovanni who at the time was a hair dresser. Moved his way up to a lead hair stylist and onto a Beverly Hills Salon owner.  Giovanni Cosmetics uses formulas that incorporate vitamins, herbs, minerals, proteins, nutrients and the purest of essential oils. The patented Giovanni PureOrganic Technology™ represents an exquisite blend of exotic organic oils, ripe-harvested from renewable plants at the peak of their freshness. The oils are cold pressed and refrigerated immediately to ensure maximum purity. The result is a change for anyone who chooses to indulge in it.

Certified by Quality Assurance International
No animal testing
Ingredients 100% vegetarian
Top notch products from Four Elements hair care, Four Dreams Body Care, Detox System Purifying Body Care, ColorFlage hair care, and Magnetic Hair Care. They have you covered no matter what your looking for.

My Green Review
I am so in love with this lotion. I was a little thrown by the $9 price tag but wanted to splurge on something for myself. The bottle is a bit small (8.5 fl oz) but a little really does go a long way. I use it about once a day to hydrate my hands and elbows but could easily mix a dab of it with my 365 every day value lotion and it could go a long way. I cannot tell which number this plastic bottle is but i'm sure I could recycle it.  I could find some "okay" lotion in the bulk section and use my own container but I really didn't find anything to my likings. I think I will stick with this one. I am impressed by its ability to hydrate my hands with no greasy left overs on my hands. Like I said, a little goes a long way so i'm sure it will last a long time. It's going to have to considering its $9 per bottle. Yikes! But I'm worth it right?

Don't forget the moral of this story. If you don't see what you want, ask for it. I would of never been able to buy this if I had not asked about their lotions and how I could find them. This is one reason why I shop at Whole Foods. They have everything I need and will get it for me with no hassles. Love them!

I am in no way paid for this review. I am reviewing this product on my own time and have not contacted this company what so ever.

Maybe you wanna try it?

Lavender type?
Or maybe Raspberry?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Garden Times

So its been about a month since Ive updated Garden Times. If you remember right, it was not looking like what I wanted it to look like. With all our Oregon rain and cold days, my seeds rotted away and the slugs were infesting my beautiful plants.  Well I decided to throw a party and get some beer for the slugs and guess what? It worked! My plants are starting to flourish!  I saved my lovely beans and now i'm a happy camper.
Just look at them! To the left is my last 2 lettuce plants that need to be picked and eaten. In the middle are some very small lettuce starts that my neighbor Christy gave me yesterday. Thanks Christy! Ive also added some small flowers that I bought on clearance and some "finger" potato starts that have not come up yet. Ive been running out of room and started putting things anywhere I can.
Can you guess what these are? Rhubarb starts! Thanks Christy! I am so excited to have my own rhubarb plants. Next year I can see lots of rhubarb jelly, bars, and even more syrup. Ive had to ask my friend Kim for rhubarb because i'm too cheap to go buy the stuff. Rhubarb can cost you anywhere from $2.99-$5.99 a pound depending on where you find it. Crazy.

Anyone know what flower this is? Its finally starting to climb my arbor which is above my garden gate. I'm pretty sure its not clematis because I do not like them. Spiders love them and I don't do spiders. And yes I am one of those people who you hear screech at the top of their lungs and want to crawl out of their own skin. My anxiety is kicking in just talking about it. Whatever it is its beautiful. Just look at the amazing color on these. Nature is so beautiful.
This is the first year I have bought annuals. I know, i'm selfish. I see no point in them since they die eventually and need to be replaced. Honestly after my garden turned for the worst I just decided something is better than nothing. I'm glad I did this because now I am loving flowers in my garden. This yellow flower in particular smells like cotton candy. I love the bright colors and have planted some potato in between these flowers.  These flowers main purpose is to keep the area pretty until my taters decide to come up.
I have taken out chemical filled flower beds and turned the area into a beautiful pumpkin patch. How cool is this! I have 6 rows of pumpkins and all but 2 that I planted have grew. I know I can pinch flowers and let the pumpkins who have started growing get bigger but i'm not. The more the pumpkins the better! What my kids do not use this year will be cooked, pureed and froze for later use. Those ugly green plants in the background will be dug up and throw out. I have no idea what they are because they will not flower. I think these are shade plants and the previous owner put them in the wrong spot. Another reason I dislike them is that they double in space each year. So they gotta go!
This pumpkin is my favorite. Its a Cinderella pumpkin. Remember in Disney's Cinderella the pumpkin that the fairy god mother turned into a coach? This pumpkin should look just like that. A very wide beautiful pumpkin. Even if my pumpkins decide to keel over, I would be happy if just this one would survive.
So as you can see my garden is turning out to be okay this year. Not the most productive year but hey at least something is growing. Not pictured is my two carrots and my 2 onion plants that survived.  I wish I had zucchini or yellow squash because I love them so but no. But I do have some new types of tomato to keep me busy.
What about you? How did your garden do? Did you plant stuff that didn't come up? What are your thoughts on flowers in the garden? Is your green thumb a slight shade of brown like mine this year?