31
Aug

White Vinegar For Household Cleaning

by Tiffany in A Green Home

 If you are looking for a safe, non-toxic cleaner and overall household helper, white vinegar is a near perfect solution. This humble substance can be used in a variety of ways to clean and disinfect your home. I love to fill my sink with hot water, pour in some vinegar and a cloth rag, and give the house a through cleaning. I love the smell and wish it would last longer… it just smells so clean without the smell of noxious chemicals. Here are some ideas for how to use vinegar in your cleaning.

1. Deodorizer

Vinegar can help remove odors from clothes and drains. For drains, pour about 1 cupful of baking soda into the smelly drain. Then pour in about 2 cups of vinegar and leave overnight. In the morning, flush with hot water.

For removing odors from clothes, add 1/4 cup of white vinegar and 1/4 cup of baking soda to your laundry. You can add this at the beginning of the wash cycle or during the rinse cycle. This mixture has a fabric-softening effect as well. I also used to add a 1/4 cup to my cloth diaper laundry to remove any lingering smell. Worked like a charm.

2. Drain Clog Remover

In addition to eliminating drain odors, vinegar can help unclog drains. Follow the steps in #1 above. The foaming action dislodges many clogs.

3. Toilet Cleaner

To clean and disinfect your toilet bowl, sprinkle in about a cup of baking soda. Then pour in 2-3 cups of white vinegar. You will find your kids more willing to help you clean if it involves a fizzy toilet! Seriously, they will ask if they can clean the toilet. When the fizzing dies down, use your toilet brush to clean as usual. The vinegar inhibits the growth of mold and mildew as well as killing germs.

4. All-Purpose Spray Cleaner

You don’t need to buy chemical spray cleaners. Just mix 1/2 cup of white vinegar with 3 cups of water, 10 drops of tea tree oil, a teaspoon of liquid soap, and 15 drops of your favorite essential oil in a 1-quart spray bottle. Use this disinfectant spray on countertops, sinks, floors, and any surface that needs cleaning.

5. Mold Eradicator

Vinegar is effective against mold. Spray your shower with white vinegar and allow it to soak for about 20 minutes. Then scrub and rinse. Add some tea tree oil to the vinegar for even better effectiveness. Spray your shower after each use to prevent mold from forming again.

For a moldy shower curtain, add a quart of vinegar to the washing machine when you wash the curtain.

6. Weed Killer

Pour or spray white vinegar directly onto weeds. Thoroughly wet the leaves and let the vinegar soak into the ground.

7. Window Cleaner

Mix 1 teaspoon of vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon liquid soap per cup of water. Spray onto windows and wipe thoroughly, or dip a cloth into a bucket of this solution and wipe. Use a squeegee to scrape off the cleaner.

Many great uses and we’ve only scratched the surface! For more check out Vinegar: Over 400 Various, Versatile, and Very Good Uses You’ve Probably Never Thought Of.

28
Aug

Glass Water Bottles

by Tiffany in A Green Home

I have known for awhile that glass water bottles were out there but up until I got a Lifefactory Glass Bottle recently, I had never tried one. I love that plastic is now becoming taboo and that stainless and glass are the hot new items. I breastfed my babes so I never got to try the newer glass baby bottles but I guess having a grown up glass bottle kind of makes up for that. ;) Just like the baby bottles, these reusable glass water bottles are made of heavy duty glass that will not break easily and they have a silicone sleeve to offer even more protection.

So how does it kick plastic bottle booty? Well it is BPA , phthalate, PVC, and polycarbonate free of course but the glass is also sustainable and recyclable. The silicone sleeve is free of plastics and 100% non-toxic. The cap is the only plastic part, which is okay by me. It is really sturdy and makes carrying the bottle very easy when you are hiking and walking… which is where this bottle will be going more often than not.

Book: The Cheapskate Next Door

Is it better than metal? Well I don’t know about that. I would say it is an even match. With so many of the metal water bottles an epoxy liner is used on the inside. Some manufacturers swear it is free of harmful chemicals and others don’t say either way. There is the possibility for leaching and we don’t have to worry about that with glass. Metal often has a plastic cap too. Both can be equally attractive and functional. So I guess it is a wash.

I love the design of this bottle, the carrying handle on the cap, and the wide mouth. You can also put hot or cold beverages in this so it would be good for your cold water or your hot tea. That may make glass slightly more practical in winter. It is that issue in fact that has made me prefer plastic over steel for winter and winter camping. When you have to sleep with your bottle to keep it from freezing you don’t want to be hugging on a metal bottle. ;) And I do the winter hiking series put on by the Columbus Metro Parks each winter too. This glass bottle would be good for my winter hikes… which I am REALLY looking forward to.

These bottles are available at Amazon.

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

8 Comments on Glass Water Bottles

27
Aug

SHOPPING CART BASKETS

by Tiffany in A Green Home

Cool product alert!!  I am super excited to have found these in my Internet browsing this morning. While I do have more than enough reusable bags there are just times when I forget them. Yes, I put them in the car, I often carry a pocket size bag in my purse even but once I use that and carry it in the house, I am so bad about remembering to put them back. I have ended up getting paper bags more often than I would like to admit.

These shopping cart baskets may be just what I need. They are supposed to be big in Europe and Reusit is the first US company offering them here. You stick them inside the shopping cart and fill them with groceries. Then you take them out to put on the store conveyor belt for purchase and just ask the bagging clerk to forgo bagging and fill the baskets again. How easy is that???

No more eye rolling and sighs from store clerks who don’t want to fill your reusable bags, heck they don’t have to bag at all so their job just got a lot easier. And in seconds you can have everything loaded into the car to take home. I would guess that these would be heavy though so my plan would be to transfer groceries from the baskets to large reusable bags when I get home. This way it wouldn’t mater if I forgot my bags and the baskets would just always be in the trunk where they belong. OR I could have the husband do the heavy lifting… that works too. ;)

Anyway, I thought these could be really useful and I love that in a day and age when everyone is jumping on the green bandwagon and half the stuff I see out there is only mildly helpful, if at all.  I could definitely use these.

Friday, August 27th, 2010

18 Comments on SHOPPING CART BASKETS

23
Aug

Inventive Ways To Add More Vegetables To Your Diet

by Tiffany in Healthy Eating

Have you ever looked at the traditional food pyramid and thought, “Ugh, there’s no way I can eat that many fruits and veggies?” If you have, you are probably not alone. I aim for 10 servings of fruits and veggies per day and usually it isn’t that hard… you just need to get a bit creative.  Instead of deciding that you need to eat steamed brussel sprouts with every meal you need to find ways to incorporate these foods that are so easy you barely think about it. Its not so impossible when you are really enjoying your food and barely notice that GASP.. you are eating VEGGIES! Here are seven ways to add vegetables into your diet. Some might be obvious and some you might not have tried.

#1 Add them to your eggs. Oh yes… the veggie omelet! Spinach, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, peppers, even asparagus and a whole number of vegetables taste absolutely fantastic with eggs. Scramble them up for a healthy breakfast or serve them in an omelet. You can get up to two servings of vegetables taken care of right off the bat. Plus, if you are eating away from home there are many restaurants that make delicious veggie omelets.

#2 Add them to your sandwich. Add tomato to tuna or egg sandwiches. Add guacamole to your turkey sandwich instead of mayo and you have a serving of vegetables. Add a slice of lettuce and a tomato to sandwiches and burgers or try a veggie sub. These are one of my faves… a sub with spinach, butter lettuce, cucumbers, tomato, onion, mushrooms, cheese, and oil & vinegar. Yum!

#3 Grab a veggie drink. Green Smoothies are so tasty and you don’t even notice the veggies. I get at least 2 servings of dark leafy greens every time I drink one.

#4 Precut veggies and make them easy to snack on. Carrots, celery, peppers, broccoli and a number of other vegetables are easy to prepare in advance. Grab your favorite dip or hummus and snack on vegetables when you’re at work or just sitting in front of the television. Put em on the table front and center and kids will grab them when they walk by too.

#5 Eat a salad a day. It’s easy to make sure you eat a salad at lunch or dinner and one salad can provide two servings of vegetables. If you add a bit of protein to the salad like chicken, tofu, beans, nuts, turkey or eggs then you have a complete meal. You can even get really inventive with your salads.. Italian Bean and Tomato Salad or Berried Avocado Grapefruit Salad. Try 365 Salad Recipes for ideas.

#6 Puree vegetables and add them to sauces and baked goods. You’d be surprised what you can do with a pureed vegetable. The Sneaky Chef addresses this. Pureed cauliflower can be added to mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese and you can puree squash and add it to a number of soups and sauces.

#7 Eat vegetable soups and use veggie based sauces. Vegetable soups are very satisfying and they can provide you with a serving or more of vegetables. When I make sweet and sour soup for instance, I usually add tons of snow peas and mushrooms. For even more nutrition make sure the soup is made with a vegetable broth instead of beef or chicken. You can even make your own vegetable broth with veggies that are looking sad. Sauces can be made from squash, tomatoes and herbs like basil for a tasty pasta topping.

When you take a look at all the tips and tricks you have available, eating five or more servings of vegetables each day isn’t that tough. Make it easier on yourself and make eating vegetables convenient and easy. Think ahead, make sure you and your family have plenty of easy to access vegetable options, including frozen vegetables, and have fun with it. Vegetables can and do taste good and they’re good for you.

23
Aug

Warmables – Keeping Lunch Warm

by Tiffany in Children

Another day, another lunch box to review. This is a Warmables set and the general idea behind it is too allow you to pack warm lunches, perhaps even dinner leftovers, so that you can pack healthier lunches overall. The set comes with a BPA Free plastic container and lid, a cloth bag of cherry pits that retain heat, and the blue insulator pouch that keeps the heat inside the bag with the food.

While I can’t say that this is my favorite lunch set-up I can see reaching for it when I want to pack something that will stay pretty warm.. like the Hot and Sour soup in the photo. Japanese wheat noodles, mushrooms, scallions, and peppers… just wouldn’t taste good cold. Having a soup thermos would work but frankly would not get used much and the cherry pits really seem to work better at keeping stuff warm. LOVE the cherry pits bag idea.

I would like this set even more if it had a more aesthetically pleasing design and the food container was not plastic. Not sure metal would work but the food container looks like something you could get at Wal-Mart for $1. The container and insulator pouch are also pretty small and you would need a separate and larger bag if you have other food to pack. You pay as much for this set as you would a Laptop Lunchbox and you get a lot less IMO.

While I like the idea, I think this particular product will not get much use by us. We will likely donate the container and bag to someone who will get more use out of them. The cherry pits I like though and will use those in future lunches or even my coat pocket during winter. ;) If you struggle with packing warm lunches then this set may be helpful to you.