31
Oct

Growing Herbs Indoors For Winter

by Tiffany in Gardening

If you are a person who loves to cook then you know how the use the right herbs can enhance the flavor of any dish. Potato leek soup with dill or homemade pizza with fresh basil come to my mind! It can get quite expensive to purchase fresh herbs from the local grocery store though. This really isn’t a problem for those who live in a warm climate as you can grow your own outdoor herb garden. But for those of you who live in areas that have cold harsh winters your herb growing may be limited to only a few months out of the year unless you learn how to grow those herbs indoors for the winter months.

Growing herbs indoors in winter is not as difficult as it may seem. Though not all herbs grow well indoors, herbs like geranium, basil, mint, rosemary, parsley, bay leaf, thyme, chives, garlic and oregano are easy to grow indoors. Not only will growing herbs indoors allow you to enjoy fresh herbs all year round but, these herbs will also make your home smell nice as well.

What You Need To Go Herbs Indoors

There are of course a few things you need to grow your indoor herbs. Here is a list of most of the necessary items.

• Containers with good drainage (see if you can recycle some from your outdoor garden)
• Herb seeds or seedlings (seedlings give those new to growing herbs a better chance of success)
• At least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day. A south facing window will provide the best sunlight. You can also use florescent lighting but, if you do so then the plants will need about 12 hours of this kind of light each day.
• Daytime temperatures of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit
• Night time temperatures no lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit
• Humidity. You can mist your plants to give them the humidity they need or keep a humidifier in the area where you are growing your herbs.

Herbs also need to be harvested in order to keep them from getting to bushy or outgrowing the container but, this should not be much of a problem as the whole idea of growing herbs indoors is to allow you to have fresh herbs all year round. You can use them for your meals of course and for natural remedies as well. If you won’t be able to use them in a timely fashion, learn how to dry your own herbs.

While growing herbs indoors is not difficult they do require care and attention just like any other indoor plant. But, the time that you spend will be well worth it when you see your family enjoy the food you prepare by using these fresh herbs.

Also, many children like growing indoor plants and this may be a project you and your children can do together. They will enjoy watching these plants grow and you will all take pride in producing “food” for your family. Many people begin their indoor herb growing with just three or four common herbs and find the experience so pleasant that they eventually have a semi large indoor herb garden. Whether you choose to grow just a few herbs indoors of a wide selection of herbs you will enjoy the experience of having fresh herbs that you grew yourself available to you all year round.

Growing Herbs Indoors For Winter

27
Oct

Money Secrets of the Amish

by Tiffany in Book Reviews

money-secrets-of-the-amishAt the library recently I picked up Money Secrets of the Amish: Finding True Abundance in Simplicity, Sharing, and Saving. It sounded like a perfect fit for me. I am fascinated by the Amish, who live very near to me, and I am a big fan of simple living. I have also recently delved into the world of scrimping and saving, something totally new to me actually.

We have lived comfortably for years and without a budget of any kind, but we have also lived pretty much paycheck to paycheck. We have been one disaster away from real financial trouble for years because we could not manage to save. Didn’t even have a savings account until September of this year… pathetic I know. Anyway, a book changed all that about 2 months ago but I was still looking for ways to save money so that my burgeoning savings account and IRA could be beefed up even more. Once I got started saving it became like a game of sorts and I liked the challenge of finding ways to continually add more and more money to my these accounts.

In order to save more money I have been reading up a storm about great savers and the Amish definitely qualify! I have been in several Amish homes and it is absolutely amazing how they survive and thrive on so little. Money Secrets was written by a journalist after she read an article about how the simple people were actually thriving after the recession of 2008. She was so keen to find out how they do it that she decided to spend some time in their neck of the woods and interview many Amish families. What also makes it interesting is that she was experiencing lots of money hardships at the time and was looking to put what she learned into immediate practice. Learning their tricks was needed for its practical application.

It was an interesting look into the daily lives and habits of these people and also an interesting look into how the author applied everything she learned. One of the chapters that had the biggest impact on me was about the UWMW principle, “Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, Or Do Without”. The Amish use everything until it is threadbare or just a scrap of what it used to be and then they use it some more. I have to get MUCH better about sewing clothing that rips around here instead of just turning it into rags or finding someone to fix a broken piece of equipment instead of giving up and buying new. I also need to do a bit more “home recycling” of what might otherwise be considered garbage or recycle bin fodder. Right after reading the book I remembered how I wanted to go thrifting for some baskets to go under our bathroom sinks. After looking around our house a bit I found a couple cardboard boxes that will do instead and I can even paint them using Tempera paints we have on hand if I want to. When the Amish need something simple (like a storage container) they figure out how they can get it without buying it. When they need something big they still try to find out how they can get it free… scrap yards, junkyards, dumpsters, etc. I recall that when my grandmother died a few years ago there were some Amish at her estate sale. They bought up old stuff from the barn that I would have assumed was trash but I imagine they took the stuff home, cleaned up 20 years of grime, and it served them well for many years. I want to be that thrifty!

Other interesting chapters addressed things like instant gratification and how patient the Amish are when it comes to their want list, gifting during special occasions and holidays, buying in bulk, and being frugal foodies. After reading I really wanted to find an Amish grocer in my area so I can see their bulk offerings and I got a hankering for Shoofly pie. Oh and next spring I will insist that my hubby find an Amish source for grass fed beef because the prices the author started paying were staggeringly low.

The only thing that bothered me about the book was that sometimes the author would relate how she asked one of the Amish a question and then she would get sidetracked by some funny response or story and then never share the true answer to the question. A couple times I was left scratching my head and going “Is that it?” but otherwise it was a very enjoyable book and it really got my wheels turning about how I can bring some of that simple abundance into my life and save some pennies to.

Enjoy!

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

11 Comments on Money Secrets of the Amish

25
Oct

Bazura Lunch Bags

by Tiffany in A Green Home

I have been a gig fan of Bazura bags for a long time and just look at them… they are so darn clever! There is nothing inherently cute about juice bags and plastic waste but when recycled into these adorable bags I think it just works. It become stylish and functional.

My daughter has been taking the mini lunch box to school every day. It is the perfect size for child’s school lunch and she seems to enjoy it as well. The regular lunch tote is actually quite roomy. We took it with us hiking this past weekend and it held egg salad sandwiches and some extra water for a little post hike noshing (served 3 easily). Since it is insulated I felt comfortable keeping the sandwiches in the trunk while we hiked. It was nice to have a rewarding little picnic afterwards.

We probably have more than enough lunch boxes… we seem to collect them along with water bottles, but I think these two are permanent additions.

More about Bazura Bags:

  • Made from recycled juice packs by a women’s co-op in the Philippines
  • Very durable and well constructed
  • Saves non-biodegradable juice containers from landfills
  • Every one is handmade, colorful, and totally unique.

They also have coin purses and shopping bags. Plus I think the lunch totes double well as purses. ;) These would make excellent Christmas gifts for the eco savvy folk in your life.

 

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

3 Comments on Bazura Lunch Bags

24
Oct

AlkaMate for Alkalized Water Daily

by Tiffany in Health & Healing

Quite some time ago I got in the habit of drinking alkalized water as much as I possibly could. I was first introduced to the concept somewhere along my journey with cancer. Even mainstream doctors these days are acknowledging that cancer thrives in an acidic body and acid does a number on our cells in general. How can we expect our our body to remain healthy when we give our cells (the building blocks) an acid bath with acidic foods and water? You can’t… hence the reason behind eating lots of alkaline forming foods and making sure our water is treated so that it is also alkaline. Drinking alkaline water helps boost your immune system, it increases your blood oxygen levels and it helps prevent acid related diseases… cancer, candida, psoriasis, gout, high blood pressure, ulcers… let’s face it LOTS of disorders and diseases stem from an acid body. For more info I discussed this issue in my pH Miracle review and the wonderful book Crazy, Sexy, Diet has good info on it too.

Anyway, I started treating my water with pH booster drops to make it alkaline. You can get systems that work with your tap but those were horrendously pricey and would not allow for me to treat water when away from home. The drops also add up when you consistently buy them and you have lots of plastic bottles to deal with. So it was on my to-do list to look into some sort of portable product that will alkalize water. My mom actually beat me to it and bought one. She had great success with hers and I became convinced I needed one as well. She compared the pH level of the bottled water she was buying to the treated from her tap and she was amazed. The bottled stuff is way acidic! I don’t know why that surprises me but it did.

Lucky me was able to get my hot little hands on an Alkamate from Healthier Living 4 You. It is a spiffy stainless steel, portable alkalizer that has an amazing filter inside it. When you take the filter out and give it a little shake you’ve got a little Maraca thing going on. It has 13 unique minerals including Maifanshi stone, Muyu Jade, special clay, Tourmaline, nano silver, Kaolin earth, and others. It has two filters actually… one that stays in the inside the bottle always and one that needs changing after one year’s use. It does an amazing job of  removing many common contaminants and adding essential minerals to the water. It is definitely a keeper in my book.

Getting started was easy enough. I boiled some water and ran it through the alkalizer, letting it sit for 15 minutes. Then for subsequent use I just pour in some tap water or Brita filtered water and let it process for 15 minutes. When done the water tastes AMAZING. It just is just so tasty I can’t get over it. Way better than tap and even bottled water. I think I have noticed a difference in energy levels to, when I take it to the gym or for a hike/walk.

This past weekend I filtered water for the gym and for a 2.25 mile 10TV Commit to Be Fit hike. It took awhile to filter water for everyone that morning but it is so worth it in my opinion. I also did a test using pH strips to see if it really did the job or if it is hype. The pH strips do not lie. My tap water straight out of the faucet is acidic… although not nearly as bad as the bottled water my mom bought. After treatment in the Alkamate it was in alkaline territory. A+

It comes with a sleek, black carrying bag so that it is easy to take along with you. Just stick it in your purse and then you can filter water at restaurants, drinking fountains, etc. Most times I filter the water and take it with me in one of my other bottles but if I am going to be gone for an extended period of time I will be sure to take it along.

For more info check out Healthier Living 4 You and many thanks to them for sending me the Alkamate to review.

24
Oct

Attachment Parenting During Pregnancy

by Tiffany in Birth & Baby

The Green Moms Weekly question is this: Why is it as important to begin your journey as an attachment parent during pregnancy as it is after the birth of your baby?

Being an attachment parent can begin even before your baby is born. Mostly this is done by educating yourself and preparing for the birth of your little bundle. I have lots of ideas on how you can accomplish this:

Natural Childbirth – The more alert you and baby are the easier it will be to start bonding and learning the art of breastfeeding.

Consider Water Birth or Home Birth – Proponents of water births believe this is one of the most peaceful entrances to the world that can be had by a baby. It is easier on mom if she can soak and relax and the environment is less of a shock to baby since they are immersed in water during pregnancy. Home births mean that doctors and nurses are not trying to whisk your baby away for shots and other interventions. Want to have the best of both worlds? Check out some of the ideas in the book Homebirth in the Hospital: Integrating Natural Childbirth with Modern Medicine.

Breastfeed – The bond between a mom and her suckling baby is tremendous and special. You do not want to miss even a moment of it or shortchange it either. Make preparations to breastfeed for an extended period of time.

Eat Healthy and Stay Active – Make a conscious effort to eat the best foods for you and baby. Also make sure to get plenty of exercise. Eating nourishing foods puts less stress on your pregnant body and staying active will help you have a healthy birth.

Interventions After Birth – Don’t let bonding be interrupted by needless interventions… circumcision, vaccines, trips to the nursery, etc. In fact, make it clear that baby is to be kept at your side at all times and “handled” by medical staff very little.

Invest in a Sling – Plan to wear your baby in a sling or wrap. Before baby arrives is the perfect time to read reviews and find out which sling sounds like the best fit for you. If you have any friends who practice babywearing ask if you can try on some of theirs so you can get a real life feel for them.

Forget the Crib – Cosleeping is much easier on mom and baby and it makes it a million times easier to bond. Figure out the sleeping situation before baby arrives by adding a twin bed next to your own if need be, making sure baby cannot fall out or get wedged against a wall, or getting a co-sleeper bed.

Get Help – Ask friends and family to help out with household duties like cleaning and cooking so that you can enjoy your time with your new baby.

Educate Yourself About Developmental Stages – Be prepared with this info and you won’t have to needlessly stress.. you can just enjoy that little bundle and savor every moment. This is a process you will continue for your entire journey as a parent.

Find Your Tribe – Attachment Parenting is easier if you surround yourself with people who share your values. Start looking for them early so you will have that support system in place before baby arrives.

Stop and Smell the Roses – Enjoy all the little moments of your pregnancy.. the kicks, hearing the heartbeat, purchasing new baby stuff, etc. Also reflect on the moments you will savor as a new parent… that unique baby smell, the way they grasp your finger or pull your hair while they breastfeed. Its all good and we need to enjoy every moment of it while it lasts because it is over to soon!!

Enjoy those babies!

Read: Attachment Parenting starting at conception at Happy Green Babies and

Attachment Parenting During Pregnancy by Natural Moms Talk radio.