30
Apr

Painting Rocks and Sticks – TV Free Activity

by Tiffany in Crafts

Painting rocks? How fun can that be and why would you want to do it?

Well, today kicks off Screen Free Week. This week is dedicated to turning off various forms of media and turning on real life activities. Every year this event rolls around and many families either turn off their electronics for the week or they reduce the time spent pursuing those activities. We generally do the latter because we don’t actually spend that much time watching TV…though computers are a different story. At an rate I would have a mutiny on my hands if I just flat out said no electronics, but coming up with fun, TV free activities that get them away from these devices without them even noticing is much easier.

One of those activities we did recently was to paint sticks and rocks. It is a completely simple project that gets them outside and handling nature. It is also unique enough and fun enough to keep them interested. We spent about 1-2 hours painting (and allowing to dry) and then the kid splayed outside with their new wares for the remainder of the day. I sat on my fave Adirondack chair and read a book. We now have the prettiest rocks and stray sticks of anyone on the block. What more could you ask for?

We actually did this project a few weeks back but they still play with these rocks and sticks…as do neighborhood kids. What I liked most about it is that we already had the paints in all sorts of bright colors (from when we painted our ice cream truck) and we had all the brushes on hand as well. All we had to do was go looking for rocks and sticks, which are easy enough to find for free. We will definitely do this cheap and fun little project again.

Painting Rocks and Sticks TV Free Activity

27
Apr

TGIF – Magnesium, Gardening, and Diva Cup Cleaning

by Tiffany in Tidbits

TGIF! I hope everyone has an awesome weekend!

I updated facebook fans recently about my progress with magnesium supplementation. This update came roughly one month after I wrote the original post about my deficiency. I woke up one morning to find that my monthly visitor had arrived with nary a symptom. No PMS at all. No backaches, minimal bloating, no fatigue whatsoever, and no chocolate cravings. My skin also gets a bit oily and I may get a tiny pimple or two this time of month. I had none of that this time. In fact last month I told the kids I was sick and spent two days in bed, dog tired. This month I could literally do cartwheels in the backyard. I am totally sold on magnesium at this point.

What did I do exactly? I started taking a 500mg pill every single day and eating more magnesium rich foods. I sprayed myself with magensium oil almost daily about 20 minutes before my shower because it is more easily absorbed via the skin. After strenuous CrossFit workouts I would soak in magnesium flakes and also drink dark chocolate coconut water or Natural Vitality energy drink products. It was pretty effortless to make these small changes but the benefit has been amazing!

Also, since I mentioned CrossFit I have to share how amazing that as been lately too. In the past few weeks I have gotten bloody knuckles flipping 200 pound tractor tires, I have done handstands like when I was a kid, and just yesterday I did my personal best for pushups… 46! Every day that I go, I learn something new about what my body can do and the experience has just been out of this world. I actually feel a little bit like and athlete and I haven’t felt that way since my school days. It reminds me of this movie quote too:

Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands. – Legally Blonde

Not that my husband has anything to be afraid of but exercise really, really, really does make you happy. It is unfortunate I spent most of my adult life not understanding that fact.

Books I am Reading: 

Small Space Gardening – We definitely have a small space to work with at our house. Really it is just one raised bed and whatever can go in pots on our deck. This book though is full of ideas on where you can plant, in what, and how you can get the most bang for your buck (or space rather). I like all the advice and tips for vertical gardening, because that is really the direction many people have to go, up rather than out.

Seed Saving & Starting – Another timely book as we are pretty much exclusively using heirloom seeds and I want to harvest from what we grow rather than keep buying seeds each year. It also has ideas on cross-breeding and making hybrids but that really doesn’t interest me as much as savings our seeds each year. The info on transplanting, thinning, and hardening off though is very helpful.

Other Links: 

I wrote an article on another blog that I barely ever write on anymore about how to make a decent living as a blogger if that is something interests you.

I like this article from The Greatist about 45 Healthy Foods to Make and Never Buy Again. Very interesting to see the price breakdowns like that.

This article on Get Rich Slowly about Budget Travel In Your Own Town is wonderful. Not only can you save money by being a tourist in your own place of residence it is also really green too!

I am not a big tea drinker and only ever drink hot tea but if you like all kinds of tea you may appreciate Anna’s article about Honest Tea and why they are an ethical choice for tea drinkers.

Also helpful is Deanna’s article about how to keep your Diva Cup looking clean and sparkly. Truthfully mine is looking pretty dang dingy so I need to try some of these tips!

Enjoy your weekend all!!
25
Apr

All Natural Head Lice Remedies

by Tiffany in Beauty, Health & Healing

All Natural Head Lice RemediespinA few months back now my family had its first ever bout with the big bad…head lice. I managed to go through my entire life without ever having had lice or even having it in my house. Luckily, I can still say I have never personally had lice but one of my kids did get a visit from these little guys and I was at a loss about what to do since I have zero experience with this issue. As the digital mom that I am, I sought advice from Facebook about natural – pesticide free – ways to get rid of these scary goobers. I say scary because they managed to reduce my child’s head to a bloody mass of scabs from biting and my child’s scratching. To make matters worse, we actually got the lice from a neighbor kid who had them, spent the night at our house (in my child’s bed), and never bothered to inform us. Ugh!

Anyway, from Facebook I was able to figure out that tea tree oil, peppermint oil, and vinegar would be my go-to resources for this adventure. The oils are hated by lice and they are also helpful in killing them. Vinegar would help dissolve the glue that the lice use to “stick” their nits on your hair shafts. I ended up making a list of all the stuff I found helpful…

Natural Ways to Remedy Head Lice

  • Peppermint Oil
  • Tea tree Oil
  • Oregano Oil
  • Salt
  • Vinegar
  • Coconut oil, another vegetable oil, or mayo – smothers lice – apply to hair and wrap with plastic wrap
  • Flat Iron – To melt the nits “glue”
  • A nit comb – or as I prefer, a metal flea comb from the pet store

We wanted to avoid conventional lice treatments for obvious reasons. They are pesticide based and if we work so hard to eat foods without pesticides and wear clothing grown from cotton without pesticides then it only goes to follow that putting it on our children’s heads will just not do. We also found that the tiny plastic combs sold as lice combs were nearly useless. The metal flea combs found online or at pet stores are more durable, the spaces between slats are smaller, and the one we chose actually has a double row of teeth. We compared it to the plastic lice comb from the drugstore and it was so much more effective with pulling lice and nits from the hair.

Once armed with our flea comb I made my own lice shampoo and guessed on the proportions.

All Natural Head Lice Shampoo Treatment

  • 1 Quart size ball jar
  • 1 Tablespoon (1 squirt) Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap
  • 8-10 Drops tea tree oil (we use Trader Joe’s brand)
  • Fill jar to top with water, shake before each use.
  • Rinse with vinegar and let sit in hair for 5 minutes. Plastic wrap is optional (we didn’t use it)
  • Comb hair with flea comb or lice comb

We spent 1-2 hours each night doing this whole process and we did it every night for about 2 weeks. Getting that pesticide lice treatment would have been a whole lot easier, I will grant you that. It is not necessary though. Suzanne at Mommy Footprint shared on Facebook a theory that perhaps kids whose hair was washed less frequently and with non-conventional shampoos (no poo) were better safe guarded from lice. Smart Mama kind of confirmed by saying that lice cannot stick as well to hair that is “dirty” or containing the natural oils it is meant to be coated with. Very interesting! Perhaps my kiddo’s no poo hair may have helped us avoid lice until now but when the infestation is on your pillow (thanks to the aforementioned sleepover) I think the deck is stacked against you.

For bedding and stuffed toys we simply washed in hot water with a few drops of tea oil thrown in. We also dried everything on hot. We could have also dried them with a washcloth containing a few drops of tea tree oil or peppermint oil but I did not think of it at the time. If there is a next time though, we will be set!

** A reader also recommended Lice Shield Leave in Spray. It is supposedly made up of natural essential oils but I cannot find a full ingredients list so you may or may not want to check that out. LiceMD is also highly recommended and it is pesticide free.

Have you experienced head lice? Do you have any tips to share?

learn more about essential oils

24
Apr

Ten Creative Ways to Reduce Our Carbon Footprint

by Guest in Environment

Global warming and the worldwide results of carbon pollution are like the national debt. It’s an overwhelming problem that lots of people would love to fix, but since most of us don’t know anything we can do it seems incurable. While no one individually feels like they can make a difference, all of us will start experiencing the negative difference it increasingly has on our lives. Carbon pollution won’t stop, or even decrease, unless each of us individually learns how to reduce our carbon footprint.

The good news is that there are lots of things you and I can do. Most of them are simple creative changes we can make in our daily routines that cost little or nothing with minimal effort. Here are 10 creative things you can do to decrease your carbon footprint:

1. Shop Online When Possible – Online shopping is a much greener way to buy, as fuel emissions are among the greatest contributors to environmental degradation. In this digital era you can find almost anything you can think of online. Also consider purchasing green friendly items online around the holidays like solar powered race cars for the kids, rechargeable batteries for your home, and other natural products.

2. Hang Up Your Laundry – Driers may get your laundry done faster, but once again, you can save yourself money and help the environment by hanging your clothes instead. They’ll also last longer and have that clean, fresh, summer-day smell.

3. Regularly Replace Your Air Filters – You might do this once per year, if you remember, but it’s time to keep this on a regular 3 month schedule. As simple as this step is, it can reduce energy bills, saving you money and reducing carbon waste.

4. Reuse Grocery Bags or  Bring Your Own Bags – Those plastic bags at the checkout line add up to thousands of tons every year. Instead of tossing them out after putting your groceries away, set them aside for the next time you go shopping, or find other practical uses for them. Better yet, get a couple reusable canvas bags instead!

5. Use Energy Efficient Light Bulbs and AppliancesIt’s very hard to find old-style incandescent bulbs in most stores, but they might still be wasting electricity in your sockets. Compact fluorescent light bulbs are a great alternative, and we should all be using them by now!. They require roughly 70% less energy, for almost the same light output, and often last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs. Make the investment, and you might be surprised by how much energy you save.

6. Recycle Used Ink and Toner Cartridges Instead of Tossing Them Out – Many printer cartridges contain rare earth metals and other electrical components that the suppliers are happy for you to throw out without batting an eye. Instead of carelessly contributing to e-waste, send your empties to one of the numerous recycling programs, and purchase your toner cartridges from companies that sell recycled or remanufactured versions. Again, not only will you help the environment, but you will also save a lot of money on over priced printing supplies.

7. Buy Recycled Paper and Recycle Your Own Garbage – Paper is a huge annual waste of energy. From cutting trees, to processing in paper mills, transporting, and finally disposing waste paper; paper waste adds a huge strain on the environment. For only a slightly higher cost, which you can justify by saving money with other eco-friendly practices, you can protect a huge number of trees and teach your children the importance of being eco-conscious. Recycling your own garbage is a daily reminder to the kids that each person places a burden on the environment, and we should do all we can to minimize that.

8. Pay Your Bills Online – Another way to reduce waste from paper is to sign up for paperless bill pay, and manage your costs online. You can have a similar saving by reading the news online and cutting subscription to your local paper.

9. Grow Your Own Fruits and Vegetables or Buy Locally – Organic foods help reduce harm from pesticides and preservatives, but the ultimate is to grow your own food. This hobby will eliminate transportation costs, and all the pollution it involves. True, maintaining a garden is mentally rewarding, but we all know that fresh ingredients always taste much better!

10. Track Your Carbon Footprint – Everybody knows that counting calories is one of the best ways to lose weight. Some smartphone apps and websites now offer a similar opportunity where you can track your progress with a carbon footprint calculator. Over time you can see if you’re truly making progress or not, and make the necessary adjustments to your lifestyle. Of course, the more people that work on reducing our collective carbon footprint the better, so spread the knowledge to friends and family!

23
Apr

Skype Earth Day Panel with Good Girl Gone Green

by Tiffany in Environment