26
Feb

Top 5 Reasons Country Living is Better

by Tiffany in The Homestead

Top 5 Reasons Country Living is Better

The debate over which is better, country or city living has been raging for years now. However, moms who love nature will tell you that packing up, hiring a moving company, and hightailing it to the country is a great way to go. No, you don’t have to choose a cabin that is way out in the middle of the woods, but wouldn’t it be nice to live more than 50 feet away from your neighbors. If you are a mom who is on the fence and debating whether to move out of the city or suburbia and make your home in the country, read on below for some of the top reasons that living close to nature could be the best for your family.

A More Nature-Involved Upbringing

There is nothing like a walk in nature or a BBQ in the backyard with the birds singing to bring home just how important nature is to raising a family. When your children can walk outside and see the sky blanketed with stars instead of just the foggy haze of the city, the twinkle in their eyes should make you happy you decided to take up the country life indeed.

Kids have Fewer Allergies

While it hasn’t been scientifically proven, studies have shown that children who are raised in the country have fewer allergies and a lower risk of developing asthma. This is enough of an incentive for any mom to move her little ones from the city to the country in a hurry.

Kids have Room to Run and Grow

This one is of course a no-brainer. Kids cannot get a ton of exercise in a tiny apartment with a busy street in front of the building. Kids need the room to stretch their limbs so that they grow. While a child can grow up just fine in a small space, it is great for a mom to be able to see her child run free and not have to worry about cars or other hazards in the country.

Helps Develop the Imagination

There are things that can develop a child’s imagination in the city, of course, but there is nothing like being free in the country to encourage a child to be creative. If you have a child that is sensitive, there is nothing like the quiet of the country to get their imagination started and to put them on the path to problem-solving with the best of them.

Reduces the Symptoms of ADHD

Studies have shown that being in nature reduces the symptoms of ADHD and ADD in children quite a bit. Even city kids who have taken a walk through a green park often calm down quite a bit after communing with nature, so how well must living in nature full time help those with these same problems?

Time to be Together as a Family

One of the biggest benefits of moving from the city to the country is the increased time it allows you to spend with your family. When you live in the country you don’t have rush-hour traffic to sit in for hours on the way home from the office and unless you want to drive a long way, you aren’t signed up for a ton of extracurricular activities. This gives you the time to spend with your family that living in the city just can’t and that is the most important thing to any mom.

These are just a few of the reasons that you as a mom should move from the city or suburbs to the country. From spending time together as a family to developing the imagination of your impressionable children, country living is just better and every family should give it a try. So what are you waiting for? Move your family to the country today and enjoy everything that nature has to give!

23
Feb

What to Look For When Purchasing Essential Oils

by Tiffany in Essential Oils

What to Look For When Purchasing Essential OilsEssential oils are an indispensible part of any home apothecary or natural wellness plan. If you want to harness the power and essence of plants to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy and in high spirits, then essential oils are more than worth the investment. They can quite literally be the missing link in modern medicine. Plants provide ecological balance on our planet and they have also been linked to the physical, emotional, and spiritual well being of its inhabitants. Modern day scientists and researchers still look to the plant kingdom for their research and their latest discovery.

Essential oils are the natural and very potent liquid that is housed within various plants, shrubs, flowers, roots, and trees. Many people purchase essential oils excited about the myriad of possibilities contained therein only to be disappointed by consequences such as irritated skin or other unpleasant reactions. Unfortunately that can happen if you have stumbled upon a product that is not natural and has chemical synthetics. To avoid choosing a product that is not real essential oil, we have prepared this short guide for you. Keep to these basics and you will be able to stay away from fakes.

Read Your Oil Labels Carefully

First, read the label. Many products, foods and fake essential oils included, have been manufactured through the use of harmful synthetic chemicals. But even this cloud has a silver lining – companies must list all ingredients on the label. So, carefully examining the label of your essential oil is one of the best ways to figure out what you are about to buy. Real essential oils should have the Latin name of the plant on the front, below the common name and should be labeled as “100% essential oil”. If you see anything such as “made with natural products”, “perfume oil”, “fragrant oil”, “natural oil”, etc. know to stay away from it – this is certainly a fake.

Understand the Different Species

Look at the latin name of the plant on the label. This gives you the species and from there you can research which species of the plant has the therapeutic values and qualities you want/need. If you want lavender oil, the swiss army knife of the essential oil world, then the species you want is lavandula agustifolia. You do not usually want lavandula officinalis (or lavandin) which is usually what cheap lavender oil actually contains. They have completely different chemical compositions and if you rub lavandin on a burn, it will make things worse. But lavandin is cheaper to make because the plants are bigger and produce more oil.

Another example is cheap Helichrysum essential oil. If you wonder why a retailer can sell a bottle for $20 and another sells their for over $100 you are comparing apples to crab apples. They are not the same species and not the same product. The more expensive bottle may be derived from the most therapeutic and valued species helichrysum italicum. It has wonderful healing and cell rejuvenation properties and is used for a variety of skin issues and wounds. The cheaper product is actually helichrysum gymnocephalum, much less prized and more useful for respiratory health. So if you buy a bottle of Helichrysum hoping to use it to reduce the appearance of scar tissue and you buy the cheap bottle…you are using the wrong remedy! Be aware of what you are buying!

Low Prices Are a Signal for Fake Essential Oils

A dead giveaway for fakes is the price. A steep price is certainly no guarantee of a high quality product, as some imitations could be sold at a price much higher than what they actually cost, but you should still stay away from very cheap essential oils. Good quality essential oils are not a cheap commodity but they are very concentrated and you never need more than just a few drops for any purpose.

It is rather difficult to produce these products. A lot of labor and plant material is required to produce just a small quantity of a certain essential oil. Of course this varies according to the plant that is being used, as some plants are easier to extract and distil than others.

Another aspect to consider is that some oil companies are more mindful of using sustainable harvesting and farming practices. They micromanage every aspect from seed to seal, ensuring only the highest quality. That kind of quality is worth the price.

A popular example is the Bulgarian rose – one of the highest quality essential oils in the world. Hundreds of pounds of roses are necessary to make just a few ounces of rose essential oil. Moreover, the plants need to be grown and picked in a specific way, which requires many hours of hard physical labor. The same is true for Jasmine. Oils such as these are rather expensive when pure. Always opt for the real thing and stay away from the fakes.

Another thing to remember is to not buy essential oils online unless you know and trust the company or person that is selling them. Sadly, some retailers online have been caught selling a sub par brand’s oils inside the bottle of the more desirable brand. Sneaky! Of course there are also many reputable retailers but you should always take caution when purchasing.

Also be aware that even 100% pure therapeutic essential oils can be dangerous if not used appropriately. Use your noggin and research your oils. Do not blindly follow what someone says about an oil and how to use it. Research their method and see if it truly is the safe solution you seek. If in doubt, dilute, even if your online friends tell you to use the oil neat (undiluted). Be safe rather than sorry. Never use a radical remedy such soaking a tampon with tea tree oil. Your delicates are delicate and essential oils are potent! If you are uncomfortable ingesting oils then don’t do it, easy peasy. I don’t say never, I just say not for me.

Essential oils are a fantastic way to improve health and wellness. Aromatherapy can help you find balance and peace. However, this can only happen when you use pure essential oils of the highest quality. Even if you feel you do not have the budget for an elaborate collection of oils, choose a few basic ones rather than spending money on many fake ones.

Start Your Oily Journey

21
Feb

8 Ways To Cut Down on Food Waste

by Tiffany in A Green Home

8 Ways To Cut Down on Food Waste

The average US household wastes a lot of food. I know I have definitely been guilty of this myself in the past. If we have to clean out our fridge once a month and throw half the contents away spoiled, unused, and moldy then we are wasting food and wasting money. How much of our monthly food bill is actually tossed in the garbage? $20? $30? This has an impact on your finances and it impacts the planet because we use more than we need. So how do we nip this problem in the bud? Here are 8 ways that I have tamed this monster over the years.

1. List the leftovers. This is an incredibly simple and incredibly useful way to remind you to eat the leftovers! Put a magnetic pad on your refrigerator, you can usually get one for $1 at the dollar store or in the dollar bin at Michael’s Craft Store. When you put leftovers in the fridge, note the item and date. Aka “Sweet and Sour Soup 2/10”. The list will look right at you when you go to browse for your next meal or snack, even if the leftovers end up out of sight in the back of the fridge. It is also useful for spouses who are looking for something to take to lunch and perhaps didn’t know there were leftovers.

2. Freeze whatever you can. If you buy in bulk, buy those food items that can be frozen. For instance I buy almonds and other nuts in bulk and freeze most of them. Periodically I fill glass jars I keep in the refrigerator with the nuts until all are used. Freeze refrigerated leftovers after 3-4 days.

3. Discover some creative uses for your leftovers and unused food. Shepherd’s pie, vegetable soup, and casseroles are just some of the creative ways you can use your leftovers. Vegetables that are getting old but are not yet bad can be used to make vegetable stock that you can use immediately or freeze. Stale bread can be used to make bread crumbs and croutons, which you can freeze if you do not need them right away. Stale bread can also become bread pudding. Leftover meat can be incorporated into salads, burritos, soups, and stews.

4. Store refrigerated foods in the right places. The back of your refrigerator is colder than the front, and the door shelves are warmer still. Relegate dairy foods that are prone to spoilage to the back of the fridge, and keep items such as condiments and salad dressings toward the front or in the door.

5. When it’s too late, compost your spoiled food. Then you can use the compost to grow your own food. The circle of life baby…

6. Skip the counter top fruit bowl if you aren’t going to use fruit within a day or two and refrigerate it instead. Some foods, such as tomatoes, do not do well under refrigeration but apples, oranges, grapefruits, and lemons last much longer in the crisper drawer of your fridge. Make green smoothies if your fruit is starting to look sad.

7. Plan your grocery shopping and meals carefully to avoid waste. Go through your pantry and frig and make menu decisions based upon what you already have. If you have cilantro wilting in the frig then use the Internet to search for “cilantro recipes”. Look for recipes that utilize ingredients that you have already for the most part. Doing this allows you to use items before they go bad and you get to try new recipes.

Another tactic to go along with this same planning theme is buy up the bulk of what you need minus the produce. Then on the way home from work, errands, etc pick up the mushrooms you need to go with the beef and mushroom stew you are making that night. This way nothing sits in the fridge and you can change your menu without wasting food.

8. Cook the same thing 2-3 times in a row. I do this often. If I buy a bunch of ingredients for a certain dish then I want to use them up. Occasionally I used to make chicken scallopini (before going paleo) for instance and it uses white wine and cream (2 things I usually don’t buy or use). I would often make this meal 2-3 times in a single week until I used the wine and cream up. Last night we had Sweet and Sour soup and today I made it again for lunch because I had ginger and green onions to use up. My philosophy is to make food so good my family won’t mind repeats!

So how do you avoid wasting food?

Recommended Reading: Save Money on Organic Foods

8 Ways To Cut Down on Food Waste2

19
Feb

Energy Saving Technology – Are You On Board?

by Tiffany in Eco Tips

We all know there are things we can do, personal changes we can make, to reduce our energy consumption. This is important to eco conscious people everywhere. But perhaps even more important though is the ability to recognize that energy savings technologies may ultimately be even more important than our personal habits and our desire to conserve. Technology keeps getting better and better. New computers, new cars, new smart phones, new TVs, and new tablets are just a few of the items on our holiday wish lists. But, what about these products impacting our energy bills, not to mention, impacting our environment? Maybe we need tech that saves energy???

Many of us have programmable thermostats for instance but smart thermostats may do an even better job. They can tell when no one is in the house and therefore reduce energy consumption when you otherwise would have forgotten to adjust the temperature. LED light bulbs use 90% less energy and last 5 times as long. A single battery may be able to power our homes. Every technology innovation we can make furthers our goal and when you combine that with our personal habits you achieve more in shorter time frame. Everyone needs to support and even demand more investments in energy saving technology.

The impact that future technologies have on saving energy is crucial as there has been an astonishing increase in overall energy consumption since 2000. Finding new ways to save energy at home and on the road is now becoming a primary objective among technology innovators. Whether through the creation of “glow-in-the-dark road markings” or light bulbs that can last up to 50,000 hours.

The infographic below outlines the inventive technological advances that are aimed at helping people save money both on the road and at home. Think a “smart road” is something straight out of 2060? Think again!”

impact-of-energy-technology

Image from SaveOnEnergy.com

17
Feb

3 Ideas for Mason Jar Decor

by Tiffany in Crafts

DIY mason jars

I adore mason jars. We use them for drink glasses. We use them for pantry storage. We use them for home decor. They are high quality, they last, and they take me back to my farm girl roots. The fact that you can buy them for cheap at thrift stores is another big bonus! If you are into mason jar crafting and mason jar gifting then you will love these three ideas in the video below. I love the idea of using cheapy plastic toys you can pick up at garage sales for pennies and using them as jar toppers. I also love the frosted bunny design for Easter. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

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