22
Mar

Ways to Help Out on World Water Day

by Tiffany in Social Good

world water day sm

Today is World Water Day and it has been given this distinction so that for at least one day the world might consider just how many of its inhabitants do not have clean water at their disposal. The stats are actually pretty shocking and for those of us who have the luxury of simply walking a few feet to the nearest faucet and running as much water as we like, it needs to be a wake up call. For world water day I want to highlight three organizations doing something to address this global crisis and they are doing a wonderful job via social media to reach those of us who don’t actually realize just how much we should care about this issue. 10,000 people are dying each day (2000 of those are children) because they don’t have clean water and here in the west we like to wax poetic about not letting it run while we brush our teeth.

WaterAid is an organization I have written about before and which I have donated to before. They have some great info on their site as well as great articles on why water is just the beginning of the road out of poverty. You can also subscribe to their emails and stay up to date with what they are doing and any volunteer opportunities they have available.

According to one article there are millions of people who walk an average of 3.7 miles to collect water each day. This results in over 200 million hours spent collecting water each day. Can you even imagine having to travel over three miles to get water to wash with or drink? Can you imagine not having a clean and safe place to go to the bathroom each day? I am horrified at the thought and yet this is reality for so many people around the world. It needs to be horrifying that we are not doing something more to remedy this. 2.5 million people in developing countries do not have access to improved sanitation, like toilets. 3.4 million die each year from water, sanitation and hygiene related causes. Every time we take a seat on the toilet we are experiencing a great luxury and we may not even realize it.

Another organization mobilizing for water aid is Matt Damon’s charity Water.org. I am a big fan of his already but I especially love what he is doing to bring awareness to this particular issue. I still love his toilet protest video from long ago. Seriously, kiss your toilet and donate a few bucks. It really is the least we can do.

If you want to donate some money today and/or help with their mission in some way to help improve water access for all, these two organizations are good places to start.

15
Mar

DIY Herbal Mouse Deterrent

by Tiffany in The Homestead

DIY Herbal Mouse DeterrentMice are part of life in many parts of the Midwest. This fact was a big eye opener for me when I moved to the area from the Southwest. We have so many agricultural crops here that mice and other vermin make their homes among the crops and then come harvest time they decide to move into your home. I just can’t share a home with them so if they do decide to make an appearance we break out the traps. Before it gets to that point though I always like to try and deter them first.

The following is a DIY recipe for deterring mice with herbs and oils. Once you make the mixture you can soak cotton balls or strips of cloth in the strong scent and then place them in and around entrance points. They also come in handy in kitchen cabinets and drawers. No one wants a mouse in the kitchen!

Herbal Ingredients:

1 C water
2 Tbsp Basil leaves, chopped
2 Tbsp Peppermint leaves, chopped

Essential Oils:

12 Drops Peppermint
12 Drops Rosemary
12 Drops Clove

Boil the water and pour over the fresh herbs, once cool strain them out. Add the essential oils to the herbal liquid and mix. Use this repellent along with cotton balls or cloth strips every 2-3 weeks.

7
Mar

Top 10 Juicing Ingredients

by Tiffany in Healthy Eating

Top 10 Juicing Ingredients Header

Part of the fun of juicing is experimenting with different fruits and vegetables until you find some delicious and nutritious combinations. It is an absolutely amazing feeling to take such healthy ingredients and turn them into something that is edible and mouthwatering. Who says healthy eating can’t taste good???!

However, doing this without any guidance can lead to you creating some pretty funky tasting juices which you simply cannot finish. It happens to the best of us. That’s why today I’m going to be sharing with you 10 of the top ingredients you should be juicing along with some recommendations for what goes best with what.

1) Beets

Beets are packed full of iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, vitamin B9 and vitamin C. Studies have shown that beet juice is a powerful cancer fighter and also does a great job of protecting against heart disease, cleansing the blood and boosting the kidneys. I think they kinda taste like dirt, so juicing helps me make this powerhouse veggie palatable. They go great when paired with sweeter fruits and veggies.

Juice Beets With: Apples, celery, cucumber and carrots.

2) Carrots

The eyesight veggie! Mom knew what she was talking about when she told you to eat your carrots. They contain high levels of manganese, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, vitamin B9, vitamin C and vitamin K. In terms of health, carrot juice has been linked with healthy skin, strong vision and optimal liver health.

Juice Carrots With: Apples, cucumbers and tomatoes.

3) Cayenne

Cayenne is a hot, spicy pepper that revs up your internal engine and is packed full of capsaicin, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K. It’s a great way to give your juices a kick and it also has lots of health benefits which include boosting your metabolism, reducing inflammation in your body and promoting healthy skin.

Juice Cayenne With: Carrots, red bell peppers and tomatoes.

4) Celery

Celery is extremely low in calories and a great addition if you’re trying to lighten your juice. It’s also a nutritional powerhouse and loaded with calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, vitamin B9, vitamin C and vitamin K. Celery juice has numerous health benefits which include calming your nerves, cleansing the digestive system, promoting restful sleep and protecting against gout.

Juice Celery With: Anything.

5) Cinnamon

Cinnamon is both sweet and spicy and goes great with fruit juices. It contains high levels of calcium, iron, manganese and vitamin K. In terms of health benefits, it’s been linked with cancer prevention, improved blood glucose control and a healthier brain.

Juice Cinnamon With: Apples, blueberries and grapes.

6) Cucumbers

Cucumbers are another light choice for light and lean juices. They are very hydrating and they are packed full of magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin B5, vitamin C and vitamin K. Studies have shown that cucumber juice can boost your energy levels, keep your skin and hair healthy, protect against cancer and support healthy joints.

Juice Cucumbers With: Carrots, celery, lettuce and spinach.

7) Granny Smith Apples

Granny smith apples yield a sweet, crisp juice. They’re also a top source of vitamin C. Research suggests that apple juice boosts both the brain and the heart.

Juice Granny Smith Apples With: Anything.

8) Mangos

Mangos produce a sweet, refreshing, tropical juice and also provide you with lots of vitamin A, vitamin B6 and vitamin C. The juice supports healthy growth, healthy skin and strong vision.

Juice Mangos With: Anything.

9) Mint Leaves

Mint leaves are packed full of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B9, vitamin C and zinc. Mint juice has a tingly, cooling taste and cleanses the blood, soothes chronic pain and stimulates digestion. It is great for detox juices and fasts!

Juice Mint Leaves With: Celery, cucumber, lime, lemons and oranges.

10) Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of copper, lycopene, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, vitamin B9, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K. They yield a mild but pleasant juice that studies have shown can protect against cancer and heart disease while also keeping your blood vessels healthy.

Juice Tomatoes With: Celery, carrots, lettuce and radishes.

Happy juicing!

Top 10 Juicing Ingredients

 

6
Mar

Driving the Toyota Prius v

by Tiffany in Green Cars

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I drove a Prius for the first time last year and fell in love. I know, it sounds cliche…the treehugger fell in love with a Prius but it’s true. I fell hard and fast and I have driven lots of green cars over the years. My intro to this line of cars that has become synonymous with greener living and greener driving was the PriusC. That cute little green car quickly became one of my absolute favorites.

Just this month I had the pleasure of driving a Prius v around town for a week. The biggest difference between the two is obvious…the size. I adore small cars but the trend with most people seems to be a demand for cargo space and cars that look and perform more like small SUVs. It definitely had the size going for it. The five of us were not crowded and we had plenty of room for storage. I even picked up a giant dog crate for one of our foster dogs and it fit perfectly in this car. I still prefer the smaller cozy size Prius but if you want the green benefits AND you want a bigger size than the Prius v is perfect. This car gets around 42 mpg. It delivers the highest combined fuel efficiency of any SUV, crossover utility vehicle or wagon.

Another wonderful aspect of the Prius v is the interior. I love the front the dash and display. I had a great time connecting the car to my phone via Bluetooth and listening to audio books as I drove around. I was a bit hard to get used to the small shifter, which is located on the dash, but after a few days I think I got the hang of it.

priusv

It is a luxurious car and the different models range in price from $26-31K. I love that the display was built into the dash and not sitting on top of it, this is a personal preference for me. I love the smart key system with push button start because I don’t like having to keep track of keys and with this car I can just throw them in my purse and keep them in there. When I walk out of range the car locks. When I walk back to the car and touch the door handle or trunk mechanism, it unlocks. How easy is that??? The only downside is that you “can” forget to turn the car off and walking inside your house may not be enough range to stop it running. Not that I would ever do that…

It also features a 6.1-in. touch-screen display, backup camera, integrated navigation system, JBL® Premium Audio and a suite of popular apps, it’s one smart way to help you stay connected. I love that it comes with apps already at your fingertips like Pandora, I heart radio, movietickets.com, OpenTable, etc.

It looks like an SUV and has all the extra space you may need or want but it performs like a more compact hybrid. It cheaper than its close competitor the C-Max and yet it beats it in fuel efficiency and cargo space. I think Toyota has knocked it out the park with this one, even if I smaller cars are more for me. I want the SUV lovers to have a hybrid they can get behind too. Enjoy!

5
Mar

Household Things to Repair Instead of Replace

by Tiffany in A Green Home

Household Things to Repair Instead of ReplaceIt is typically much cheaper to fix things around the home than it is to replace them. It is also way better for the planet. Corporations are selling cheaper goods and hoping we will buy new fairly often but we don’t have to fall into that trap. We can start by buying quality goods that last, made my reputable companies. We can go a step further by vowing to repair rather than replace when they wear out or break down.

When something or breaks as yourself…it is just dirty, can I take it apart without destroying it, can I buy replacement parts, can I find a Youtube video with repair instructions, and can I do the repairs myself? You will be surprised how often you actually CAN fix things. You have plenty of resources nowadays…Youtube tutorials, manufacturer’s web sites, online parts stores, online forums, and local sites where you can find repairmen. Don’t toss if you don’t absolutely have to!

Vacuums – Repairs shops still exist for vacuums but they are also easy to fix on your own. A broken belt or a clogged up hose can be repaired in 20 minutes or less.

Shoes – Shoes that are separating from their soles can be fixed with shoe goo. Hiking, snow, and cowboy boots can easily be resoled. Broken heels can be fixed, sandals can be sewn or glued.

Computers – If you buy custom built desktop computers rather than massed produced ones then you can fix and repair for years and years when they get slow or parts wear out or break down. I have had the same computer for eight years! It has gotten a new motherboard and some new memory but it is still going strong. Our kids also have units that we custom built and then we repair rather than replace.

Cell phones and tablets – Cracked screen?? There are many companies nowadays that offer screen repair services so that you don’t have to get a new phone or tablet. You can also google a video on how to fix these issues and try it yourself….parts from recycled phones can often be found online.

Washers/Dryers – Washers often end up in landfills just because they have a clogged pump filter that can removed and cleaned. Dryers often need a new thermostat or heating element. Instead of buying a whole new unit spend $40 dollars to buy a new part!

Furniture – Parts and lumber can be bought to fix sofas and reclining chairs that break down. Upholstery fabric can be bought to recover furniture as well and give your home a fresh new look at the same time. Repaint or stain wood furniture that has been scratched or stained.

Garage door openers – Youtube videos abound that teach you how to diagnose the issue and what parts you need to repair or replace to fix it. You can also buy new remotes, garage door receivers, and safety beams online.

Leaky faucets and toilets – Look for youtube videos outlining how to fix these usually simple issues. Buy the parts and you have a DIY project. We fixed two leaky toilets and a non functioning turn off valve just this year.

Clothing – Learn the basics of hand stitching and you are now armed with the knowledge you need to stitch holes in socks or rips in jeans and pants. I have a sewing machine but I always grab a simple needle and thread for mending.

Bathtubs – Refinish your fiberglass or cast iron tub with a home refinishing kit. It only costs about $40 and your bathtub will look like new for a couple years. For a longer lasting solution you can have it professionally refinshed for about $200-400.

Dishwashers – When dishwashers stop working or start overflowing it is usually because food and debris are blocking the drainage basket/screen inside the unit. Unscrew a couple screws to remove the basket, clean it out, and use a shop vacuum to clear any gunk. Broken racks and baskets can be fixed with cable ties.

Bicycles – With so many bicycle repair shops around it is silly to buy new when you can simply fix the one you have.

Don’t be a mindless consumer and keep buying new whenever something wears out or breaks. Get creative and get to fixin it yourself!