This infographic highlights stats from a different region of the world but it is still very interesting to see just how much money can be wasted foolishly if we aren’t vigilant about our energy usage. Leaving a wireless router or a microwave plugged in all night for instance. I don’t know anyone who microwaves in their sleep and its just plain wasteful. This graphic a great reminder to stop throwing away money while we catch some ZZZZZs. I know I have one or two of these things I need to remember to turn off nightly, how about you?
Brought to you by Ovo Energy – the cheaper, greener and simpler energy supplier
I have made no secret of my adoration and fascination with subscription box services. I have tried many… green mom products, eco friendly products, healthy snacks, supplements, etc. The idea is that each month you get a box filled to the brim with sample products to try, all of which fit within a larger theme. An eco friendly products box for instance might be filled with organic fair trade snacks, natural toothpaste, green cleaner samples, soap samples and the like. Every month you get a different box with different treasures inside it. It is a fantastic way to try new products without paying full price for each and you get exposed to products you might not otherwise have tried.
So yeah, I love subscription boxes. My latest find tops them all though.
This box leaves all other boxes in the dust. It manages to integrate homesteading/homemaking/homegrown love and put it all in a box. You not only get to TRY new things you get to LEARN new things. Holy moly! I also have a bit of an obsession with homesteading and homemaking skills long since forgotten in this day of modern convenience and this box manages to capture all of it perfectly. A box of food and eco products pales in comparison to a box of new skills hand delivered to your door….skills that will make you more self sufficient, reduce your environmental impact, and save you money. This is an ingenious product concept and I simply ADORE it.
It’s called The Homegrown Collective. The box for month of June had the theme Vim & Vinegar and it came packed with artisnal balsamic vinegar, white vinegar, organic dried blueberries, organic dried orange peels, a mason jar, baking soda, a glass quadra bottle, a pourer, and a spray nozzle.
With all of this the idea is to make some useful products from scratch. First up is Blueberry Infused Balsamic Vinegar… a yummy vinaigrette to put bottled and processed dressings to shame. Perfect for summer!
There were also instructions for making a couple different all natural cleaners including a citrus spray using vinegar and organic orange peels. The box has recipes and instructions but also useful knowledge in the form of facts sheets. It empowers you with information and teaches you how to make the products you see in stores at home and with healthy ingredients. It encourages self-sufficiency and promotes environmental stewardship and sustainability. Rather than a box filled with stuff you will use once, you get knowledge and skills you can use from then on if so choose. Past boxes have included items such as a mushroom growing kit, heirloom seeds, water kefir supplies, DIY cheese kit, DIY herbal tinctures, DIY homemade cough syrup, kombucha bewing kit, raw honey, beeswax, gourmet treats and more.
I am in love…
Try it yourself and use code GREENMOM10 for $10 off your first box!
Find them also on Facebook and Pinterest.
This post is written as a Healthy Home Ambassador for Filtrete, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
The weather in Ohio has been a little crazy lately. We have been alternating between rainy and cool, hot and humid, or just plain hot, hot, hot. Some days the A/C is running and some days not. I guess I should just be thankful for the days that are not so terribly hot…the days when I can open my windows at night because the temperature has fallen below 80 before I nod off for the night. It is a constant summer pass time…trying to keep the house comfortable without using the A/C too much and being wasteful. There are also other things that keep us hopping…a lawn that needs mowed, a hose that kids will forget to turn off if you don’t watch them like a hawk, and summertime bugs wanting to come inside where the shade, food, and water is.
I think that we need a “summer” cleaning and revamp after the spring one. According to EnergyStar, the average household spends more than $2,200 a year on energy bills, with half of this directly related to heating and cooling costs. It’s hard not to let little things fall through the cracks during the busy summer months, especially when we are so busy having fun. Here are some summer maintenance tips to keep you sailing smooth…
• Clean windows and fix screens: Spring and summer storms are part of life in most areas of the country and if we want to enjoy the sunny days of summer we need clean windows! Pick a day to clean them inside and out. Make sure to fix any screens that have holes and tears or flying insects will be happy to make their way indoors.
• Clean out the rain barrel: It’s hot and humid and the rain barrel water might be starting to get slightly stinky and maybe even a breeding ground for mosquitoes. If this is the case empty it in the late afternoon, give your plants and garden a good watering, and clean the tank/barrel out.
• Change your A/C filter: You probably changed it for spring but they really need to be changed every season and think about all the dirt, pollen, and other bits you are bringing into the house daily. Summertime usually means more in and out activity and since you are using your A/C it is doing double duty. Replace the filter and it will not only run more efficiently, you help clean indoor air by capturing dust, pollen and lint from the air passing through the filter. The Filtrete Micro Allergen Reduction Filter provides a balance of particle capture and airflow, thus helping to prevent stress on the system as well as reducing the amount of energy needed to reach desired temperatures. Where to buy: Lowe’s, Target, Costco, and your local hardware store; find a location near you by visiting FindMyFiltreteFilter.com.
Think maybe I should clean up the weeds around my A/C unit too???
• Create bug barriers: Check for holes and cracks around doors and windows where bugs might be making their way inside. Clean up any things that might be attracting them like crumbs, pet food, and water. Use natural deterrents such as spearmint, peppermint, cinnamon, and basil.
Bonus!! The above tips are mine but here are some more from Mike Holmes, the trusted HGTV Contractor:
• Hot water heaters: Set hot water heaters at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or below to avoid potential scalding.
• Stove: Remove and wash stove grates, burners and coils with warm water and soap. Over time, grease can build up around the stove, increasing the chances of a fire.
• Fire extinguishers: Check the expiration dates on your fire extinguishers. You should keep one on each floor of your home.
• Cracks: Inspect the floor, walls and foundation of the home for cracks. Jot them down on your home to-do list, and fix them before they lead to deterioration and wood rot.
About Filtrete Filters: Filtrete Brand from 3M makes an entire line of air filters for your home’s heating and cooling system – there’s one for each family’s needs and lifestyle. You can register to receive seasonal e-newsletters featuring special offers, filter change reminders, better home living tips and more by visiting our website, www.Filtrete.com.
You can also check them out by visiting them via Facebook or Twitter: @Filtrete.
This post is written as a Healthy Home Ambassador for Filtrete, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
If you’re the type that’s always on the lookout for ways to ensure that you are living a more eco-friendly lifestyle you won’t be surprised to find that living in a more eco-conscious way goes hand and hand with having a sustainable kitchen.
Give composting a whirl
Instead of shipping off all your leftover food and garbage disposal scraps to the landfill, you can turn it into compost instead. Compost is vital a source of rich ingredients that can be used for planting gardens.
First you’ll need a compost bin or bucket for food scraps. Then you’ll need to layer the bin with newspaper to keep down odors and flies. Adding a mixture of leaves or soil to the top of the newest scraps also helps to cut down on odors. Not everything you waste can be thrown into the compost bin so you’ll want to stay away from things like meats and fish because they have a habit of attracting rodents and scavengers.
Grow your own garden fresh produce
Try growing your own produce instead of spending money on fruits and vegetables that get more and more expensive with each trip to the grocery store. This is also the picture-perfect opportunity to make use of any kitchen scrap compost you’ve made.
You can take advantage of growing your own fruits, herbs and vegetables even if you live in a small apartment with little room outside, container or raised bed gardening may be a more feasible alternative to planting a traditional garden. Jar, buckets and planting pots can be used to grow garden fresh fruits, vegetables and herds on small balconies or in large open window spaces.
Try reusing some food packaging items
Most everything you buy at the grocery store comes with some type of packaging. Many items come double packaged in plastic bags wrapped in cardboard boxes. That’s a lot of materials being misused. You may choose to avoid purchasing freezer bags and instead reuse the packaging from other food items. Cereal bags which are made to protect cereal from moisture and the plastic bags from bread can be reused to store items in the fridge. Bread bags however are not recommended for use in the freezer. In contrast, frozen vegetable packaging is perfect for storing other food items in the freezer; just make sure to wash the bags thoroughly before reusing them.
Eliminate the use of plastic wrap and aluminum foil
Another way you can create a more sustainable kitchen is by forgoing the use of plastic wrap or aluminum. When it comes to sustainable alternatives for storing food look into reusable silicone lids, 100 percent recycled foil and thermal food covers can be washed and reused repeatedly.
Make your own eco-conscious cleaners
From mopping the floor to scrubbing the countertops and degreasing the appliances, there is many a need for cleaning products in the kitchen. Thankfully, there are a lot of great DIY recipes online that use natural ingredients like vinegar and baking soda to concoct powerful, cost-effective cleaners that are better for the environment and devoid of harmful chemicals contained in the expensive cleaners bought at the store.
About the author - Alex is a writer, husband, father and aspiring urban fantasy novelist. When he isn’t writing for HomeDaddys or completing chores from his “honey- do” list, he’s most likely spending quality time with his wife and kids or working on his novel.
Summer is in full swing, and if your house is anything like ours sometimes it feels as if summer sucks the money right out of the front door. Between the high costs of water, air conditioning, having the kids’ home from school and everyone wanting to go places and do things it can seem as if there is never quite enough money for everyone who is demanding it. But how would you like to actually save money this summer?
I know that it may seem impossible, but you really can save money this summer simply by using these three simple ideas to get started saving and let yourself get creative. Why only three? Because you are busy this summer and it is easier to stick to smaller, defined goals than a broad range of tips of and ideas. Once you get started though you’ll find yourself coming up with even more ways that you can save.
Save Money on Your Energy Bills
One of the easiest ways to save the most significant amount of money this summer is to acclimate your home and family to the natural cycles of heat and humidity. The best way to do this is slowly adjust your air conditioning to higher settings during the day. Take about a week and slowly adjust your settings each day. You may find that your weather is too hot and humid to go without AC altogether, but this method can significantly reduce the amount you spend on air conditioning. In addition, try turning the AC off altogether in the evenings and use ceiling fans, floor fans, and window box fans to keep the cooler outside air circulating through the house. Also instead of running the dryer do all your laundry on sunny days and hang outside to dry on Urban Clothelines. They don’t have to be permanent or bulky structures either. Many are portable so that picky homeowner’s associations won’t have a reason to cite you. Plus, kids can help you hang and remove laundry.
Save Money on Your Water Bills
Water bills can be prohibitively expensive during the summer, especially if you are trying to keep your yard green and also allowing your kids to play in the sprinklers. Well, there are several ways to cut down on your water bills. First off is to reuse all of your water, and I do mean all of your water. Save the water from your baths and showers as well as your dishwater. Mind you, you’ll have to switch to biodegradable soaps and shampoos, but believe it or not, your shrubs, flowers, houseplants and even garden vegetables seem to thrive on recycled water, so don’t be shy!
Another way to save money on water is to buy a kiddie pool instead of letting your children play in the sprinkler. Buy a pool with a cover or rig a mesh cover that will prevent leaves and bugs from getting into the water so that you don’t have to refill the pool as often.
Saving Money by Skipping the Vacation
The idea of not going on a vacation can seem absolutely depressing to most people. After all, isn’t getting away from it all what summer vacations are all about? Now I’m not suggesting that you not take a vacation, but that you don’t go anywhere on your vacation. No mind you, you have to do some preparation for this kind of vacation so that you won’t slip into your usual home routine. You can choose a theme (such as a Caribbean cruise or a Tour de France) and plan your meals and activities accordingly. You can schedule a number of day trips to local attractions that will keep you out of the house. The point is to enjoy your time off without having to pay the ridiculous hotel, restaurant and resort fees. Just using this idea alone you’ll end up with money leftover at the end of the summer; money you normally would have spent on something else.
While there are dozens of ways to save money over the summer, hopefully these three have given you a place to start so that you can get through the holidays without feeling as if your budget has been sucked dry and you can head into autumn with a little jingle in your pocket.