4
Sep

Staying Positive and Avoiding Situations That Bring You Down

by Tiffany in Tidbits

Stay Positive Avoid NegativityHopefully we all have people in our lives that act as our cheerleaders and who are great for our self-esteem. They lift us up and make us feel great in our own skin. There are also places we can go that promote the same feelings. The beach is one of those places for me. The rush of the ocean and the wind in my hair just make me happy and make me feel that this life is amazing.

We also often have people around us who bring us down. Or maybe it’s a particular place or situation that makes you feel inadequate or self-conscious. It’s important to be aware of these people, places, and situations that bring you down. When you know who and what they are, you can guard against them and if possible avoid them.

Become Aware Of Negative Energy

Your self-confidence takes the biggest hit when you are unaware of the person or situation you’re engaging with. When you feel blind-sided, it hurts, it and it’s hard to recover and rebuild your self-esteem and courage. I like to think of how these people, places, and situations affect us as negative energy. Your first task is to become aware of this negative energy and realize where it’s coming from before it hits you. By simply being aware you avoid being surprised.

Try to identify the sources of negative energy in your life. Do you have certain coworkers, friends, or family who gossip like it is a competitive sport? Hearing all that negativity impacts you, participating in it impacts you as well. Does social media make you feel bad about yourself and make you feel less than others? Does social media bombard you with bad news and negativity? Think about all the sources that allow negativity to seep into your life and you will be better prepared for it in the future.

Guard Against Negtivity And Neutralize It

Once you are aware of what or who is bringing you down, you can start to guard against it. One of my favorite ways of doing this is to expect it going in and realizing what’s causing it. For example, if your cousin always gives you a hard time about your weight, it may help to realize that she’s putting you down because she’s not happy with her own life. If you feel judged by coworkers, it helps to know that they may be doing it to make themselves feel better. Realizing this going in will go a long way towards neutralizing things. Of course another way to guard yourself is to do what you can avoid interacting with the people that bring you down and of course avoiding the places and situations that make you feel bad.

Disengage Until You Feel More Confident And Courageous

Last but not least, avoiding people, places, and situations that will bring you down is always an option. If you know a conversation with your sister will make you feel less confident, or you feel depressed about your life every time you open Facebook, avoid those people and places for now. Take a break and focus on building up your confidence and your self-esteem. Focus on allowing positive energy to flow into your life and actively seek the people and places that allow for this.

Instead of going for that weekly brunch with your sister see if she wants to hit up a movie instead, where the talking is limited. Install plugins on facebook that block your “downers” such as animal cruelty posts and politics. “Like” a bunch of positivity and affirmations pages so your feed is flooded with the good stuff. When you’re ready, you can go back to spending time with those people or hanging out at those places and see how it goes. Often the experience is completely different for you when you approach it in a new and more confident manner.

2
Sep

The Art of Frugal Hedonism

by Tiffany in Frugal Green

frugal hedonismTo be frugal is to be sparing or economical with regard to money or food. Hedonism is the pursuit of pleasure; sensual self-indulgence.

At first it seems like these two words or concepts are at odds with each other but they actually aren’t. Not at all.

I wrote an article some years about this very subject titled Frugal Luxuries…about how frugality and simple living allow you to enjoy luxuries you may not other wise be able to enjoy. A few frugal and money wise choices here and there allow you to direct money towards other things that you value more…things like self indulgent pleasures, or life’s small luxuries.

I recently read another book about this very subject over the weekend… The Art of Frugal Hedonism: A Guide to Spending Less While Enjoying Everything More. I devoured every thoughtful morsel and thoroughly enjoyed it. The about section really sums it up. You will want to read this book if…

  • You think your current spending habits are not intentional…aka shaping the life you want and believe in.
  • You suspect that consumerism is detracting from your goals and having unpleasant side effects on your wellbeing.
  • You feel as though your spending is often times obligatory or done to make you feel like you are doing what you are supposed to do…what everyone else is doing.
  • You feel like the amount of time you are working doesn’t leave enough time or energy for the things you love/desire.
  • You feel overwhelmed with all the choices and expectations of modern society.
  • You recognize that modern choices and lifestyles can be sabotaging the future of our planet.

The book really makes you analyze your life choices so you can figure out what you value most. Without so much noise and “stuff” you identify the pleasures you want to pursue. Some of these self indulgences are free. Some require you to get creative and direct money intentionally to the areas that will bring you more happiness and satisfaction.

It made me want to make a list of some of my favorite frugal indulgences so that I can be intentional about making them happen more often. It also helped me identify those that may require me to be more thrifty so I afford them.

  • I love wine and savoring a glass outside on my patio
  • I love taking walks in nature
  • I love shopping for cheap treasures at thrift stores and also finding items to “flip”
  • I love yard sales
  • I love listening to nature sounds spa music and lighting a candle when I take a shower
  • I love reading outside
  • I love meditating outside
  • I love sitting outside on the patio when it rains
  • I love eating a really good bar of dark chocolate
  • I love diffusing essential oils in all areas of the home
  • I love decorating my home
  • I love the changing of the seasons
  • I love climbing into bed with luxury hotel quality sheets and comforters
  • I love making my bedroom and master math feel like a luxurious resort retreat
  • I love art and finding ways to display it in my home
  • I love Buddha statues and figurines
  • I love the teals, turquoise, blues, and greys
  • I love prisms and crystals
  • I love movies
  • I love travel
  • I love really, really good food
  • I love eating out

When you identify the things that matter most to you and that enhance your life experience the most you can see that some are free and some are frugal. Other things need to become goals and making frugal choices can help you begin to afford those things. Do you really care if your running car has 100,000 miles and hail damage dents if the lack of car payment means you are putting $300 a month in your bi-annual beach vacation fund? Do you care if you need to make coffee at home in the mornings and pack sack lunches if it means you get to eat out with your family once a week at your favorite restaurant? Likely not.

This is being frugal with a purpose….being intentional with your dollars and making them go where you want them to go. When you do that…you can feel good about all your frugal choices because they are not depriving you, they are instead allowing you to pursue the life pleasures that matter the most.

Saturday, September 2nd, 2017

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28
Aug

Save Money & Trees by Cutting Your Toilet Paper Usage in Half

by Tiffany in A Green Home

When you ask minimalists, frugalists, or tree huggers how you can get by with no wasteful toilet paper or “less” toilet paper you will typically hear them sing the praises of family cloth. I have dabbled with it myself over the years but usually return to toilet paper, for the sake of less laundry.

Family cloth is is basically the use of reusable cloth rags or wipes instead of toilet paper. You have a collection of the cloths by the toilet and a receptacle for their storage until you can wash them. You then wash them with your other laundry a couple times a week or if that makes you squeamish you can wash them on their own, much the same way we cloth diaper enthusiasts washed our baby’s diapers.

It’s not a perfect system by any means as the thought of soiled cloth rags being stored in the bathroom for any length of time is not appealing to many. Having to wash soiled anything regularly is not appealing to many, and that is okay. I was not comfortable using family cloth for anything other than pee personally. But like I said, with three kids, laundry is already a daunting responsibility so extra loads for the sake of reusable wipes became too much for me.

Why am I trying to get rid of toilet paper though?

Well, it has always bothered me that I am buying a product everything month to use and throw away. It just seems wasteful. The recycled toilet paper options are no good because they contain BPA due to paper receipts being recycled. You can’t feel good about using a recycled product if the end product is harmful to your health.

I also hate paying for toilet paper. Sure, its only $10 or so a week but that is $40 dollars a month that could be used for something else.

So I decided to see if adding a bidet to our existing toilet might be a better option. I was introduced to the idea through a facebook group where family cloth was being discussed and several European folks started talking about their love of bidets and their need for little to no toilet paper. A big selling feature is that you are also much cleaner when you wash your tushie rather than just wipe it. It also seemed like it might be rather refreshing for women during their monthly cycle as well.

Thus began my research. I knew I wanted a bidet sprayer that you can add to your existing toilet and not an actual bidet. I also knew I wanted the sprayer to be hands free and under the toilet seat, not a handheld sprayer that attached to the wall (they often leak). I researched many different brands, models, and price points. I looked for one that was easy to install, inexpensive, attractive looking, and that had good reviews.  I did not care to buy one with a heated water feature, cold water is fine by me. There are are heated water bidets on the market though. You can even buy one with a heated seat and blow dry mechanism. For me though I did not want a toilet with so many features that I need a remote control.

I settled on the Luxe Bidet Neo 120. It was nice looking and had great reviews. I have been using it for about two months now and I am super pleased! The sprayer pressure is very strong, even to the point of being a little painful if I turn it up full blast, so no weak spray action here. The sprayer is also behind a small door and is not visible until you set it to spray. This helps keep the sprayer clean by keeping it from being splashed with dirty water every time you flush.

This bidet also has a self clean setting. You simply turn the dial the opposite way and it will spray inside the small door that covers it…using a high powered spray to wash the spray mechanism and the inside of the cover. I use this feature regularly and also spray it with my bathroom cleanser of choice once a week, when I clean the toilet bowl.

I recently remodeled my master bathroom water closet and I don’t think the bidet detracts from the design. It also works quite well and reduces the need for much toilet paper. After spraying yourself clean you can simply dry with a washcloth and because its just water on the cloth you can use the same one throughout the week. Each family member can have their own if you are sharing a bathroom. I do tend to use a small bit of toilet paper for drying after bowel eliminations just to make sure everything is clean. I would rather use paper for that confirmation, rather than cloth. So I am not toilet paper free but pretty darn close!

Save Money on Toilet Paper with a Bidet

26
Aug

Tips on Creating An Indoor Herb Garden and Its Benefits

by Tiffany in Gardening

Are you planning to build your indoor herb garden? Did you know that having your indoor garden has a lot of advantages? Get to know how you can create your indoor herb garden and the benefits that you can get from them by reading the information below.

People who are a big fan of homemade meals with fresh herbs will love the comfort of having an indoor herb garden. Just a few leaves can bring out the rich flavor of the meal. If you have a window in your home that can get enough sunlight of at least 4 hours, there is every likelihood you can have the indoor garden.

There are a lot of herbs growing indoors which can improve the taste of many foods. Some of these are thyme, basil, chervil, oregano, savory, bay leaf, rosemary, chives and as well as mint.

Get to know how you can create your indoor herb garden by reading the steps below.

Choose an Area with Enough Light

You need to make sure that the planting area is receiving light. It would be best if the area can get 8 hours of artificial or direct sunlight. Some herbs that need more light, including coriander and basil, wherein they need 8 hours of sunlight each day. Otherwise, you can provide them with artificial lights by using 2 to 3 fluorescent lights to help increase yield and growth.

If you are planning to grow a wide variety of herbs, you can use a small halide light as this can  cover a larger space. It will also help the herbs to grow abundantly, which can assist you with your aromatic and culinary delights.

Choosing the Right Kind of Soil

There are herbs which can grow better when they are planting in poor soil, wherein they can even develop a stronger flavor. The reason behind this is because the herbs’ oil are what makes them unique. Herbs growing rapidly are often producing leaves and stems that are plain. Therefore, it would be better using poor soil when planting herbs so they can take their time to grow and produce flavorful leaves.

Setting Up Your Containers Correctly

Create Indoor Herb Garden

Always put in mind that growing plants in a container is somewhat different. You need to ensure that you are providing adequate food for the plants. To keep the growth rates in perfect control, using soil mix which are enhanced with fertilizers or water-retention crystals.

You can do this by combining a couple of part of fiber to a part of perlite, and starting adding 20% of worm casting. You also need to check the pH of the mix, if it is too acidic then adding a gram of hydrated lime to the soil would be best. When you are finished, you can add a tablespoon of a kelp meal for every gallon of soil as this will add some plant hormones which is necessary for the micro-organism.

Water Only When Necessary

Do not overwater your herbs because they prefer soil that can drain fast. You can only water them if you think that the soil is already getting dry. The containers should have holes at the bottom. You also need to add in some layers of broken tiles or any other flat stones. Some people prefer using gravel or perlite for each of their containers. Always remember that it is better to water the herbs thoroughly but not too often. You will realize the sign of overwatering once there is water coming out of the container’s bottom part.

Feed Your Herbs Right

After 10 days of planting your herbs, it is strongly advisable to start feeding them. Typically, the roots of the herbs are stuck in just one space; this means that the feed will be able to reach the roots almost immediately.

Providing Your Herbs with Extra Boost  

You can provide your herbs with extra help by using liquid seaweed and a gallon of B1 plant solution. B1 is consists of root hormones and vitamins, while the seafood has growth hormones and traces of nutrients. Adding these mixtures will help in the production of the herbs’ oil.

Harvesting the Herbs

Now, once the herbs are ready, you need to collect them as soon as possible. Typically, it will take 4 to 6 weeks for the herbs to be available, but this will, of course, depend on the type of herb you are growing. If you have planted basil, then you can start harvesting it even before the flowers start to open.

Additional Tips on How to Keep Your Herbs Healthy

  • When planting your herbs, do not overcrowd them. They need space so that their roots can spread out freely. It will also help them get adequate sunlight.
  • The container should be big enough for the roots to avoid from struggling once they start growing.
  • Lastly, you need to regularly trim your herbs to give the plants time to continue growing. You can use the herbs daily to ensure that you are cutting them the right way.

These are tips on how you can create your indoor herb garden easily. But what are the benefits that you can get from having your indoor herb garden? Let’s find out below:

Easy Access to Fresh Herbs

One of the noticeable benefits is having fresh herbs all year round. You no longer need to hurry to the store just to get a few leaves for your meal.Just wait for them to be ready so you can snap a few leaves to make your dish mouth-watering.

Be Healthy

Adding herbs to your daily diet is also ideal because it will help boost the value of vitamins in your meals. Also, since you are planting the herbs in your indoor garden, this can become excellent exercise. You have to bend, dig, and stretch. You will effortlessly kill two birds with one arrow.

Have Great Experience

You, as well as your family, can experience this planting thing together. When it comes to gardening, there will always be something new worth learning. From different techniques in gardening to new recipes with herbs; everything will surely be a great experience for the entire family.

Save Money

It can be expensive to purchase herbs in the grocery each time you want to play with the textures and flavors. There are also some herbs that are hard to find, wherein you need to go to a specialty store just to locate the herb that you need. But if you have your indoor herb garden, all you have to purchase are the seeds that you can grow and the feeds that will help maintain the plants’ health.

Relieve Stresses

Tending your herb garden indoors contribute to reducing stresses from daily life. The scent and the sight of your herbs can certainly be a great delight.

After knowing the benefits of having a indoor garden, it would be better to know more about the variety of herbs which can be grown.

Wide Variety of Herbs to Plant

There are different types of herbs, in fact, basil has more than 30 varieties. Typically some of the most exotic varieties can be expensive when purchased at the grocery or the specialty store. But if you have them in your garden you no longer have to spend any penny.

Ideal Herb Plants to Grow

Chives

One of the best types of herbs to grow are chives, which are small types of onion that can be incorporated in most dishes. This kind of herb is also known to have medicinal properties and can help repel different species of insects, such as mosquitoes, fleas, and cabbage moths. This makes chives ideal for herb gardens because it will help protect the other herbs.

Parsley

Another great herb to plant is parsley. In fact, most gardeners have this kind of herb. Parsley is a part of most dishes today, including steak, chicken, stews, and as well as potatoes. This herb does not only help your food taste good, but it can also help improve your immune system because of its antioxidant content.

Basil

If you are into Italian cuisine, then basil is a must in your garden. Basil contains antioxidant-rich volatile essential oils, which give the herb its distinct smell and taste . Another good reason for planting basil is that it can be used to manage diabetes or treat asthma because of the antiviral properties.

Rosemary

Rosemary comes from the region of Mediterranean and is used for a lot of dishes today, including pork and chicken. This drought tolerant plant grows best in somewhat dry soil so you don’t need to make much effort to water it. Rosemary also has an excellent reputation for oily skin/acne, scalp and hair care.

Thyme

No matter what recipe you have, you can easily incorporate thyme, especially the freshly picked ones. The good thing about thymes is that it can be stored for an extended period of time, which means that you can store some of the leaves for future use. You also don’t need to worry about this plant because it can tolerate drought and different climates. Lastly, it is an excellent antiseptic and can also be used as tea to help with bronchitis.

Always remember that growing your indoor herbs can be a challenge, wherein you will be experiencing some trial and error. You may sometimes over water the herbs, or you may forget to water it. But you should not get discouraged because you will eventually get the hang of it.

Everything that you need on how to create an indoor herb garden, to the benefits and the best herbs to plant are written above. All you have to do now is to put them into reality, but starting your indoor herb garden at home. Don’t forget to do the tips above for you ensure that your herb garden will become successful.

Start your indoor herb garden now for you to be able to reap the benefits that these herbs have.

Source

4
Aug

How Parents Can Protect Their Children When They Are Online

by Tiffany in Children

The World Wide Web is endless, providing people from all walks of life entertainment and information at will. Children are especially curious, so they are more than likely going to spend more time surfing the web than adults. For this reason, parents need to find effective ways to keep them safe, when they are online. If you are not familiar with the dangers lurking on every corner of the Internet, you may want to start your quest with thorough research. Below, you will discover several tips that will help you keep your child safe, when they are online.

Know Who Your Child Is Talking To

It is not unusual for a young child to have an account on every social media platform, such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. These are wonderful and safe places to meet and communicate with others, but it can also pose some dangers for young children. Just because someone presents to your child as a 9 year old, will not always make it so. In fact, many predators will utilize social media platforms to access small children. Get to know the people your child is communicating with, by contacting them directly. If they post photos do a quick reverse image search to see if those photos have been stolen from someone else. That is a sure sign they are not who they claim to be.

If your child utilizes a cellphone, you can always take advantage of parental control apps, which offer an array of benefits. You can block mysterious calls from strangers to reduce the risk of them coming into contact with a predator.

Restrict Downloads

Children are continuously downloading and uploading files. There is just something about these processes that children find exciting. While most children will stick with video game apps for downloading, others will go beyond the norm and download apps just because they look interesting. When your child is downloading files and apps, you honestly do not know what type of content is housed in them. In fact, they could be downloading an app that appears to be educational related, but in fact it is contains adult material.

When a parental control app, like Kidgy it is possible to determine what applications and programs your child has downloaded on their smartphone. You can even do this without the child ever finding out that you are checking up on them. Even though your child is young, they still take their privacy very seriously.

Monitor Websites Accessed By Your Child

Back in the day, parents could access cookies on their child’s computer to see which websites they visited. Today, children will erase the cookies, just so their parents cannot find out this information. What your child does not know is you have parental control apps at your disposal. These apps are designed to allow parents to access the websites their children visit on their cellphone. This software is worth millions to parents, who are concerned about their children’s safety, when they are browsing the Internet.

By accessing the current website history, you will be able to find out what type of content your child is viewing. No parent wants to think of their child gaining access to adult or provocative content that is inappropriate for young children. With the parental control app, you will be able to utilize discretion, when monitoring your child’s online activities.

Block Inappropriate Websites

While some parental control apps provide parents access to websites frequented by their children, others will allow them to block the inappropriate websites. This is definitely a great feature that will prove to be valuable for parents that are concerned about their child’s safety online. By blocking the website, your child will no longer be able to access it. This will not only offer convenience, but also give you peace of mind, since you cannot monitor your children every minute of the day.

Locate Your Child Outside The Home

Most cellphones are embedded with a GPS, which allows others to pinpoint their exact location. When children are outside alone, parents can never be assured of their safety. It is not unusual for a parent to become concerned, when they cannot contact their child on their cellphone. If your child’s phone is embedded with a GPS, you will be able to pinpoint their exact location in a matter of seconds. Some parental control apps offer GPS location with a very detailed map, which will help you find the child with ease.

Ways to Protect Children Online