30
Jan

Ginger Infused Honey Home Remedy

by Tiffany in Health & Healing

Ginger Infused Honey Home RemedyLocal, raw honey is a powerhouse for natural healing and it can be infused with herbs and other medicinal plants so that you can address specific concerns. When you infuse it with ginger for instance it becomes a great aid for nausea and other intestinal illnesses, such as the flu. A home remedy of ginger infused honey is actually really easy to make, it just takes a bit of time. You must plan ahead and make some before the illness the strikes so that you have some on hand when you need it. It is just part of your natural home apothecary.

Ginger Infused Honey for Nausea & Stomach Flu

2 pieces ginger (thumb size)
1/2 lemon (sliced)
1/4 C chamomile flowers
1/4 C cinnamon bark (chipped)
12 cloves
10 cardamom pods
2 C local raw honey

Fill a pint sized mason jar with your dry ingredients and cover with honey. Allow to steep for six weeks.

After six weeks, warm the jar by soaking in warm water. Once the honey is warm strain the herbs and plant parts out and bottle the honey in a clean mason jar.

Whenever nausea or other intestinal bugs strike, take a teaspoon as needed. Feel better!

29
Jan

Eco-Friendly Gardening Practices

by Tiffany in Gardening

Eco-Friendly Gardening PracticesGardening can be hard on the environment if you don’t know what you’re doing. This may seem seem impossible since gardening and cultivating the earth seem so earth friendly but think about the impacts of what you are doing. Are you using chemical fertilizers? Are you buying plants raised with bee killing neonicotinoid pesticides?Are you using unsustainable amounts of water?  There are eco-friendly gardening practices that you can use to lessen the impact on Mother earth. Here are easy gardening tips you can use to reduce pressure on the environment.

Reduce Water Usage

There are many ways to reduce water usage when gardening. You can use mulch, which will keep water from evaporating into the environment. Mulching reduces the need to fertilize as much too. It’s important to use sustainable and all-natural mulch products that are free from pesticides and chemicals.

Another option is to utilize grey water. The same water you used to shower with or wash clothes with can be used in the garden if you set up a greywater system and change a few household products and practices. Recycled water? Yes please!

Replace Grass

Grass is a big water-sucking plant that has no use other than its looks. Instead go with clover, creeping thyme, or even rock. The less grass you have compared to other types of plants, the more you’ll cut down on water waste.

Use Native Plants

When you use plants that are native to your area, it means they’ve adjusted to the climate and don’t need as much outside intervention to grow healthy and strong. Remove foreign invasive plants and replace with what is native to your area. You may have to ask at your local extension service which plants are indigenous to get started.

Invest in Irrigation

For plants that do need regular watering, and gardens, consider an irrigation system that measures the amount of water the plants are getting. This will help you avoid over watering, as well as keep you informed about how much natural rain has occurred so you don’t have to use as much tap water.

A rain barrel to harvest rainwater is another important aspect of any eco friendly garden. Turning on the tap should be a last resort and depending upon how many barrels you have, you can collect hundreds of gallons of water for those times when rain is sparse.

Use Natural Weed Control

Believe it or not, plants have different natural weed control properties. You can control all kinds of pests with the right plants. Consider different ground covers based on the pest you’re trying to avoid. You may want to plant creeping wintergreen, juniper or verbena. You can even use essential oils in the garden. Just remember to plant water-thirsty plants together and drought resistant plants together.

Use Recycled Goods in the Garden

Don’t go out and buy a bunch of brand new gardening stuff when you can repurpose things you already have. This saves money and planetary resources. Instead of seed planters use eggshells, toilet paper rolls, and newspaper. Instead of buying cloches, use milk jugs. Garden fabric for weeds can be avoided with newspaper and cardboard. Get creative!

Use Organic Soil and Compost

To keep your garden and yard happy, it’s best to use organic products that are pesticide free and disease free. By far the easiest and cheapest route is to make your own compost. It is incredibly easy and it turns your soil into nutrient rich black gold! Everyone should have a compost pile.

Use Push Reel Mowers

A push reel mower doesn’t use fuel and it cuts the grass differently than fuel-powered mowers. Plus, leaving the clippings behind can actually help the soil. And if you’ve cut down the areas that have grass, this will be perfect for your postage size of grass. Oh, and if you allow clover to overtake the grass you have to mow even less!

By implementing these eco-friendly gardening practices, you can cut your own carbon footprint to the point where you may even negate it. We need to be leaving the soil better than we found it!

26
Jan

Cutting Cable From the Budget, Easier Than You Think!

by Tiffany in Frugal Green

Cut Cable tipsWhenever you read articles or blog posts about budgeting and saving money there is always, always a tip to disconnect your cable and save $80-100+ a month. While I cannot dispute that this is a great tip and great way to save money, I was always firmly in the heck no camp. I don’t watch a huge amount of TV but I do have some shows I like to watch…Property Brothers, Outlander, Grimm, Supernatural, etc. Some of those I could watch on my computer but honestly I don’t enjoy watching that way. Therefore getting rid of cable was not going to happen.

A funny thing happened when we moved last year though. We were basically forced to get rid of cable because our preferred provider (and the one we got for a very discounted rate) was not available in our new neighborhood. We had to decide if paying full price with a new provider was worth it and for me, it wasn’t. Well, I was willing to go without for a couple months and see how we managed. It has been over six months now and we have managed just fine. In fact, I cannot even believe I waited this long to make the leap. I wasted some serious money on cable for YEARS!

Cable TV Alternatives

In general cable service costs about $80-$100 per month. For much less you can subscribe to streaming services and/or buy a couple devices and still manage to watch most or all of your favorite shows.

Streaming Services or Software:

We have Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Kodi. Netflix is kid friendly and my son loves it. It has a collection of TV shows and movies. The movies and shows are all older (already aired) with the exception of their original shows, which are pretty good if you ask me.

Amazon Prime has a collection VERY similar to Netflix so it may seem redundant to have both but I use their two day shipping often and I also use Prime Music. Amazon prime also offers subscriptions to Starz and Showtime for $7.99 a month I think. This is a great way to get premium cable channels without having to pay for the basic channels. This feature will allow me to watch my fave show, Outlander, without paying for cable and I only need to subscribe while the show is in season.

Hulu is a streaming service that allows you to watch current shows from several major networks. You can usually watch your favorite TV shows within a day or two of them airing.

Kodi is free software that you can install on a laptop computer or even a Firestick (though it must be jailbroken first). With this software you can stream just about anything….from TV shows that just aired (including cable ones) to movies that are still in theatres. I don’t say this to enter into a debate about ethical streaming I am just pointing out that Kodi provides it all. With Kodi I can watch just about every single TV show I want and any movie I want, new or old. To watch it on an actual TV and not a computer you just plug the laptop into your TV (HDMI). The Firestick attaches in the same way.

Streaming Devices:

You will need a device to use streaming services, unless you have a smart TV.

We have all of the above. Rokus are the most user friendly way to stream Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. You just plug a Roku in using an RCA connection (like you would a DVD player). You can also get one with an HDMI connection. Streaming can be set up in minutes as long as you already have the accounts with the streaming services, like Netflix.

Gaming consoles can also stream the popular subscription channels but you may need to pay a membership fee to the game manufacturer…xBox for instance requires an xBox Live membership and PS4 requires Playstation Plus which average $55-$60 a year.

Our monthly for streaming services is only $22. If you add in game console memberships (x3) that brings it to $33 a month. $33 a month and the whole family can watch whatever we want to watch…from local channels to cable shows to movies. That is about $800 a year in savings.

Are you willing to try it?

18
Jan

Harvesting Greywater for Garden Usage

by Tiffany in Gardening

Harvesting Greywater for Garden UsageOne of the most cost-effective and eco-friendly things a gardener can do is recycle water for use in the garden. Harvesting greywater to water vegetable plants and trees helps them thrive during times of drought, reduces your carbon footprint on the earth and will also help to lower your household’s water expenses.

What is Greywater?

Greywater is water that has already been used in other household applications and gone down the drain. Water from sinks, showers, bath tubs and washing machines is called greywater. The used water will have traces of dirt, soap, hair, grease and household cleaning products in it which makes it have a grayish color, that’s how the gently used water got its name. These trace elements in the greywater can actually be good for plants and provide them with nutrients that help them grow. It all depends on what else gets washed down the drain.

Water from toilets is not suitable for recycling in the garden, nor is laundry water which has been used to wash cloth diapers. Toxics like paints, hair dye, or harsh cleaners, should never enter the greywater system, and should instead be routed through the municipal sewer.

How It’s Harvested

It will require a little elbow grease and perhaps some ingenuity to set up a catchment system for the greywater so it can be harvested and re-used.

PVC pipe can be attached to the drain systems of sinks, showers, tubs and washing machines so the used water can drain off to a separate location instead of going into the septic system. PVC pipes can be installed underground and take the water directly to the garden to provide moisture to growing plants from below the soil level.

PVC pipes can be connected to in-house drains and fabricated to carry the greywater to a central outdoor holding location so that the used water can be re-used at the gardener’s discretion.

A very simple and easy approach some homeowners use to catch greywater is to install drain pipes under the sinks, tubs and washing machines and run the open end of the pipes through the exterior walls to the outside. Barrels or tubs are placed under the open-ended pipes to catch the greywater and the gardener can use it as needed.

You will likely need to make some changes in what products you use and send down the drain but you won’t always be perfect so your system should have a three-way valve, which will allow wastewater to be routed back through the sewer as needed. A good filter designed for recycling greywater for garden use is also a good idea!

Household Changes

If water is to be re-used on plants, a few changes may be needed in the household to make the water safe for plant life. Using safer soaps for cleaning and bathing will be good for both you and your garden. Look for products that are biodegradable or biocompatible. Harsh cleaning chemicals, like chlorine bleach, will need to be avoided too. You will need to become a label reader if you are not already but all that water for your garden is worth it! And honestly if the product is not good for the earth can it really be that good for your body? Think about it.

Product Ingredients to Avoid in Greywater:

  • boron/borax
  • any ingredient with the word “sodium” in it
  • chlorine bleach
  • sodium perborate
  • sodium hypochlorite
  • petroleum distillate
  • alkylbenzene
  • water softeners
  • anti-bacterial soaps & cleaners
  • optical brighteners
  • enzymes
  • titanium oxide
  • chromium oxide
  • artificial colors
  • synthetic fragrance

Good laundry detergents for greywater systems:

Homemade detergents – the ones based on soap and washing soda – are not an option because of their salt content.

Good soaps and shampoos for greywater systems:

Read your labels!! Most bar soaps have sodium ingredients so liquid is your best bet.

Once you get your greywater system set up and you buy the right household products, you can feel confident that you can sustain a garden even through droughts by simply reusing the water from your household. Good luck!

13
Jan

Not Your Child GPS Devices For Kids

by Tiffany in Children

A few weeks ago I posted about wearable GPS trackers for kids and why this may be a trend for parenting of the future. I am not by any means a helicopter parent and I won’t be tracking my teens everywhere they go but even with my more relaxed, free range parenting ways I saw a need for devices like these.

As I explained in that post, I am the mom of two special needs children (autism spectrum) and one in particular has a tendency to wander. Parents of high needs children have enough on their plates as it is. Anything that can alleviate some of our ever constant worries, gets an A+ from me.

For a couple weeks I have been able to test drive the Not Your Child GPS trackers.

not your child gps

I love that the device is small and sturdy. It is after all going to be in the hands of littles who don’t quite grasp the concept of being gentle. It can easily go in a backpack pocket, pants pocket, or it can be put on the custom lanyard that comes with the device. That way it can be worn on their person. I personally liked to use it in a cargo pants pocket. That way my son didn’t even have to know it was there…and frankly no one else would either if something nefarious is your concern. The lanyard option though is great for travel or a trip to the state fair where you can put it around their neck when you head out.

It is so small and light that it would be amazing to take with you while traveling. Congested subways and busy cities would not be so nerve racking if you had this little bit of piece of mind with you. It works in 103 different countries.

The device and service allows you to set a variety of alerts to be delivered to your cell phone by S.M.S or via email; alerts including…

  • S.O.S – emergency
  • Geo-fences  – notification of them leaving and leaving a predetermined address or area
  • Landmarks – What landmarks are nearby
  • Speeding – how fast they are going and if they have reached or exceeded the speed threshold you have set
  • Status – idle, moving, stopped, speed altitude, direction of movement
  • Low battery (threshold also customizable)

I can see the value in many of these as an autism mom but if you are the type who just wants to spy a little on your older kids…well it would be easy to do. It might also be a good way to look into route and speed information for the transportation services you use for childcare or schools.

As your children grow up and start using smartphones, Not Your Child can still grow with them. With their Track Now software, you can turn their phone into GPS tracker that has the same functionality you loved in wearable GPS device plus speed alerts to see how fast your child is driving, SOS alerts to notify you with the push of a button if they are in trouble when they cannot call or speak on the phone and more. Traffic accidents in rural areas and teen parties are two scenarios that come to mind where that would be handy.

It is a great device and service and I highly recommend it if your circumstances require it.

not your child device

This post was written in partnership with Not Your Child Corp. but as always the opinions I share here are my own and based on my own world view.