Have a great weekend all! I slept in on this glorious Saturday morning and then made everyone a sweet and salty breakfast combo, muskmelon and bacon. It is cold and dreary here in Ohio so maybe it is a movie day? A laundry day most likely. I hope the weather warms up a bit tomorrow. We want to break in our annual passes to our local zoo.
Today is the last day to buy the new Herb Fairies series/set. I have now read the first book in the series and OH MY GOODNESS it is great. My 7 year old son and 9 year old daughter will be over the moon for it I think. The main characters are some really empowered children who grew up with herbalist parents. Yet there are also some child characters who not have quite their comfort level with the great outdoors so it is a fun mix. This set goes away tonight at midnight and won’t be available again until 2014 so don’t delay.
I wrote two articles elsewhere this week and wanted to share them…
I am a member of the Green Sisterhood. which is a group of amazing green women bloggers and business owners who have banded together to work towards our goals, both environmental and personal. They say everyone needs to find their tribe and the Green Sisterhood is an amazing tribe. I knew most of the women involved previously but getting together in this more intimate group has been so rewarding. I cannot wait to see what we can accomplish together. You can follow the blog for more great, green and conscious content as well. This week I wrote a post there about Unplugging the Family for Screen-Free Week, which is coming up at the end of April. It is a week when we are encouraged to unplug the TVs and computers and reconnect to real life, family, and nature. Will you join?
I also wrote over at Fit Frugal Fabulous about an issue that keeps many up at night…health insurance woes. If you cannot afford health insurance or you have a less than desirable plan there ARE still ways you can take charge of your healthcare. Traditional health care is really sick care and we CAN take steps to make sure we don’t need sick care. THAT is real health care! Read A ‘Do It Yourself’ Healthcare Plan When You Can’t Afford Health Insurance.
Other worthwhile links…
Good Girl Gone Green’s amazing Almond Pulp Bars - a delicious way to use up almond pulp leftover from making almond milk.
Litterati – This is an AMAZING site and idea. Basically when you are out and about, picking up library books or taking your kids to the park and you see a piece of litter, you take a photo with your camera and upload it to Instgram (follow me here) and tag it #Litterati. Then you recycle or throw away the litter. It creates a platform for people to unite and clean up the earth one piece of garbage at a time and the site tracks everyone’s efforts via a global map. The kids are actually loving this process and finding it game-like. Here is a piece we tagged this week, found along a roadway as we were walking.. Who throws an empty bottle of laundry detergent out of their car?!?
Books I am Reading:
Attack Your Day!: Before It Attacks You - FREE right now. It is an excellent book about being more productive.
You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap): How One Woman Radically Simplified Her Life and How You Can Too - A great read about a couple who live in one of those tiny houses and have very little by way of belongings.
Soap Maker’s Workshop: The Art and Craft of Natural Homemade Soap - Yep, I really, really want to try my hand at making my own soap. I have wanted to for years. One of these days….
After rediscovering fitness and exercise a couple years ago it quickly became apparent why fitness clothing is such a big business. When I joined a gym, and it stuck, I needed to go out and buy some fitness clothing. What I found second hand (my preferred way to shop) was usually not sufficient. The workout clothing was either worn to shreds by someone who actually used it or it was new with tags but in size XXS or XXL. There seemed to be little middle ground. So I had to buy some workout clothing and being used to second hand (aka cheap stuff) I went to big box stores where I could get away cheaply.
This ended up being a very bad idea. I bought two $5 tees, two fitness brand shirts, and one pair of fitness capris. All of it was cheap as I wanted but I soon figured out why it is best to leave the fitness clothing to the higher end companies who actually know what they are doing and are not simply trying to churn out a cheap product. I guess I knew this already but since I just going to sweat tons and get dirty in these clothes I figured maybe I could get away with it. Wrong.
Every single item that I bought that day I still have but yet I never ever wear them. I will happily do a last minute load of laundry just to avoid having to wear any of those items. Why? Well, now that I know what good quality workout gear fits and feels like I cannot stand to wear anything else. The old capris ride down and show my underpants when I bend over. They fit bizarrely in the crotch area too and I am always pulling at them. The shirts ride up and show my belly when I am doing burpees. The waist area feels tent like and the arm area doesn’t stay put when I am moving and gets all bunched up. The result is that I spend the workout worrying more about my clothing then performing my best. Well no more. Now I will actually save up if I have to…to get the gear I need. It hurts a bit to buy a $50 t-shirt or a $100 pair of pants but they perform well and they last much longer than the cheap stuff.
I recently got to try some pvBody workout clothing and have been very impressed. The outfit they sent me looks and feels like uber expensive compression gear which is very popular among CrossFitters because they allow for more blood flow to muscles. They fit like a glove and stay put, which is wonderful and they are also made with high quality materials so I know they will last a long time and stay looking nice. The top has a built in bra and it actually works so there is no need for that extra bit of clothing. I am a DD so that is no joke yo!
I have been really pleased with these items and I know they will be heavily used. The top can be worn in winter with a pair of compression sleeves and the pants keep me toasty warm but not overly hot once I break a sweat, whether I am running outside or rowing inside, or both. They will work for all seasons.
I have my eye on this amazing top next…with a built in bra, I could actually wear a criss-cross design like this.
Easy peasy lemon squeezy: pvBody is easy. Take the quiz, sign up and boom, an awesome package arrives at your door each month with a hand picked outfit for you!
Every outfit is styled just for you by a pvBody expert. Each month you receive an outfit worth $150, but you pay just $49.95. You’re getting great, quality pieces for a fraction of the retail cost thanks to the relationships pvBody has built.
pvBody is not just another clothing company, but a lifestyle brand. Their blog is a great place to check out tips and tricks for healthy, delicious meals and at home workouts.
Signing up for pvBody gets you a $15 Lululemon gift card, plus 25% off your first month subscription.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of pv.body. The opinions and text are all mine.
All summer long (and now well into the Fall) I have been using the power of wind and solar to dry a large portion of my clothes and bath towels thanks to a classic drying rack. I love the fact that I have saved pennies by not using my energy hog clothes dryer but I also just get such joy out of seeing clothes and towels blowing in the wind outside. Maybe my view of clothes on the line is a bit romantic but I always loved my summers at Grandmas’s farm, helping my mom putting clothing and bed sheets on the line to dry. It’s right up there with shucking fresh corn and tossing the husks over the fence so the horses could eat them. It just seems to epitomize the homestead lifestyle and return a little of that charm to our modern world.
I rent currently and don’t have much room to put a permanent clothes line so for two years it was all the dryer all the time and I felt bad about that. Then I saw a rave review about Homestead Drying Racks and after contacting them I received one for review. I ADORE it. It makes laundry go so much faster, taking probably two loads a day out of my dryer and using wind/solar power to dry them. I also find that it does not adversely effect my stinky bath towels action plan. The towels don’t actually need to be sterilized in a hot dryer…the sun (and the tea tree oil I use in the wash) works just as well. Clothes and towels are a bit on the crunchy side but I don’t mind that at all.
I cannot comment on the ease of putting it together, or not, because hubby did that but I think it only took him about 30 minutes. Our younger kiddos were over the moon thinking it was some sort of climbing toy for them. Ha! It is sturdy but not THAT sturdy. I like that I can fold it flatish and lay it against a wall so that it is out of the way when need be and I like that it is pretty light because I transfer it from kitchen to back porch when I want to use it. In the winter we may use it in the basement for drying clothing but more than likely it will stay in the kitchen and be used for hanging winter clothes and wool that have gotten wet from snow play. They can drip dry on the rack, conveniently positioned next to the heat register, and dry in a non-carpeted area. Perhaps they will actually be dry when the kids go out again only an hour or two later and I won’t have to listen to gripes about how awful it is to squeeze into wet snowsuits.
We have a pretty tiny porch so this rack is perfect for our needs. I think I have it down to a science as far as number of clothes/towels I can fit on it. This is the “Pioneer” rack from Homestead Drying Racks. They also have a “Homesteader” size which is much bigger but I was afraid it would not fit on our porch.
The “Peddler” size is perfect for indoor drying in small spaces like apartments or RVs and they even have an old fashioned hand ringer for ringing out wet clothing. From what I have experienced their racks are very high quality and it has been so useful and will no doubt continue to be throughout the year.
It is also perfect for my Vibram Fiver Fingers and Fila Skeletoes barefoot shoes. They need to be washed fairly often (CrossFit yo!) and cannot be dried lest they fall apart so I just wash them with the towels and then dry them on the rack, easy peasy.
If you are in the market for a drying rack or have ever thought about giving one a try please check out Homestead Drying Racks.
Also another fun tidbit…they have a free homestead magazine you can download as well. It is very well put together and very informative. Love it!
Global warming and the worldwide results of carbon pollution are like the national debt. It’s an overwhelming problem that lots of people would love to fix, but since most of us don’t know anything we can do it seems incurable. While no one individually feels like they can make a difference, all of us will start experiencing the negative difference it increasingly has on our lives. Carbon pollution won’t stop, or even decrease, unless each of us individually learns how to reduce our carbon footprint.
The good news is that there are lots of things you and I can do. Most of them are simple creative changes we can make in our daily routines that cost little or nothing with minimal effort. Here are 10 creative things you can do to decrease your carbon footprint:
1. Shop Online When Possible – Online shopping is a much greener way to buy, as fuel emissions are among the greatest contributors to environmental degradation. In this digital era you can find almost anything you can think of online. Also consider purchasing green friendly items online around the holidays like solar powered race cars for the kids, rechargeable batteries for your home, and other natural products.
2. Hang Up Your Laundry – Driers may get your laundry done faster, but once again, you can save yourself money and help the environment by hanging your clothes instead. They’ll also last longer and have that clean, fresh, summer-day smell.
3. Regularly Replace Your Air Filters – You might do this once per year, if you remember, but it’s time to keep this on a regular 3 month schedule. As simple as this step is, it can reduce energy bills, saving you money and reducing carbon waste.
4. Reuse Grocery Bags or Bring Your Own Bags – Those plastic bags at the checkout line add up to thousands of tons every year. Instead of tossing them out after putting your groceries away, set them aside for the next time you go shopping, or find other practical uses for them. Better yet, get a couple reusable canvas bags instead!
5. Use Energy Efficient Light Bulbs and AppliancesIt’s very hard to find old-style incandescent bulbs in most stores, but they might still be wasting electricity in your sockets. Compact fluorescent light bulbs are a great alternative, and we should all be using them by now!. They require roughly 70% less energy, for almost the same light output, and often last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs. Make the investment, and you might be surprised by how much energy you save.
6. Recycle Used Ink and Toner Cartridges Instead of Tossing Them Out – Many printer cartridges contain rare earth metals and other electrical components that the suppliers are happy for you to throw out without batting an eye. Instead of carelessly contributing to e-waste, send your empties to one of the numerous recycling programs, and purchase your toner cartridges from companies that sell recycled or remanufactured versions. Again, not only will you help the environment, but you will also save a lot of money on over priced printing supplies.
7. Buy Recycled Paper and Recycle Your Own Garbage – Paper is a huge annual waste of energy. From cutting trees, to processing in paper mills, transporting, and finally disposing waste paper; paper waste adds a huge strain on the environment. For only a slightly higher cost, which you can justify by saving money with other eco-friendly practices, you can protect a huge number of trees and teach your children the importance of being eco-conscious. Recycling your own garbage is a daily reminder to the kids that each person places a burden on the environment, and we should do all we can to minimize that.
8. Pay Your Bills Online – Another way to reduce waste from paper is to sign up for paperless bill pay, and manage your costs online. You can have a similar saving by reading the news online and cutting subscription to your local paper.
9. Grow Your Own Fruits and Vegetables or Buy Locally – Organic foods help reduce harm from pesticides and preservatives, but the ultimate is to grow your own food. This hobby will eliminate transportation costs, and all the pollution it involves. True, maintaining a garden is mentally rewarding, but we all know that fresh ingredients always taste much better!
10. Track Your Carbon Footprint – Everybody knows that counting calories is one of the best ways to lose weight. Some smartphone apps and websites now offer a similar opportunity where you can track your progress with a carbon footprint calculator. Over time you can see if you’re truly making progress or not, and make the necessary adjustments to your lifestyle. Of course, the more people that work on reducing our collective carbon footprint the better, so spread the knowledge to friends and family!
One of the most common questions I get from readers is “Where Do I Start”? They may know they want to make some changes but they really have no idea where to begin and that is perfectly normal. It can be daunting when you decide that you want to make your home healthier and greener, especially if all this is new to you. Most of us have time constraints and money constraints so that has to be considered as well. No matter which way you slice it though the easiest way to get started is to just pick a problem and fix it.
What are your hot button issues? Are you most worried about chemical cleaners, additives in your food, off gassing of plastic products, or getting the toxins out of your indoor air? Just keep a running list of things you want to change, products you want to buy, and ideas for greening and cleaning your household. Take this master list and compare it to your budget and your schedule and get started in any small way you can. Once you start ticking things off that list you will gain some momentum and you’ll realize that you have more influence over the health of your home environment than you think. Here are three ways you can get the toxins out of your home. These are as good a place to start as any.
Clean Up Your Your Laundry Routine
So what exactly is the smell of clean laundry? If you think it smells like a fresh mountain spring you are probably exposing your family to chemicals every time they wear clean duds and you are washing those same chemicals down the drain. That smell is actually a chemical perfume that scientists in white coats have spent hours tinkering with and it was not to make sure it was safe for you either. Lots of money goes into researching scented products because they know that scents sell the product. Skip it! The skin is your largest organ and wearing clothes cleaned in those chemical perfume products is like wearing a nicotine patch 24/7 but with perfume chemicals instead of nicotine.
Try greener, cleaner laundry products like soap nuts, Dr. Bronner’s, or one of my new favorites of late Roux Maison Essential Fragrance Free. LOVE this product! It is made with purified water, non-hazardous biodegradable surfactants, non-hazardous biodegradable salts, and 100% pure essential oils. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) Free, Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate (SLES) Free, Formaldehyde Free, Pthalate Free, 1,4 Dioxane Free, Paraben Free, Phosphate Free, Readily Biodegradable, Optical Brightener Free, Neutral pH, Not A Marine Pollutant, No Harmful Chemical Residue, No Animal Testing, Vegan, No Genetically Modified (GMO) Ingredients, Safe for Sensitive Skin, Ingredients Classified as Non-Hazardous, Low Sudsing. All in all, very good stuff.
Dryer sheets are also loaded with chemicals and we can avoid those by hanging clothes to dry on a clothes line or hanging racks. For days when you would prefer a dyer, perhaps in the winter or when it is raining, you can use dryer sachets made with lavender or wool dryer balls. These easy household hacks produce the same results but with less impact on planetary resources and on our health.
Clean the Air
Adding indoor plants is a lovely way to bring fresh air into the home. They do a great job cleaning the air and absorbing contaminants. Spider pants, ivy, and ferns are all good for this purpose. When the weather is fine it is also a good idea to open as many doors and windows as you can to let let things air out.
Indoor air purifiers are also a welcome addition to a clean and green home. We have been using our Bionaire purifiers/ionizers for many months now. I would hate to be without them!
Clean Your Bathroom
Start with the cleaners under your sink. If you currently use harsh chemical cleaners, switch to hot water, castile soap, baking soda, vinegar, and essential oils. Not only will your house smell fresh and clean without synthetic fragrance the germs will be just as dead. You can also rest easy that your family will not be poisoned.
Shampoo can be ditched in favor of a baking soda/apple cider vinegar routine or a shampoo bar. Toothpaste can be bought without fluoride or SLS. I personally like the coconut oil based toothpaste from Tropical Traditions. Lotions, potions, and other body products should be certified organic if possible and made with food based ingredients. Toss conventional over the counter meds in your medicine cabinet in favor of of homeopathic and herbal remedies. Reduce chlorine exposure in the shower and tub by using a chlorine filter.
Once you tackle some or all of these issues move on to the next area of concern… perhaps healthier foods or a safer sleeping environment. This is a process and we keep learning, growing, and changing as we go. The important part is to take that first step and make that first change. To your health!