Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I've been inspired by many blogs whose mantra is to live simply and frugally. One of the recurring themes is to reuse and recycle as much as possible, so as to be budget friendly and reduce the waste that they are producing. I've tried really hard to start thinking about what I'm throwing out: can it be recycled, can it be reused, or can it be given away. I'm so proud to report that we have had one garbage bag full of garbage this week. Just one. I've been recycling as much as possible and can conclude that it makes a huge difference in the amount of waste we throw into the garbage can. You know the frustration that comes when you need to throw out the large cereal box-- it takes up half up the garbage can. But instead of throwing it away, you can recycle the box and, boy, does it free up your garbage space!

Grant (lovingly) rolls his eyes at me when I tell him I want a compost bin, but I am seriously thinking about it. To be able to reduce my garbage even more by "recycling" my food scraps would be awesome- and the added benefit of compost for the garden is a great incentive.

Anyway, that's my post for today. Hope you are having a great Tuesday!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Random Post

I've been a bad blogger lately. This will be my fourth post so far this month. Oh my faithful two readers, I fear I may have lost you! I must and can do better than this. The truth of the matter is that I've been super busy at night and on the weekends. I've had dance classes/rehearsals up to five times a week. I don't get to eat dinner until 9:30 and by the time I'm done, I'm exhausted and ready for bed. Oh, by the way, mark your calendars for March 27 (7:00)and March 28 (2:00) for the Rainbow Dance concert at Cary Academy. We had our first showing last night and the pieces are beautiful, quirky, elegant and just plain fun. My dance falls in the quirky and fun category! And this will probably be the only time to see me in a polka dot bathing suit and swim cap. It will be like "Where's Waldo"-- I dare you to be able to spot me in the dance. Double dare!

My big plans for tonight are to gather some things up in our house for our church's yard sale. Grant and I have tackled the attic, I've tackled the guest bedroom and now it's time to do our room. I love a clutter free home and I'm trying to live by the mantra "live simply," so this needs to be done. I also have another dance rehearsal tomorrow, so that will take up my morning and afternoon. Then FINALLY some down time. What will I do with myself? I know what needs to be done and that is to cook, clean and go to the Farmer's Market. But I make no promises! There are also some knitting projects that need to be completed and some cards to be sent out.

Anyway, I've just enjoyed my last peanut M&M and am now ready for lunch! Sidenote- I have never in my life craved candy, but I read a girl's post that said her favorite food was peanut M&Ms and oh my, the beast raged inside me and I had to run down the 5 flights of stairs to the vending machine. If it matters, I ran back up the stairs (2 at a time) to burn some of the calories that I was about to consume. Oh well, they did have peanuts in them.

Anyway, hope my two readers are having a fabulous Friday and a lovely weekend! 'Till next time.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

TOP 10

I just have to brag for a second. I entered a Valentine's Day card swap earlier this month at Little Birdie Secrets (very fun craft site). They chose my card as one of the top 10!! I'm so excited. The voting has already ended (otherwise I'd beg you to go vote for me). I didn't win, but that's okay, it was an honor to be chosen! Check it out here. My card is number 10.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Homemade Detergents

I admit it-- I love the smell of Tide laundry detergent. It's glorious, strong, fresh and CLEAN smelling. I think this love affair happened while I was living on my own and able to buy whatever laundry detergent my heart desired-- see, growing up my family did not purchase the good stuff (we went for cheap) and one family member had sensitive skin, so we always had to purchase the non-fragrant type of detergent. This did not sit well with me, so as soon as I was away from home, the good stuff was bought.

However, in my quest to find alternative solutions to household chemicals, I thought I should try to find a recipe for homemade laundry and dish detergent. I felt that if I am requesting Grant to give up his need for the Clorox spray cleaner then I should sacrifice something in return. Oh, sweet Tide, it's been a great ride! Sidenote: I am not nearly in love with my dish detergent- in fact, I find it quite a nuisance when it runs out and I have to purchase more. No love affair there.

Besides reducing the amount of toxins that I am putting into the earth and against our skin, it is cheaper to make your own detergents.

I have made and used both recipes and can report that they work great. My clothes are clean and smelling of peppermint and my dishes are clean and clear!

* * * *
Herbal Dishwasher Detergent (recipe courtesy of Frugal Granola)

1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup Borax
2 drops essential Tea Tree Oil (optional)
2 drops essential Lavender Oil (optional)

Mix all ingredients in a tightly lidded container, stirring well to combine the oils into the powder. Use 1 Tbl. in each dispenser cup in my dishwasher (a total of 2 Tbls).

Tip: Fill your rinse aid dispenser with white vinegar. I have tried this and it works great!

* * * *
Peppermint Laundry Detergent (recipe courtesy of Healthy Vegan)

(Small Batch (18 loads)- I went ahead and doubled recipe)
½ cup Borax
½ cup Washing Soda
½ bar of Dr. Bronner's Peppermint (or Lavendar) Organic Pure-Castile Soap grated (or you can use any bar of soap)

Grate the soap with a carrot grater or food processor. Place all ingredients in an airtight container and shake. Use 1 tablespoon per load (note: I have found that I need 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons per load).

Healthy Vegan's disclaimer:
Scary Stuff – If you read all the info on Borax and Washing Soda, you may decide that this recipe seems too toxic, but if you research every single ingredient in commercial detergent (that is if they fully disclose the ingredients - most don’t), you will find lots of bad stuff. I believe everyone should be an informed consumer, and I am happy with my three little ingredients.

* * * *
I found all the supplies right here in my area.

Borax- can be found at Target, Kroger in laundry section (about $2.95 per box- and this is a huge box)
Washing Soda- I found at Kroger in laundry section (I bought the Arm & Hammer brand) (about $2.00 per box, again a big box)
Dr. Bronner's Soap- any health food store, Kroger ($3.91 per bar (get two batches with one bar))
Essential Oils- health food store (prices vary)

So, there you have it. I encourage you to try this recipe if you are looking for a way to save some money and perhaps be a bit kinder to the earth and your skin!

Friday, February 6, 2009

"Real Food: What to Eat and Why"

So, I've alluded to this book before-- "Real Food: What to Eat and Why" by Nina Planck. Grant got it for me on a whim at Christmas and, I can honestly say it was the best Christmas present. Fantastic, easy to read, inspiring information.

Did I mention that if I ever went back to school I would want to study nutrition. I think it is so fascinating to know what nourishes and heals the body. I know, however, that I have different views on nutrition than the mainstream nutritionist. But that is what makes the world go 'round, I suppose!

This book is worth reading. Really, it is.

Here are the chapter topics:

*Real Milk, Butter, and Cheese

*Real Meat

*Real Fish

*Real Fruits and Vegetables

*Real Fats

*Industrial Fats

*Other Real Foods

*Beyond Cholesterol

*The Omnivore's Dilemma

I know that this book has inspired me to shop locally at my farmer's market, to look for "real" food products, to remember my mom and dad's values while growing up (i.e., margarine is poison, butter is good!), to think about the way people used to eat, and to value my body and the way it is designed to thrive with real nutrition.