Wordless Wednesday

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Give a Friend a Pumpkin

image My dear friend Valerie brought me a pumpkin today. In addition, she brought 4 jars of home-made salsa and a mini-bouquet of zinnias. It made my day!
What a great idea this is! Try taking your friend something special today. It can be as simple as a pumpkin. Or, as Joe Fox in “You’ve Got Mail” suggests, “a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils!”

Homemade Laundry Soap

image Monday is laundry day at our house. Since going green I’ve made a lot of changes to our laundry routine.
First thing to go was the commercial laundry detergent. With it’s many harmful chemicals (such as nonylphenol ethoxylates & chlorine bleach) I didn’t want to risk the health of my family or the health of our planet by using it. I now make my own laundry soap and it works quite well! It’s pretty simple, very inexpensive and makes about 5 gallons so it lasts a long time.

Materials:
2 bars soap, grated - I use Kirks soap as it has less un-natural ingredients and is only .99 a bar
1 c. Borax - Meijers sells this under the brand ‘20 Mule Team Borax’
1 c. Wash Powder - I get Arm & Hammer’s ‘Super Washing Soda’ from Meijers

Put grated soap in a medium-size saucepan and cover with water. Put on stove over low heat and stir until dissolved.
Fill a 5-gallon bucket with hot water and stir in disolved soap mixture until combined. Then mix in borax and washing soda. It’s pretty liquidy at first but will thicken as it cools. You can use 1-2 cups per load.

*many thanks to the girls at Well Tell Me forums for this recipe*

Another thing I add to my laundry is white vinegar. I just put it in the fabric-softener cup so it will be dispersed during the rinse cycle. Vinegar is an excellent anti-bacterial and it dissolves urea (urine). Vinegar Kills Bacteria, Mold and Germs Drying clothes: Using a clothesline has been more relaxing than I initially thought it would be. Granted, it’s more work than a dryer but everytime I do it I’m saving money and helping the environment. It gets me outside as well which is always a good thing. According to Ideal Bite it can even save you up to $135! While hanging up the wash I have time to ponder things or just be in silence. It’s good for my soul and good for the earth! 

Potato Harvesting Day

This past weekend my little family and I went potato digging at our local CSA farm. It turned out to be a beautiful day! It was cool but sunny! The farm provided old work gloves that all of us, including Emma wore. When we first started, Emma wanted to dig too. After awhile though she got tired and was put in charge putting the harvested potatoes into the bucket. Here’s Emma & Aaron working together.
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In all there were about 5 different varieties of potatoes harvested. They were anywhere from white to dark purple and ranged from large to very small. We were really surprised when the first type we harvested were about the size of my thumb! I guess that’s why they call them, ‘fingerling’ potatoes. I’m assuming you just leave them whole and don’t bother to peel them.
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Emma held her first caterpillar! I was really surprised she let it crawl on her as I thought she’d be scared. It was such a cute moment!
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Greening Your Housekeeping

In seeking to live a greener and healthier life one of the first changes I needed to make was with my cleaning products. I always hated cleaning the bathroom because my cleaners would smell so strong and make my eyes burn. I had to turn on the exhaust fan just to make it bearable. All the while I never realized how horrible it was to be breathing them in. It never even occurred to me that they might not be good for my health or that there would even be alternatives. I was pleased to find however that there are not only alternatives but they are often cheaper!
Vinegar and baking soda are now staple items in my home. They’re a natural homemaker’s best friends! Not only do I use them to clean, I use them in my hair (more about that another time)! Baking soda is a natural abrasive. I use it to scrub out the sink and then spray with vinegar to kill off any molds. It sure beats bleach! I avoid bleach at all costs!
Here are two books that I highly recommend if interested in creating a healthier cleaning environment for you and your family.
image “Organic Housekeeping: In Which the Non-Toxic Avenger Shows You How to Improve Your Health and That of Your Family, While You Save Time, Money, and, Perhaps, Your Sanity” by Ellen Sandbeck. This book is chock full of ways to green your household!

Here’s basically what it covers:

better ways to use your space (organization)
healthy habits in the kitchen
appliance efficiency
hazards in beauty products
laundry protocol
cleaning the whole house
air quality
household safety
gardening
taking care of pets
baby-proofing

It pretty much has everything you could ever want to know about keeping your household green! With all this information it does take awhile to read. I recommend reading it through once, making a list of several changes you’d like to make and then using the book for reference. Don’t try to change everything at once or you may get overwhelmed and give up on it all together. I’m glad for the changes we’ve been able to make in our house but I still have a lot to do to get things where I want them.

image “Green This! Volume 1: Greening Your Cleaning” by Deirdre Imus. This book is an excellent book to start out with. It’s a much shorter read and still a good resource for greening up your home. In “Green This” Deirdre explains why greener cleaners are needed and warns of the health hazards from conventional cleaners.

Hooray for healthy homes! 

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