Sunday, February 20, 2011

Garden Planning

We are at a new house again this year so all of my hard work planning last year is pretty much useless now. So I am beginning again with plans for my new garden. We do not have a very big yard at all (it is so small we are actually planning on getting a manual push mower. I have been researching how to do a garden in a small area and I am pleased with all the possibilities for container gardening. I think I will be able to have quite a few vegetables. I am considering using grow bags because they are pretty cheap and apparently great for beginner gardeners.
Although I will do the standard carrots, tomatoes, lettuce, and herbs I want to try some new vegetables I have never tried before (either ate or grown).

Chard, Five Color Silverbeet

Cucumber, Poona Kheera

Lavender, English

Pea, Green Arrow Conv

I think some of these would be a lot of fun to try. However my list keeps getting longer and my yard is not growing at the same rate. I really only need a few seeds of each, not 250 or a pound of them. Soo, I am thinking about finding some other people who also want to try some vegetables and split the seeds.

Does anyone have any great ideas for gardening in a small place?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Washing Soda


Washing soda (also known as sodium carbonate or soda ash) used to be a common household product when people made their own soap. It is closely related to Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), and it is actually made by heating baking soda. Washing soda was first made from salt and limestone to create a cheaper more accessible way for people to bathe daily. Washing soda can be used for everyday household uses such as cleaning and added to homemade detergents.

The first obvious use for washing soda that I have mentioned before is laundry detergent. The borax, fels naptha, and washing soda combo has been a tried and true way to clean clothes for a long time.

Another way washing soda can be used is for household cleaning. Although I usually just grab a spray bottle of vinegar for cleaning up spills and messes, washing soda can be used for grimier tasks (think coffee stains, grease, blood, soil). I have also heard it is good for cleaning out greenhouses (all the slime and goo that tends to grow there).

I am not sure how effective it is but I have also heard that a washing soda paste (just soda and water mixed together) will strip paint off surfaces.

I would caution that washing soda is not child friendly. It can cause eye irritants and will make one sick if ingested so be careful using this product around small children.

Friday, February 18, 2011

How to ReFashion your clothes is a great site for some ideas on how to remake some clothes into things you might actually wear. Love the idea!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Alfalfa Sprouts

My family and I are more than a little tired of the snow everywhere and the blah produce section at our local grocery. I ordered some alfalfa seeds online and have been growing them in the house during this to help us get our extra vitamins. This sprouts are yummy and filled with all kinds of good vitamins. Plus they are easy to grow! We just fill up a quart size canning jar with water and a couple tablespoons of sprouts the first day. We cover the top with a pair of cut up hose. We rinse them a few times a day and in just 5 short days we have something that looks like what is above. They are delicious and great for my daughter to help with. We can see them growing so it keeps her attention span a little more. We put them in salads, on cold cut sandwiches, and in thai food.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Freezer paper

I have just recently been introduced to the idea of freezer paper stenciling. My goodness a whole new world of ideas has sprung from this. I have a basket filled with shirts that need some pizazz and I can't wait to get started. From what I can tell freezer paper stenciling works well with a variety of items like flour sack towels, canvas bags, shirts, and the like. All you need is some creativity or the internet to find an image you like. Print the design (or draw) and then use an exacto knife to cut out the image on the freezer paper. Leave a few inches around the image to prevent paint from getting in the wrong spot. Then you iron the freezer paper to your shirt (or whatever) shiny side down. Paint in the lines with fabric paint. Let dry, and then peel paper off, and ta-da! Pretty image to update a boring bag.
Right now I am playing around with photoshop to make an image for my little one's 3rd birthday. I can't wait to get started.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

What to do other than recycle?

We have a box that we keep on hand of toilet paper tubes, plastic containers from yogurt or whatever else and newspapers. Some of the things we make with this odd assortment of items is a marble run and paper mache. It is a great craft that allows us to use some of these items more than once before we throw them in the recycling. has some great ideas for what and how to paper mache.
Also if you google homemade marble runs you will be amazed at some creations people make.

Friday, February 11, 2011


These are some of my favorite go-to sites for learning how to make my own things. this site has a plethora of information. It explains the whys, hows, and what nots of how to do make a ton of stuff. I highly suggest taking a look. Even if you are not interested in the green movement it offers a lot of great money saving tips and advice for taking care of your family. (in the search engine I suggest looking up 'homemade shampoo') This site is awesome.....AWESOME. this site is a real mom of two kids and how her family makes their own things. Very creative and nice to hear stories about real life (ie sick kids and such). this lady is quite the crafty one. If any of you knit or sew or aspire to she has a fun blog. She also is raising her child in a Montessori environment and you can get a glimpse of what she does to make her house kid friendly. this site has AWESOME toys for children. They err on the side of heirloom and are so much fun. We love the bee hive. this site is for all things small. Everything you need to teach your child practical life skills (small brooms, small bowls, small tongs, small cups, small drying rack. I love this site because the items enable children to be more self sufficient. There are light switch adaptors too. These allow children to turn on and off light switches so lights are not left on all day long wasting energy. I also love the books they have. They are real photos and great explantations of everything from the solar system to humans and animals. this is a fun site that has some unusual and some eco friendly items this is a cool site where stay at home moms make pretty cute dolls

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dirty Dozen

Here is an (old) article about the dirty dozen fruits and vegetables that contain high amounts of pesticides (it also includes the clean dozen).

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

This is my own recipe that I adapted from "Deceptively Delicious" I replace part of the sugar with grape juice and add purred garbanzo beans to add protein. We use semi-sweet chocolate because of the research we have found saying it's a little healthier than milk chocolate.

1 cup wheat flour
1 1/4 cup white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white grape juice
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup nuts
1/2 cup Garbanzo beans (chickpeas)--use a food processor and make a puree

Preheat oven to 350
Combine flour, salt, and soda in a bowl. Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs and vanilla. Add grape juice. Add flour mixture. Add chickpeas. Stir in nuts and chips. Drop by spoonfuls on baking sheet and bake for 9-10 minutes.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Our family uses vinegar for a whole lotta things. This site has some great ideas for why you should start using vinegar.

Monday, February 7, 2011


Many things to compost.....
Paper napkins
Freezer-burned vegetables
Pet hair
Potash rock
Post-it notes
Freezer-burned fruit
Wood chips
Bee droppings
Lint from behind refrigerator
Popcorn (unpopped, 'Old Maids,' too)
Freezer-burned fish
Old spices
Pine needles
Leather dust
Old, dried up and faded herbs
Bird cage cleanings
Paper towels
Brewery wastes
Grass clippings
Hoof and horn meal
Molasses residue
Potato peelings
Unpaid bills
Hair clippings from the barber
Stale bread
Coffee grounds
Wood ashes
Tea bags and grounds
Shredded newspapers
Egg shells
Winter rye
Grapefruit rinds
Pea vines
Houseplant trimmings
Old pasta
Grape wastes
Garden soil
Powdered/ground phosphate rock
Corncobs (takes a long time to decompose)
Jell-o (gelatin)
Blood meal
Winery wastes
Spanish moss
Fish meal
Aquarium plants
Beet wastes
Sunday comics
Harbor mud
Felt waste
Wheat straw
Peat moss
Kleenex tissues
Milk (in small amounts)
Soy milk
Tree bark
Starfish (dead ones!)
Melted ice cream
Flower petals
Pumpkin seeds
Q-tips (cotton swabs: cardboard, not plastic sticks)
Expired flower arrangements
Elmer's glue
BBQ'd fish skin
Bone meal
Citrus wastes
Stale potato chips
Rhubarb stems
Old leather gardening gloves
Tobacco wastes
Bird guano
Hog manure
Dried jellyfish
Wheat bran
Guinea pig cage cleanings
Nut shells
Cattail reeds
Granite dust
Moldy cheese
Shredded cardboard
Dolomite lime
Cover crops

Bat guano
Fish scraps
Tea bags (black and herbal)
Apple cores
Electric razor trimmings
Kitchen wastes
Outdated yogurt
Toenail clippings
Shrimp shells
Crab shells
Lobster shells
Pie crust
Leather wallets
Onion skins
Bagasse (sugar cane residue)
Watermelon rinds
Date pits
Olive pits
Peanut shells
Burned oatmeal (sorry, Mom)
Lint from clothes dryer
Bread crusts
Cooked rice
River mud
Tofu (it's only soybeans, man!)
Wine gone bad (what a waste!)
Banana peels
Fingernail and toenail clippings
Chocolate cookies
Wooden toothpicks
Moss from last year's hanging baskets
Stale breakfast cereal
'Dust bunnies' from under the bed
Pencil shavings
Wool socks
Artichoke leaves
Leather watch bands
Fruit salad
Tossed salad (now THERE's tossing it!)
Brown paper bags
Soggy Cheerios
Theater tickets
Lees from making wine
Burned toast
Animal fur
Vacuum cleaner bag contents
Coconut hull fiber
Old or outdated seeds
Macaroni and cheese
Liquid from canned vegetables
Liquid from canned fruit
Old beer
Wedding bouquets
Greeting card envelopes
Dead bees and flies
Horse hair
Peanut butter sandwiches
Dirt from soles of shoes, boots
Fish bones
Ivory soap scraps
Spoiled canned fruits and vegetables
Produce trimmings from grocery store
Cardboard cereal boxes (shredded)
Grocery receipts

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Chop one lemon (or orange). Place in 2 cups of water. Boil half the water off. Strain. Pour into a spray bottle with 1 ounce rubbing alcohol. May be stored unrefrigerated for 2 weeks

Friday, February 4, 2011

Homemade Noodles

1 beaten egg
2 tablespoons milk
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup flour

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl and let it set for 20 minutes. Dust the cutting board with flour to prevent the dough from sticking and roll it out very thin. Use a pizza cutter to slice the rolled out dough into ¼" wide strips and let them dry uncovered for an hour.
If you will be using the noodles right away just drop them into a pan of boiling chicken or beef broth or water and cook them uncovered for about 45 minutes. If you will be needing them for later use lay the noodles out on a cookie sheet and freeze them, then put them in a freezer bag for storage.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Homemade Hand Sanitizer
This website does a great job of explaining how to combine essential oils that naturally are disinfectants to make a hand sanitizer.

Alcohol Free Hand Sanitizer Gel

  • 1 cup pure aloe vera gel
  • 1-2 teaspoons of witch hazel (add until the desired consistency is reached)
  • 8 drops of essential oils

Mostly Alcohol Free Hand Sanitizer Gel

  • 2 cups pure aloe vera gel
  • 2 tablespoons 90% SD40 alcohol (perfumer’s alcohol if you can get it)
  • 2-3 teaspoons essential oils

Alcohol-based Hand Sanitizer

  • 1/4 cup pure aloe vera gel
  • 1/4 cup grain alcohol or vodka
  • 10 drops essential oils

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dish Soap

2 cups liquid castile soap (like Dr. Bronners)
1/2 cup water
essential oil of choice.

Combine in a reusable container and shake well.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011