Saturday, February 28, 2009

Fuel Alternative From Algae

Algae fuel, also called algal fuel, oilgae or third generation biofuel, is a biofuel from algae. Compared with second generation biofuels, algae are high-yield high-cost (30 times more energy per acre than terrestrial crops) feedstocks to produce biofuels.

Since the whole organism converts sunlight into oil, algae can produce more oil in an area the size of a two-car garage than an entire football field of soybeans.

Algal fuels do not impact fresh water resources, and can use ocean and wastewater.

Read Wikipedia on Algae.

View a Video on Algae Fuel

Friday, February 27, 2009

Don't Waste What You Own

Our current culture seems to think of buying before thinking about other options. It's so easy to waste resources when so much is being made into disposable products. It gives this generation a disposable mindset.

Here's an article that gives you some thoughts on how to save money. Before you buy anything, you may want to consider if there are other, less material-intensive ways to meet your needs.

While some of these ideas in this article are obvious, they're all worth a mention: Read the entire article.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Take Time To Play

The Fourth of July. A legal holiday they call it. Holidays seem to break up the routines we all fall into. They make us search for "something different" to do.

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - La Selva - Collared Peccary Eating A Bread Fruit

We should spend more time celebrating life on days that aren't designated holidays. Our American culture has become far too frantically paced. It's often hard to find somebody to schedule some fun with. People are so loaded with 'to do' lists that they don't believe they have time for fun. Security is not in the stuff you own.

These are thoughts I had last week as I was in my garden watering plants for the first time this summer. I use a sprayer that you can stick in the ground and it will rotate the spray. At one spot I couldn't set it wide enough to water a few transplanted mums without wasting a lot of water to an area that didn't need it. So, I stooped down and used my hands to break up the water spray so the mums could get some of the spray.

As I covered the water with my hands, the spray came up into my face until I got them placed just right. I had to giggle after my startled reaction and then as the water flowed around my hands to the plants I flashed back to childhood.

Remember those hot summer days when you'd play with the hose and jump around pretending to avoid being hit, when in reality it was a delight to get soaked and cooled down? I remembered splashing in puddles after a rainstorm. Water was special to me. I loved to swim when I was a child.

Why do we leave those play times behind? Just because we grow up doesn't mean we can't play. Why not schedule a time to wash your car instead of running it through a car wash! Invite your husband or children to help and make sure you have some fun with the hoses.

Making memories. Do families still take time to do that? Simple, homemade kinds of memories? Life is too rushed and all those tasks won't bring the joy of memories of simple play. Can you find some evening time and a piece of dark sky to view the stars? Looking at the heavens makes everybody dream of something.

Do you take time to dream? Do you teach your children to do so?

It's not too late. If you live by your 'to do' list, then schedule to have some play time. You'll be more effective at what you do the rest of the time, and you'll feel more like life is full of good things. Take time to play!

From The Nature In Us

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Natural Burials Save Money

The coffin, the hearse, the black clothes, granite memorials, burial gowns, drapes and, most of all, the job of the funeral director are all essentially a Victorian invention. More and more people are considering different sorts of funeral as an alternative to traditional religious services and cremations.

A modern natural burial is an environmentally sustainable alternative to existing funeral practices where the body is returned to the earth to decompose naturally and be recycled into new life.

The body is prepared for burial without chemical preservatives and is buried in a simple shroud or biodegradable casket that might be made from locally harvested wood, wicker or even recycled paper, perhaps even decorated with good-bye messages from friends.

A natural burial ground often uses grave markers that don’t intrude on the landscape. These natural markers can include shrubs and trees, an engraved flat stone native to the area or centralized memorial structure set within the emerging forest that provides places for visitors to sit. As in all cemeteries, there are careful records kept of the exact location of each interment, often using modern survey techniques such as GIS (geographic information system).

Planting native trees, shrubs and flowers on or near the grave establishes a living memorial and helps form a protected wildlife preserve. A completed natural burial preserve is a green place with trees, grasses, and wildflowers, which in turn bring birds and other wildlife to the area.

Get more information and find locations around the world.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Make Your Own Wind Chimes

By Elizabeth Seward

I found myself in Woodstock, New York, a few weeks ago, marveled by the beautiful wind chimes aligned against the wall of a charming downtown store. I was mesmerized by the tones the chimes made. I was impressed with their beauty. In fact, I was impressed with just about every aspect of these chimes other than their price tag.

The $300 price tag on the chimes I most adored got me thinking...why not make some chimes myself? Not only would I be saving myself money in doing so, but I would also be reusing otherwise wasted items if I made the chimes creatively. Read the entire article.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Grocery Savings - Bring Your Bag

Do you want to save some cash while also helping the environment? Start bringing your own bags to the grocery store and save a few cents for each bag you fill. You’ll have to check your local stores to see whether they offer the deal.

For example, Whole Foods Market lets you save 5 or 10 cents per bag, depending on the location, while Giant Food refunds 5 cents per bag and Safeway gives 3 cents off. Just another good reason, other than being green, to bring your own bag.

Source: Michelle Diament is a freelance writer based in Memphis.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Cell Phone Savings

As the economy hits home, plenty of us are scaling back on eating out, buying cars and even cutting back on groceries. But there’s an easier way to save, and all you have to do is check your cellphone bill.

If you use less than 200 minutes a month, you can find big savings by switching to a prepaid service such as Virgin Mobile, Tracfone or AT&T’s GoPhone, just to name a few. On average, prepaid phones cost 10 to 20 cents per minute and you pay only for the minutes used. Plus, prepaid phones retail for about the same price as traditional cellphones and have just as many features.

The biggest savings come because you avoid many of the fees and taxes that bump up your bill by 30 or 40 percent on traditional contract-based plans, says Sam Simon, founder and chairman of the Telecommunications Research and Action Center. So, if you are a non-talker who doesn’t use a lot of minutes each month, prepaid might be the way to go. Read the entire article.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Best Window Cleaner

Around Earth Day 1990, every newspaper in the country (or so it seemed) offered recipes for non-toxic cleaning with the basics we all have in our kitchen cupboards, and the recipe for windows was invariably just plain vinegar and water with the option of drying the windows with old newspapers.

People by the thousands tried this and swore off cleaning with homemade recipes for good because the formula left streaks on their windows.

Unfortunately, the commercial products they had used for so many years had left a wax buildup and vinegar alone wouldn't do the job of removing the residue. Adding dab of dish soap to the vinegar and water would have removed the buildup.

The Best Window Cleaner
Make a great all-purpose window cleaner by combining 1/4 cup vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon liquid soap or detergent, and 2 cups of water in a spray bottle. Combine in a spray bottle. Shake to blend.

Get other great tips at Green Living.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Read Books By Email

You spend hours each day reading email but don't find the time to read books. DailyLit brings books right into your inbox in convenient small messages that take less than 5 minutes to read. This works incredibly well not just on your computer but also on a Treo, Blackberry, Sidekick or whatever the PDA of your choice.

All you need to do is pick a book (browse the collection or use the search box), select how often and when you want to receive messages, and provide your email address. Some selections have a fee, but many are totally free. You don't even have to register to read. Read the entire article.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Roasted Eggplant and Garlic Spread

From Delicious Living Magazine
by Karin Lazarus

This can be made up to one day in advance. Serving tip: Scoop into endive leaves (as shown, right), or serve with whole-grain crackers.

Makes 3 cups

2 medium eggplants (1-1/2 pounds), skin on, cut in half lengthwise
1 small yellow onion, skin on, cut in half
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 large cloves garlic
1/2 cup bottled roasted red bell peppers
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried
Minced red bell pepper and parsley, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly brush cut sides of eggplants and onion with ½ tablespoon olive oil. Place on a baking sheet, cut side down, and roast until very tender, 35-40 minutes.

Place eggplant in a colander to drain and cool for 15 minutes, then scoop out pulp from skins and place in the bowl of a food processor. When cool enough to handle, peel skin off onion and cut into large chunks; add to food processor, along with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, garlic, bell peppers, lemon juice, and thyme. Pulse until eggplant is somewhat smooth but retains some texture. Stir in salt to taste. Serve at room temperature, garnished with minced red bell pepper and parsley.

PER SERVING ( 1/4 cup): 36 cal, 41% fat cal, 2g fat, 0g sat fat, 0mg chol, 1g protein, 5g carb, 2g fiber, 81mg sodium

Get more delicious recipes at Delicious Living.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Personal Economic Fixes

It's time to change lifestyles and do things a bit differently. The old excessive and indulgent lifestyles are a thing of the past. It's time to think different and share those thoughts with others. Together anything is possible.

Building Community
“Whatever the problem,” says Dr. Lynnaea Lumbard, psychologist and interfaith minister, “community is the answer.” Connected, resilient communities help people get through tough times—and celebrate during good times. Now is the time to get started. Get to know your neighbors. Do a neighborhood skills inventory—so people can help each other fix their roofs, repair their bikes, mend a torn coat—saving money and building community. Plan a community garden, a neighborhood garage sale, or clothing swap. Start a dinner or home improvement co-op. Get more ideas and learn more.

Community Investing
All over the county, community investing banks, credit unions, and loan funds that serve hardhit communities are strong, while the biggest banks—from Washington Mutual to CitiGroup —required bailouts. The basic principles of community investing keep the community investing institutions strong: Lenders and borrowers know each other. Lenders invest in the success of their borrowers—with training and technical assistance along with loans. And the people who provide the capital to the lenders expect reasonable, not speculative, rates of return. If all banks followed these principles, the economy wouldn’t be in the mess it’s in today.

You can provide capital to community investing banks and credit unions—it’s as easy as opening a federally insured account. Check out the community investing information.

Read the entire article.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Growing An Indoor Herb Garden

It's that time of year when you are winding down in the garden and looking forward to winter. You can still garden indoors and an herb garden is a lot of fun and really greens up winter in the home, besides providing fresh herbs for those delicious warm winter soups.

Here's an article by Kate Gilby to tell you how it's done.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Removing Spilled Wax

Q. I am hoping someone can help me. My husband was waxing our van when the wax accidentally dumped over. It was on a ledge by the window, so as a result, it splattered (or poured rather) all over the brick of our home and the concrete driveway. Any ideas on how to remove this? We have tried scrubbing it, but to no avail. I would appreciate any input! Thanks!!

What I would try is laying an old clean towel over the wax and apply heat to the top of the towel with a hot iron. This may cause the towel to absorb the heated wax. Repeat as many times as necessary, while using a clean area of the towel each time. Karri

This is not so much a how-to but a what-to-do-first. Car waxes are made of many things a lot of them not wax. Polyester resins for example(polycoat). read the label for the ingredients. find out which cleaners will be effective. Check the bottle for the internet site of the company. Even if one is not listed use internet directories to find them. re:parent companies are almost all on the internet. The FAQ section may give you the information you need. If not e-mail them with the problem you are having with their product. They will usually reply; they want to keep you as a customer. Good Luck, Michael.

Try spraying it with full strength white vinegar. It should help break down the wax. If it's thick it might take several shots to get it all. Good luck! Kelly

Wax comes off most everything with ice and cold. if you live in a climate where there is snow and cold, that time of year will be your best to get the wax off. Otherwise, invest in a bag of ice, don't open it and rub on brick a section at a time. Carefully using a putty knife, it should crack right off. Jean

Get More Cleaning Recipes

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Teach Children To Manage Money

From Character First Newsletter - December 2008

Teach your children early about budgeting their money.

Talk about the amounts and percentages your children should budget for saving, spending, and giving. Help them divide their allowance or other income based on what is most important.

If your children do not have regular income, plan how they should use their money when they receive gifts or payment for work.

Time & Talent Coupons
Sometimes you show generosity with money. Other times you show generosity with your time and talents.

Make a variety of "Time and Talent Coupons" for your friends and family members. Cut pieces of paper into quarters, and write on each coupon a specific task or chore you will do.

Possible Chores:

Outdoor work (raking, sweeping, mowing, cleaning cars)
Indoor work (cleaning, folding clothes, ironing)
Kitchen work (cooking, washing, emptying trash)
School work (reading, studying, helping siblings)

View the newsletter and archives of others and/or subscribe at the Character First website.

Friday, February 13, 2009

There Is a Way Out!

by Donna L. Watkins
From The Nature In

Many Americans are finding that a life of consumption is consuming their own lives. What it takes of their lives to buy all the disposable things available in our world is not really providing what the advertising promises....more time for better things.

Disposable dishes, diapers, storage containers, rags, baggies, razors, daily-wear contacts, paper towels and napkins and the list goes on and on. All of these are sold with the concept that they will save you time, when in actuality, your time is only spent making money to pay for them and the increased garbage fees to haul them away.

Instead of the simplicity that disposables seem to offer, we become used to buying, and that in itself consumes our time having to shop for something almost every day of the week. We've become used to an instant mentality. 'Have it now' breeds compulsiveness in many areas of life.

Our homes become bogged down with clutter which forces lives to be lived in a continual state of stress. That stress is at the basis of 85% of all of our diseases. People encumbered with unnecessary weights that threaten to strange even the rare moments of happiness. The quest for materialism has diminished the family's values, relationships, and sense of satisfaction of a live well lived.

Even those who want out of this lifestyle seem to find themselves on a merry-go-round that doesn't offer a stop to get off. People seem to feel that if they stop, they'll get stomped and trampled in the process. Many people get false and empty satisfaction thinking their life is important because they run from morning to night, when in actuality they look back at days, months, years gone by without any satisfaction at all.

At those moments we come face-to-face with emptiness, frustration, and loneliness from living in a constant state of worry, trying to "see how we are doing" in comparison to others. We assume power (titles) or possessions will end the inner dissatisfaction, but they never do. We are left with the reality that what we thought was living, is actually a slow process of self-destruction.

Families are now very aware that this pace and the children produced from it are not doing the world any favors. You see some of the results as you look at the elderly of our society, as many of them now slowly die alone in nursing homes and retirement centers without calls or visits from family. Our nation now has a disposable mentality for the elderly and the unborn. The definition of what life is all about has to do with being perfect, and many times the old and the unborn don't fit into "perfect" lifestyles.

David Babbitt, in a book called, Downscaling, says, "Downscaling is about margins and limits. We abuse financial limits by living beyond our income. We abuse physical limits by not getting adequate rest nor eating properly. We abuse our emotional limits by subjecting ourselves to more and more stress. Our society has helped us by providing a set of peripheral industries to deal with stress: time management, financial planning, and debt consolidation. Instead of setting rational limits, we hire services to help us continually live beyond them."

Downscaling is understanding that the hunger for money and things loses its addictive power when we become satisfied and fulfilled in other areas of our lives. If you have ever talked with a family that has gone through a fire and lost everything, you will know a little bit more about what life is all about. To see everything somebody owns go up in smoke in just a few hours makes you realize that there is more to life than things.

Often we are afraid to step out of our comfort zones. It's easier to live in the whirlwind than to think about living without one. There is so much fear that we won't measure up to some standard that somebody set for us, whether it's a parent, society or even ourselves. One big step to maturing in Christ is to realize that you cannot be perfect, and to learn to deal with your own limitations. Life will never be perfect no matter how hard you work at it. Even the best perfectionist realizes that there are moments that simply cannot be controlled.

We decrease our enjoyment of life if we are afraid to try something new just because we fear failing. Give yourself some room. Allow yourself a chance to live life as you want to. There are desires inside of you and dreams that have been buried because there is no time for them. The time is there - it's simply being misused. Some of those dreams and desires may be the actual purpose that God created you for. You may not only be giving up your life in this world, but diminishing your life in eternity by not fulfilling what your spirit longs to do.

Here's a few questions to ask yourself. Get a piece of paper and take some time to answer these questions. You have the time! The world won't stop spinning if you just pause a moment to think. Besides, you may be missing the best ride in the whole park! After all, the carousel really isn't very exciting at all when you look at the "real ride."

1. What emotional needs are not being met and why?

2. What mental needs have you ignored that keep you from happiness?

3. What physical needs do you have that are not being fulfilled?

4. What other needs do you have that aren't in these categories?

Read the entire article.

Saving Money, Losing Weight

From Martin Peter, a subscriber

The majority of American adults are at least 30 lbs over weight, without looking at percentages. All of these people could reduce their food expenses - groceries for cooking at home and eating out - by 30-40% just by reducing their caloric intake (buying less food). By shopping wisely and buying healthy foods, they could probably save 50%. Any single adult spending more than $25-40 per week for groceries, not counting household goods, is over spending ... I think.

This has nothing to do with living a frugal life - just living a healthy life style from a food intake standpoint.

So, I say to anyone: look in the mirror. Could you stand to loose 10 lbs or 20 or 30 or 40? And, would you like to save a measurable amount of money every week?

The reason I brought up the food expense issue is that I see so many people trying to save pennies and nickels when tens and twenties are being spent for purposes of almost zero value to the mind, body and soul. Most couples with 2 children could save $500/mo + starting immediately, if they have not already been through the analysis and shopping and eating out changes.

Food idea: I do most of the cooking for my wife and I since our kids are grown by many years. Last night, I fixed one of our favorites in one skillet. Takes about 10 minutes from the frig to the plate. Healthy? Unbelievable. Good for kids, too? Very much so. Simple? Absolutely. Inexpensive? Absolutely - probably $2.00 ea. And, I mean outstanding food - all fresh and with olive oil. Can you beat this for an evening meal? If you can, come on with it.

My favorite breakfast costs maybe $1.50 ea and is outstanding using a tried and proven food but with a little uncommon add-on.

There is the old question: Do you live to eat or eat to live? The reason so many people live to eat is because they are focused on themselves instead of God. Hormones? Of course. But like a business partner of mine says: "I am genetically predisposed to be an alcoholic and a drug addict and I have been both. Today, I choose to be neither." He is a single parent of two boys and they are in church 2 - 3 days or nights per week. As he says: We need everyone of them.

Donna's Comment: Cutting the grocery bill is a huge savings. We enter every dime we spend on Quicken budget and our grocery budget for the two of us is $375/month and we buy as much organic as we can. We are vegetarians so we don't have the cost of meat and don't often use cheese. We also order in bulk so we don't have to make regular visits to the grocery store (less temptation if you just pop in for the produce section). Families should discuss a wellness-based food plan with the family and use some of the savings for family fun. It makes the "sacrifice" worth doing besides the health and financial benefits.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Reasons To Use A Crock Pot

By Kelly Rossiter at Planet Green

I'm continuing to get a lot of heavy use out of my crock pot. I proselytize about it to anyone who will listen to me long enough. Here are some of the great points in it's favour:

1. It uses very little energy.

2. You can make your dinner in the morning when you are fresh and energetic.

3. You can have dinner on the table as soon as you get home from work.

4. You can wake up to a cooked breakfast (more on that in a later post).

5. You can save money by using cheaper cuts of meat that improve with long slow cooking. (more on that in a later post as well).

6. You can use it as a natural air freshener.

7. It makes a fantastic tomato sauce for pasta.

I absolutely love pasta with traditional tomato sauce. When I was a kid my dad worked nights and my mom worked days, so dad made us lunch. He would make spaghetti for my brother and me and it was one of our favourite meals. This was the 1960's, so we never called it pasta, the sauce was from a can, and the (always Kraft) Parmesan cheese was dried, poured from a plastic shaker, but we loved it.

I don't make a lot of tomato sauce because my husband isn't that fond of it, but I just had to try it in the crock pot. It turned out beautifully and I served it over my homemade pasta and my husband declared it the best tomato sauce I'd made. This was a total throw together recipe and the house smelled wonderful for the entire day. I wanted to make a simple sauce, but you could toss in any vegetables that you might have on hand in your refrigerator. Of course, it being January in Toronto, I had no access to fresh tomatoes, but go ahead and use them if you do. Get the recipe.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Save 10-15 Percent On Gas

With the ever rising price on gasoline at the pump world wide people need to know everything they can do to lower their costs to run their vehicles. While there are many things one can do, two simple maintenance tips can save you 10-15% on gas costs. They are replacing the air filter and checking the tire pressure to make sure its up to manufacturer's standards. While these seem very simple, they are the two car projects people seldom get to. And they're so easy anyone can do them! Tips On Saving Gas.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

5 Natural Pest Repellents

By Sid Kirchheimer, at

Here are safer alternatives to commercial pesticides:

Ants: Sprinkle cinnamon, bay leaves, cayenne pepper or baby powder in problem areas and along baseboards and windowsills.

Cockroaches: Sprinkle equal parts of baking soda and confectioners’ sugar in problem areas.

Mice: Place cotton dipped in peppermint oil near problem areas. Used kitty litter is another repellent.

Mosquitoes: Mix 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water placed on your deck or balcony or dab lavender oil on your wrists and elbows.

Flies: Small sachets of crushed mint placed around the home will discourage flies. So will a potted sweet basil plant.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Alternative Body Deodorants

The longest-lasting approach to body odor is to cleanse from within. Many folks who have done cleansing on a regular basis will tell you that they no longer need deodorants. I'm not a regular user myself after having done a lot of cleansing.

My favorite cleanses are Tiao He Cleanse and Clean Start. Of course cleansing benefits health in many ways, not just to reduce body odor.

Daily use of 1 T. Liquid Chlorophyll in water will begin to remove body odor from within after a couple of weeks of use.

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar to 1/2 cup of distilled water. Use in spray bottle for ease of use.

1/4 teaspoon Lavender Oil to one cup of warm distilled water. Use in spray bottle for ease of use.

Mix 1/2 cup baking soda with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Apply with a blusher brush which can be kept in the container. My husband used this one for many years till my blusher brush frizzed and then he switched to another.

There's also the spray option which some folks like better and for that we mention Nature's Fresh.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Get Rid Of Energy Vampires

There are all sorts of devices that people forget and leave constantly on which drain as much energy as a light bulb left constantly lit. They work slowly like a dripping faucet. Find these energy vampires and shut them down.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Save Energy, Save Money

Here are five easy things you can do suggested by Consumer Reports:

1. Turn down the heat during winter. Lower the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees when you're sleeping or out of the house; a 10 degree decrease can cut your heating bill by as much as 20 percent.

2. Let the dishwasher do the work. Don't bother pre-rinsing dishes. Consumer Reports has found that this added step can waste 20 gallons of heated water each day.

3. Put your PC to sleep. Keeping your computer and monitor in sleep mode can cut your energy use by as much as 80 percent. To find out how to put a PC with Windows XP to sleep, click here (for other versions of Windows, click on the link and search the site for that version); to put an Apple computer to sleep, click here.

4. Set your water heater to 120 degrees. It can save up to 10 percent in water-heating costs compared to a 140 degree setting.

5. Don't overdry your laundry. Clothes will need less ironing and hold up better if you remove them when they're just a bit damp. Or better yet, consider using a clothesline or drying rack. Hanging even some of your clothing items can help you save energy.

Source: Consumer Reports Greener Choices - Great website and free newsletter.

Friday, February 6, 2009

22 Home Remedies For Back Pain

From the Editors of Consumer Guide

The How Stuff Works website gives you some good options to try for back pain which are appropriate for anyone who is suffering from back pain due to tight, aching muscles or a strain.

Maybe you lifted something heavy or swung a golf club a little too enthusiastically. Or maybe you've been hunched over a desk or computer for two weeks, battling a deadline. Whatever the reason, now your back is "out," and you're wishing for something, anything, that will put an end to the agony. Read the entire article.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Toxic Dryer Sheets & Cleaning Supplies

When I was reading about information on what to leave out for birds to build their nests, the information specifically stated NOT to use dryer sheets. I wondered why. This is what I found. You can easily see why they could kill baby birds ... but what about our babies? Nobody needs to be using clothes and towels coated with these chemicals.

* Benzyl Acetate: Linked to pancreatic cancer

* Benzyl Alcohol: Upper respiratory tract irritant

* Ethanol: On the EPA's Hazardous Waste list and capable of causing central nervous system disorders

* A-Terpineol: Can cause respiratory problems, including fatal edema, and central nervous system damage

* Ethyl Acetate: A narcotic on the EPA's Hazardous Waste list

* Camphor: Causes central nervous system disorders

* Chloroform: Neurotoxin, anesthetic and carcinogen

* Linalool: A narcotic that causes central nervous system disorders

* Pentane: A chemical known to be harmful if inhaled

Even the liquid fabric softeners are filled with the same and similar chemicals. Our skin absorbs these things, especially when we sweat and our pores are wide open. Throw them away and use vinegar in your rinse cycle. I pour it where the fabric softener goes. It's been working for me for 20 years.

We got rid of the chemical cleaners and detergents a long time ago because my husband had continual rashes under his arms and where he would sweat. I had chronic dry skin using chemical soaps, so we replaced them all with Sunshine Concentrate. It goes in our soap pumps, in our washer as detergent, and in the countertop spray bottle I use (with essential oils for antimicrobial properties).

Easy to keep my cleaning cabinet organized now. And there are a zillion uses for Sunshine Concentrate.

What to do about fabric softener? Use white vinegar. I fill the dispenser in my washer that's for fabric softener with vinegar. Have been using it for 15 years and it does a great job on the towels. As for clothes, I don't have a need for anything else after they've been washed in the Sunshine Concentrate mentioned above.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Take Time To Live

Sometimes we just need a reminder of what's important in life and how to live it better. From time to time we read things like these 12 points written by David B. Bohl of, but we have to keep reminding ourselves of the lifestyle we want to live and the person we want to be.

So take some time and review these ... choose what's important to you ... and practice one of them every day for a month. Inch by inch, lifestyle changes are a cinch! I've copied these into an email so I can focus on one of them each month. I did start out with #1 since it fit into my being in Costa Rica at the time. And now that I'm home for the rest of March it's a great reminder to keep that Tico pace instead of the rat race.

I suggest choosing an easy one first ... it just gives the brain a chance to sink in that you're doing a great job, so you'll be able to stick with the task and follow through with the program.

In a year you and I will be a different person than we are today. I'm excited! I began a week ago and it's like having a "motto" to focus on. It really does alter your day for the better. And those days will turn into weeks, months and years.

1. Keep life simple.
Far too many of us are always over analyzing and looking for the most complicated way of doing things in life. Sometimes life was meant to be simple – a walk through the park, a simple yes or no answer, or a quiet evening with the family. Don’t try and clutter your life with unnecessary decisions by making everything complicated and complex. Keep it simple!

2. Practice being satisfied.
How many times have you heard someone say, “If only I had a few more dollars I’d…” or “If I just had another day off I could….”? Many people don’t know how to be satisfied with what life gives them. They are so busy wanting more that they squander what life has already given them.

3. Beware of indecision.
Nobody said life is easy, and sometimes you have to make the tough choices. Never put off a decision that you can make today. You may miss some of the best and most exciting opportunities in the world because you were indecisive. Successful people didn’t get where they were at by prolonging or going back and forth on decisions!

4. Practice cheerfulness.
You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it here again – it only takes a few muscles to smile! You would be surprised at how well being cheerful to others can spread like wildfire. We live in a society where it seems that glumness is the rule of order. A simple smile or kind word can spread through our culture like wildfire – not only will you feel better, but those who interact with you will feel better!

5. Learn to like people.
You don’t have to love everyone you encounter, so learn to like people – especially those who are different than yourself. Often you won’t agree with everything they do, or maybe all of their beliefs, but by learning to get along with them you will open your mind up to change – a critical trait that is absolutely necessary in today’s world.

6. Live and let live.
Is it really your concern what the guy across the street wants to do with his life or who he wants to share his life with? Learn to live your life to the fullest and let others live their life to the fullest. None of us is above anyone else, and none of us should think we should be allowed to dictate how another person should live their life.

7. Adversity teaches.
Adversity can be one of the most powerful teachers we will ever have in our lives. You will learn so much about life by overcoming adversity and learning how to face it head on. Adversity often comes dressed in many different outfits, but you will change your life by learning how to deal with it and prosper from it.

8. Don’t take yourself so seriously.
Here is a secret: it’s ok to be a little goofy now and then! You only get one shot at this life, so make the most of it. Have some fun and show your children and those around you that you know how to have fun. You aren’t the greatest gift to mankind this world has ever had – so don’t act like it! You may find you add years to your life, not to mention a ton of laughter!

9. Have a sense of humor.
Laugh, joke, and now and then pick up a cream pie and throw it! Laughter has been shown to help people live longer, reduce their blood pressure, and help them relate to people from around the world.

10. Practice objectivity.
Be objective in your decision-making and risk-taking. Know the facts and avoid letting racial, social, or any other type of bias influence your decisions. Great leaders perform their best when they act based on facts, not on emotion or prejudices. Become a great leader in your life.

11. Tolerate your own mistakes.
You will make mistakes – in fact, you will make so many mistakes you will never be able to list them all. Learn that mistakes happen and the best thing you can do is to learn from them. Don’t spend your entire life dwelling on a mistake you made years ago – learn from it and move on. The world isn’t going to wait while you live in the past.

12. Forgive yourself.
Stop beating yourself up over things that happened in the past - things you did or didn’t do, and mistakes you may have made with others. Forgiving yourself is a skill so few of us have the ability to accomplish. It's such a shame that we spent a lifetime living in the past and never make it to our full potential in the future. Forgive yourself – and just as importantly, forgive others.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A "Grocery Bag" Trash Can

This question was submitted on The Frugal Life Forum:

Hello everyone-I am new to this website & forum & look forward to reading the newsletters. I'm looking for a specific trash can for my kitchen that will accomodate plastic grocery bags. They're called "Bag Its" or something like that, but what's unique about them is that they have two "knobs" (for lack of a better word) at the top of the can that will hold the handles of a grocery bag! We had one before, long ago, but wish I had a new one now. Where can I get one of these? They were so convenient because the bag did not slip down in the can! Thank U for your help!:)

This forum post has 17 responses as of today. Read them and submit your own.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Nasal Spray, Colds and Flu

Recipe: Nasal Spray Recipe

10 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil
10 drops Marjoram Essential Oil
1 tablespoon of water, distilled if possible

Don't blow your nose for at least 5 minutes after using the spray. The effects of the formula should last for several hours.

Recipe: Colds-Flu

10 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil
10 drops Pine Essential Oil

Add to the bath or put on section of paper towel so you can benefit by inhalation. Inhale frequently. Place on pillow beside nose. This opens the sinuses and helps clear the head of congestion. Eucalyptus is also a natural antiseptic.

This is a good blend to use in a plug-in like the AromaBall. Kill germs all night long and promote deeper sleep by using this nightly in bedrooms.

100% Pure Essential Oils

Sanitize Home or Bedroom Day and Night With an AromaBall

Hooking Up The Digital Converter Box

My late husband was very smart when it came to technical things. I am not! My VCR has broken. I have another, but can't figure out how to hook it up. I also bought those converter boxes, but have not gotten them hooked up correctly either. I am low income, so getting able is not a viable option. Everyone I know has cable. I can not find anyone to hook these items up for me. Certainly there must be others in my position. With the conversion coming soon there will be many of us low income/seniors who will be without TV.

On a Google search I found a lot of links for help in getting this job done. Even videos for those more visually inclined. If you need more than shown below, Google "how to hook up converter tv" and you'll have pages of options.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Lavender & Tea Tree Spray Cleaner

1 t. borax
2 T. white vinegar
2 c. hot water
1/4 t. Lavender essential oil
3 drops Tea Tree essential oil

Mix all ingredients together and stir until dry ingredients dissolve. Pour into spray bottle for long-term storage and use. Spray as needed on any surface except glass. Scrub and rinse with a clean damp cloth.
"Simplicity of living, if deliberately chosen, implies a compassionate approach to life. It means that we are choosing to live our daily lives with some degree of conscious appreciation of the condition of the rest of the world." Duane Elgin

"Do what is good with your own hands, so that you might earn something to give to the needy." Ephesians 4:28