Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Eat Healthy This Winter Without Spending a Fortune

It's getting to be fall. Can you smell it? I can't, but I know it's true because I see the fruits and vegetables in my grocery store changing. Slowly, the peaches, nectarines, and plums are getting more expensive and less tasty, and the winter staples like apples, pears, and potatoes are taking center stage. It always makes me sad, this transition from summer to fall, when I have to say goodbye, for a whole year, to some of my favorite foods. But the only other option is to pay exorbitant prices for food that tastes worse and that I know has been brought in from far away, and I'm just not willing to do that.

If you're like me, reveling in the fresh produce of summer and saddened when it departs in the fall, despair isn't your only option. There are good ways to preserve ... Read more about how to eat healthy.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

How Much Money Should I Leave My Children

My son really wants to buy a house here, but it will really stress our financial situation if we help him with the down payment.

- A mom talking to her friend at the grocery store.

For many parents, helping their children financially is ... Find out how much you should leave.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Clever Uses for Ice Cube Trays

Do you have a stack of ice cube trays collecting dust in a cabinet or drawer? Then, consider this clever new use for them:

Freeze Leftover Stock or Sauces


Have a bit of soup stock, tomato juice or sauce leftover after you've prepared a meal? Ice cube trays are the perfect way to store it. Just fill a tray with your leftovers, and freeze. Then, transfer the cubes to a freezer bag once they're completely frozen.

How much liquid does a cube hold? One ice cube is generally the equivalent ... Find all the uses.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Does Organic Also Mean Sustainable or Just Non-Toxic?

Did you know quite a few, if not most, of organic food companies these days are actually owned by major labels that you stopped supporting years ago? Is that really a problem, since it means that organic is available just about everywhere these days, or does it mean the movement has lost part of its soul? New article by the Reading Eagle delves into the issue.

Michael Potter, owner of Eden Foods Inc, in a recent interview with Reading Eagle, said that he gets offers several times a week these days to sell his company. While he has stuck to his guns thus far, many people mock him for not ... Find out more.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Thoughts on Abandoning the Paper Towel

We have little kids. Kids are messy. Our daughter spills milk or juice on almost a nightly basis. Our son, who’s a bit older, doesn’t make messes as often, but when he does, they tend to be even more disastrous, such as a full jar of salsa knocked off the counter and shattered all over the floor.

For years, our solution to this problem has been a big roll of paper towels. It’s simply what we’re familiar with and, like many simple and familiar things in life, it was almost an automatic thing to have on hand. We simply had paper towels in the ... Read the entire article.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ways To Cut Your Consumption

Consumption costs us money and the more simply we choose to live, the more money we can save. The thing is, no matter how eco-friendly the products that we buy may be, they still come with packaging, they still take energy to make, and they are nearly always still trucked from somewhere. The biggest/most obvious eco-friendly tip of the year is consuming less (energy, water, "stuff,") is better for the planet. Find '15 Easy Ways' how you can, with tips from milk to make-up, cleaning agents to coffee.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Remote Control Hacks Save Time and Money

If time is money, and I sincerely believe it is, then these five remote control hacks will save you a little of both. I discovered them when I was searching for a way to increase the range of my remote control (I just can't change channels all that well from the kitchen) and found not one but five great hacks. Some are time savers, others money savers, and some do both. They're all quick, easy and require very little, if any, extra materials.

Skip Ads Easily with a Standard Cable Remote Control
This first hack should take you about five minutes.The basic premise is this: your average Motorola-made DVR, the one that your cable-TV provider gives you, should come with the ability to skip ads ... See all the hacks.

Back to Savings College Tips

Now that you’re living on your own, you’re free to make important decisions in your everyday life — from what food to eat at dinnertime to how to spend your school nights.

Trust me, there’s nothing better than being able to take a two-hour nap in the afternoon and then catch a late-night movie with friends. One thing to not forget about, though, is your eco-lifestyle, even with the abundance of resources that colleges have available.

Having lived the college life for three years now, I’ve learned quite a bit, and here are my top 10 tips — in no particular order — on how stay green this year. Read the entire article.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Get Cash For Saving Energy

Sure, everyone knows that saving energy saves money by lowering utility bills. Well, now you can get paid for saving energy at home by registering at MyEmissionsExchange.com. This free website pays registered users for lowering their monthly utility bills.

After you sign up, you can earn rewards by showing that you’ve reduced your electric, natural gas, propane or fuel oil bill from the same month a year ago.

You must prove 12 months of bill history before you start earning rewards; most utility bills display a year’s worth of billing history. All you have to do is input a recent utility bill. As you reduce your energy use, you gain “personal carbon credits,” verified by MyEmissionsExchange.com. Read the entire article.

Virtual Memorials for People and Pets

A virtual memorial is an online memorial website that celebrates the personal life story of a departed loved one, human or pet. It offers a way to honor a loved one in a way that can be shared with anybody online. I believe the process of creating one would be very healing.

Virtual Memorials was founded in 1996 and hosts thousands of online memorial websites. Memorials are created either as public to share with the world or made private. For private tributes, you must be invited by the memorial creator to visit and given a password.

Honoring memorials can include the following occasions:

Birthdays
Anniversaries
Infants
Children
Teenagers
Heros

Visit Virtual Memorials website to find free memorials or sponsored ones with a fee. They have also launched a site, Critters.com for pet memorials.

Monday, September 21, 2009

How a House Becomes a Home

Explore the deeper meaning of your home's style.

Home. It’s a small word for a universal idea, one that resonates deeply with complex individual meanings and associations.

Regardless of whether home is a room, apartment, cottage or mansion, how homey it seems depends first on two physical factors: light coming in on two sides and a view of greenery or sky, according to Clare Cooper Marcus, professor emerita of the departments of architecture and landscape architecture and environmental planning at the University of California, Berkeley. “We yearn for nature,” she observes. “Houseplants or a view of a garden is a universal desire.”

In her seminal book, House as a Mirror of Self: Exploring the Deeper Meaning of Home, which resulted from her work on a low-income housing project and a series of case studies, Marcus came to understand that “People consciously and unconsciously use their home environment to express something about themselves.” For Marcus, our evolving self-image is directly reflected in the homes we create, like a chambered nautilus, around our deepest self.

Sometimes, we discover that we have outgrown the shell in which we currently live, and a change is in order, remarks Jill Butler, an illustrator, creativity coach and author of Create the Space You Deserve: An Artistic Journey to Expressing Yourself Through Your Home. Read the entire article.

2010 Census Cautions

This information is being distributed by the Dallas / Ft. Worth IBM Organization to warn it's thousands of members of fraud associated with the 2010 Census (some pre-census activity is already underway). However, this warning is for ALL citizens, so you may want to pass it on to everyone you know.

Be cautious about giving information to Census workers with the U.S. Census process. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises people to be cooperative, but cautious, so as not to become a victim of fraud or identity theft. The first phase of the 2010 U.S. Census is under way as workers have begun verifying the addresses of households across the country. Eventually, more than 140,000 U.S. Census workers will count every person in the United States and will gather information about every person living at each address including name, age, gender, race, and other relevant data. The big question is - how do you tell the difference between a U.S. Census worker and a con artist? BBB offers the following advice:

** If a U.S. Census worker knocks on your door, they will have a:
badge
handheld device
Census Bureau canvas bag
confidentiality notice

Ask to see their identification and heir badge before answering their questions. However, you should never invite anyone you don't know into your home.

Census workers are currently only knocking on doors to verify address information. Do not give your Social Security number, credit card or banking information to anyone, even if they claim they need it for the U.S. Census. While the Census Bureau might ask for basic financial information, such as a salary range, it will not ask for Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers, nor will employees Solicit donations.

Eventually, Census workers may contact you by telephone, mail, or in person at home. However, they will not contact you by Email, so be on the lookout for Email scams impersonating the Census.

Never click on a link or open any attachments in an Email that are supposedly from the U.S. Census Bureau. More info here.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Nutrients Children Need

The following key nutrients are needed to help ensure that children obtain nutrition for optimal health. If you're already aware of nutrient needs for children, view the new Nature's Sunshine line of products for children: Sunshine Heroes Children's Supplements.

VITAMINS AND MINERALS
A child’s diet must provide the essential nutrients to support physical and cognitive development. For optimal health, children must obtain a balanced and healthy diet. Adding a vitamin and mineral supplement to a child’s diet ensures that these important nutrients are not missed.

Pediatricians especially recommend a daily multiple vitamin and mineral supplement for children who may not eat regular, well-balanced meals made from fresh, whole foods; picky eaters who may not eat enough; children with high activity levels who play physically demanding sports; children who eat a lot of fast food and processed foods; and children eating a vegetarian, dairy-free or other restricted diet. A multiple vitamin and mineral supplement is also recommended for children who may drink a lot of carbonated sodas, which can leach vitamins and minerals from the body.1

CALCIUM
Lifelong calcium intake is essential for maintaining healthy bones. Obtaining adequate calcium is especially important during childhood and adolescence, when bones are growing and developing. The American Academy of Pediatrics has stated that, “Most older children and adolescents in the United States currently do not achieve the recommended intake of calcium. Maintaining adequate calcium intake during childhood and adolescence is necessary for the development of peak bone mass, which may be important in reducing the risk of fractures and osteoporosis later in life. Optimal calcium intake is especially relevant during adolescence, when most bone mineral accretion occurs.”2

VITAMIN D
Vitamin D is most well-known for its role in helping the body maintain healthy levels of calcium and phosphorus. It is essential for building and maintaining healthy bones. Calcium can be absorbed by the body only when vitamin D is present. Vitamin D plays many important roles beyond bone health. In adults, recent scientific evidence suggests that vitamin D plays a vital role in maintaining innate immunity.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recently doubled its recommendation for the minimum amount of vitamin D that children should get daily. The new guidelines recommend at least 400 international units daily.3 That’s about four 8-ounce glasses of milk, but most children don’t drink enough milk to provide adequate levels of vitamin D. The AAP states that the best way to ensure that children receive adequate vitamin D is through supplementation.

OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to human health but cannot be manufactured by the body. For this reason, omega-3 fatty acids must be obtained through the diet. Scientific studies confirm the numerous benefits that omega-3 fatty acids can have on human health in terms of mental, visual, nervous system and cardiovascular benefits. Two long-chain forms of omega-3 fatty acids, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), are both found almost exclusively in deep, cold-water fish. These fatty acids are key building blocks in every cell in the body. DHA and EPA are recognized for their health benefits in all life stages and are essential components as the body grows and develops.

DHA is critical for the optimal development and function of the brain, eyes and central nervous system during infancy and childhood. DHA is a major structural fat in the brain and eyes, representing approximately 97% of all omega-3 fats in the brain and 93% of all omega-3 fats in the retina.4 Because DHA is a primary component of the brain and retina, a lack of sufficient DHA can negatively impact the development and function of these organs.

WHOLE FOOD ANTIOXIDANTS
Modern diets often lack sufficient amounts of fruits, vegetables and other whole foods. Thus they are generally low in essential nutrients and antioxidants needed for optimum health. Research continues to show that a higher intake of antioxidant-rich fruits, vegetables and other whole foods is extremely important for good health.5 The National Cancer Institute recommends eating at least 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.6

Fruits and vegetables are naturally rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients such as resveratrol, ellagic acid, flavonoids, carotenoids, anthocyanins and chlorophyll. Whole foods are also a natural source of essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Whole foods provide a broad spectrum of phytonutrients that work synergistically to promote overall health and wellness. Research indicates that combinations of nutrients and antioxidants found in whole foods may have greater protective effects than individual nutrients taken alone.5,7

DIGESTIVE ENZYMES
Digestive enzymes are made by the body but are also obtained through the diet. Fruits and vegetables are good sources of dietary enzymes. Unfortunately, cooking food can destroy these enzymes. Like their parents, most children do not eat enough raw foods and can therefore benefit from digestive enzyme supplementation.8

Digestive issues are becoming more and more common in children. Even if a child eats a healthful diet, if his or her digestive system does not function optimally, the child may not get all of the nutrients needed.8 Lack of optimal digestive function due to enzyme deficiency can lead to malabsorption of nutrients. Many children may not experience optimal health because of faulty digestion.8,9

Check out the new Nature's Sunshine line of products for children:
References
1 . “Vitamins for kids: Do healthy kids need vitamins?” Health & Parenting. Hoffman, M. 13 May 2008. WebMD. 26 March 2009. .
2 . Greer, F. R., Krebs, N., F. (2006, February). Optimizing bone health and calcium intakes of infants, children, and adolescents. Pediatrics, 117(2), 578-585.
3 . Wagner, C., L., Greer, F., R. (2008, November). Prevention of rickets and vitamin D deficiency in infants, children, and adolescents. Pediatrics, 122(5), 1142-1152.
4 . James A Greenberg, J.A., Bell, S. J., & Van Ausdal, W. (2008, Fall). Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation during pregnancy. Reviews in Obstetrics & Gynecology, 1(4), 162–169.
5 . Lui RH. Health benefits of fruit and vegetables are from additive and synergistic combinations of phytochemicals. Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2003 Sep;78(3 Suppl):517S-520S.
6 . “Fruits and Vegies Matter.” 2009. Center for Disease Control. 16 April 2009.
7 . “Can Foods Forestall Aging?” 2007. US Department of Agriculture. 20 April 2009.
8 . Lipski Elizabeth Ph.D, CCN. Digestive Wellness for Children: How to Strengthen the Immune System & Prevent Disease Through Healthy Digestion. California: Basic Health Publications;2006.
9 . Oelgoetz AW M.D., Oelgoetz PA B.A., Wittenkind J. RN. The treatment of food allergy and indigestion of pancreatic origin with pancreatic enzymes. American Journal of Digestive Disorders and Nutrition. 1935;2:422–6.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

How To Get Free E-Books

During a recent bus ride, Jessica Goldstein, a fellow passenger, was staring into her cell phone. But she was not sending out text messages or checking e-mail. Classic literature had bookmarked her attention.

Goldstein, a technical writer, uses her cell phone as an electronic book gadget. She downloads free books through Project ... Find out more.

How to Make Your Commute Profitable

Every day, I use public transportation to commute to my day job. The arrangement saves money, reduces my carbon footprint and actually helps me to earn extra money. Here’s how I get the most from the local transit system.

Time-deprived car drivers snack, shave, text, study, groom, read and shout into cell phones during rush-hour commutes. But life in the fast lane is dangerous when drivers become distracted by gadgets, food, newspapers and cosmetics.

In contrast, on a bus, train or trolley, I can safely catch up on ... Read the entire article.

Reduce Your Spending Without Misery

Given that everyone’s life is different, it’s hard to point to a list of things that’s guaranteed to not be boring for everyone. For example, I find things like making a batch of laundry detergent to be fun because I can get the kids involved with it, but I recognize that others might not enjoy such things.

So, I made a list of twenty one spending reducing suggestions that I felt either didn’t have any impact at all on quality of life (things you can do once and benefit from for a while) or, if they’re repeatable, are inherently fun. #1. Get rid of stuff you don’t use.

Take a trip through your home and look around for things that you simply don’t use – and do something about it. Collect together things you rarely use and will probably never use again. Sell them off, give them away – just get rid of the clutter.

Why do this? For one, it makes your home less cluttered and more enjoyable. The result of this is that it’s more enjoyable to spend time at home ... Read the entire article.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

12 Clever Substitutions That Save Money (Nearly) Effortlessly

One of my favorite ways to trim money from my spending is to find simple little substitutes for my regular expenses. If I can trim a few bucks from the cost of household supplies, routine purchases, and other things like that, over the long run, that can add up to a lot of money with virtually no change in my life. Here are twelve of my favorites (not including my “infamous” homemade laundry detergent).
Laundry Softener -> Vinegar
Instead of buying expensive laundry detergent, just use half a cup of white vinegar to the “softener” cup in your washing machine. It accomplishes the same effect as softener – it makes your clothes really soft – plus it breaks down the laundry detergent, making the clothes much better for people with sensitive skin or allergies. What about the smell? Once the clothes are dried, you smell nothing at all. You can buy four gallons of vinegar for $6, meaning the cost per load is about $0.05, while a load’s worth of Downy costs about $0.15. You save a dime per load and your clothes are less chemical laden.
Ziplocs -> Reusable Containers
Ziplocs – especially the small ones – usually wind up in the ... Read the other substitutions.

Monday, September 14, 2009

5 Ways to Avoid Overspending at the Grocery Store

Think running into the supermarket to get a loaf of bread is easy? Think again. Grocery stores are laden with traps that try to convince you to buy more than you set out to get. Here are some ways you can avoid them and save some money and shelf space.

Make a shopping list and stick to it. This is the easiest and most effective way to avoid overspending at the grocery store as long as you make sure to adhere strictly to the list. If you do this, you don’t even need to worry about following all the other tips.
Bring a calculator with you. All cell phones have a calculator function, so whip those out every time you are trying to decide which item is a better deal. If you are caught between spending $5 for a regular-sized can of coffee grounds or $6 for a slightly bigger one, look at the volume difference between the two and do the math. Although most of the time, the bigger volume will be cheaper ounce-per-ounce, this may not always be the case. Use the calculator to figure out which is the best deal. Also, don’t forget to factor in your consumption. Just because the math works out doesn’t mean you are actually saving money if you aren’t going to finish it before the expiry date.
Avoid the “2 for $5” deals. ... Read the entire article.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

DIY: Homemade Shampoo and Rinse

In the process of one day I could deal with more chemicals than I know how to sound out. From the morning of getting up and taking a shower, cleaning my hair, brushing my teeth to using the toilet and cleaning the bathroom. It is amazing the chemicals that are in our lives without really noticing.

One of the promises I made to myself was to increase the amount of homemade items I use in my house for two reasons:
1. Cut down on the price of groceries
2. Cut down on the chemicals that I have no clue about.

One of my steps towards that goal is to make my own shampoo and rinse instead of spending $4 per bottle of shampoo and conditioner. Plus I have been unhappy with the results from shampoos and conditioners, so instead of spending more money ... Read the entire article.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Do You Save Loose Change?

My grandmother was a prodigious coin saver. I remember one summer when I was about ten years old helping her roll dozens of rolls of coins. Sensing I was getting a little bored making my piles of fifty pennies, she took me back to her room where she had hidden shoe boxes of rolled coins under her bed.

She took the tops off those old shoe boxes and I remember peering into them and seeing roll after roll of quarters, nickels and dimes. She had whole boxes dedicated to pennies. There was easily a few hundred dollars in change under her bed.

The Coin Collector’s Christmas Club
“Nana, what are you saving all those coins for? ... Read the entire article.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Get Rid of Fruit Flies

We bought a bushel of peaches and as each basketful was ripening, the fruit flies battled for ownership. I researched online at About.com's Frugal Living website and found this great idea that worked.

What You Need:

Apple cider vinegar
Dish soap
A jar or small bowl
Plastic wrap

What You Do:

1. Pour a cup of apple cider vinegar into a jar or small bowl.

2. Add a couple drops of dish soap to the jar.

3. Cover the container with plastic wrap, and poke a few small holes in the wrap.

4. Place in the area where you've seen the fruit flies, and wait for the trap to do its job.

Why This Works:

Fruit flies are attracted to the smell of the vinegar, and will attempt to land on its surface. However, they're in for a surpise – since the dish soap breaks the surface tension of the vinegar, the fruit flies fall in and drown. Say good-bye to that annoying swarm!

Benefits of Using Vinegar:

no harsh fumes
inexpensive
environmentally-friendly

Tips and Warnings:

1) Keep out of the reach of children

2) A bottle with a small neck can also be used. (Plastic wrap isn't necessary, if you use this approach)

Source: About.com's Frugal Living
Get more frugal tips at their website.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

No Interest Payment Plan Credit Card for Pets

While I was at the Emergency Vet for our kitty, Squeek, I noticed a brochure on CareCredit. It appears it's a credit card you can use for your pets needs, with no interest payment plans. I scanned the brochure and have scanned the website. Seems too good to be true. If you find any "gotchas" leave a comment below.
Here's some info from their website:
He's your best pal. Your loyal cuddling partner. Your faithful companion. You don't even mind those early morning walks. He needs regular checkups, just like the rest of us. He gets sick, too.

CareCredit is here to help keep him healthy with the card designed specifically for you and your pet's health needs. Whether it's an everyday checkup, or an emergency surgery, we offer you convenient monthly payment options, no up-front costs, no prepayment penalties and no annual fees so you can worry about the important stuff. You know, like playing fetch and learning new tricks. Read more.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Top 10 Uses for Vinegar

Still not convinced that vinegar is a must-have in every home? Check out this list.

1 - Cleaning drains: Pour 1/2 cup baking soda in the drain, followed by 1/2 cup vinegar; the mixture will foam as it cleans and deodorizes. Use every few weeks to keep drains clean.

2 - Mildew on plastic shower curtains: Put the shower curtain in the washing machine with light-colored towels; add 1 cup white vinegar to the detergent and wash.

3 - Soap scum on shower: Spray on vinegar, scrub and rinse.

4 - Toilet hard-water rings: Shut off water at the tank and flush to remove as much water as possible. Spray vinegar on the ring, sprinkle in borax and scrub with drywall sandpaper.

Read rest of article: Top 10 Uses for Vinegar at DIYnetwork.com.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Excellent At-Home Singing Course

I began singing lessons a few years ago and was very dissatisfied with the results after a few lessons. I didn't have the piano to do the scales so I didn't feel I was progressing very far. I also began thinking about how much money would be invested in this project.

Being a self-motivated type of person, I decided to look online for something ... and found it! I purchased the Singing Success course by Brett Manning years ago and have enjoyed it immensely and am VERY pleased with the results I continue to get any time I go back to it. What I learn sticks too because it makes so much sense with all of his explanations and examples.

I wanted to share this information with you because I know there are many who would love to improve their voice but don't have the weekly dollars to dedicate to it. This course has a six-month guarantee. If you don't get what's promised, you can send it back for a full refund. It's also available in Spanish.

You can read my whole story from when I initially began using it on The Frugal Life website. There's also some related articles by Brett Manning you may find interesting.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Does Frugality Help or Hinder Eliminating Clutter?

In order for us to live a more frugal life and live below our means it requires that we re-use items instead of going out to buy something new. However, does that mean that our frugality causes us to live in a cluttered house?

There are many uses for bread bags, shower curtains, plastic containers, glass jars and so on. But does that mean that we have to keep it all. Will the guilt be to much to bear if we throw away an item? What are a good number of items to keep for re-use? ... Read the entire article.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

10 Best College Environmental Programs

Every year, the number of green college programs--and the number of students enrolled in them -- rises, as careers in environmental policy, sustainability, law, and management become more common. And whether your interest lies in marine conservation, agriculture, sustainable building, or fisheries, there's a program out there for you:

Click through to see 10 that earn an A-plus for the education, experience, and research opportunities they provide.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Many Reasons To Make Do With Less

Why would someone choose to have less than they could? Lots of reasons. There are as many ways to live large as there are people who refuse to think small. Over the time I've been writing for Wise Bread, I've expanded my list of reasons by quite a bit.

One thing that I liked about Wise Bread right from the start is that it's about living large, and very much not about depriving yourself. The connection isn't always obvious, though, so I thought I'd run down my list. Making do with less helps you live large by letting you:

1) Focus on what's important (by" ... Read the entire article.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Frugal Ideas Taking Hold With Families

A joint research from Starcom and Nickelodeon found out a few things. First the study:

'The research -- which is being shared with clients but not released widely -- was conducted over fourth-quarter 2008 and first-quarter 2009, and included nationally representative online surveys of 1,000 parents with kids aged 2 to 17 and 700 children aged 8 to 17. Qualitative parental responses were culled from blogs.'

72 percent agreed with the statement, 'It's no longer important to keep up with the Joneses.'
48 percent said that 'we have redefined what's truly meaningful in our lives.'
Over 60 percent of those polled said they were buying more store brands than previously
73 percent said they had started using coupons more.
46 percent said they would take a 'staycation'... Read the entire article.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Garden Seed Swapping

Our green-headed coneflower are seeding and the American Goldfinches are all over them as you can see from the photo.

It's that time of year when plants are forming seeds to repopulate themselves next year, to feed the birds that are migrating through, and so you have seeds to share with others.

DO NOT deadhead your plants or clear them out of the ground at the end of their bloom time. Leave them to feed the migrating birds. We tidy up our yard in the Spring. The plants also offer cover to overwintering beneficial insects. We've seen praying mantis egg cases and butterflies will winter over in chrysalises to emerge in Spring.

There's something miraculous about seeds. Such a tiny thing and yet it holds the strength and power of what will become a plant that will sustain the lives of wildlife, insects, birds and butterflies. All while providing the visual enjoyment and beauty that flowers bring to our lives.

Swap seeds with other gardeners. Here's a few sites to get you started: GardenWeb.com, Garden.org, and Dave's Garden.com

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Online Research Before Buying

by Ann Smarty

I’ve been in online buying-selling long enough to understand two important things which makes shopping via the Internet both irresistible and dangerous:

* Online shopping is convenient and money-saving: you don’t pay for gas to drive to the mall, sellers offer lower prices because they save on place, and doing research online is easy and lets you locate best prices;

* Online shopping is dangerous: there are plenty of scammers and even if you pay via secure methods like PayPal allowing to eventually return your money, you risk going into the long stressful process of opening disputes, issuing claims and waiting for the replies.

So to make sure your online shopping experience is both useful and enjoyable, let me share a few things how to do some proper online research in order to (1) locate the best price and save money and (2) stay away from Internet scam." Read the entire article for steps to take.

Making Almond Milk For Pennies

Almonds are one of the healthiest nuts you can eat. They're rich in magnesium, potassium, manganese, copper, the antioxidants vitamin E and selenium, and calcium. Almond milk has only about 45 calories in a cup, whereas 2% cow's milk has 122 per cup. Not to mention missing all the hormones and antibiotics in cow's milk.

Organic Vanilla Almond Milk
1 cup raw almonds
4 cups filtered water
Pinch of sea salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp raw honey

Soak the nuts in water for 12 hours. You should rinse and drain the nuts at least once during this period.

Combine the nuts with the filtered water in a blender. Break all the nuts down but don't let the blender heat the mixture.

Strain the mixture through the nut bag. Add sea salt, raw honey, and vanilla extract and mix thoroughly.

The milk should keep for about five days.

You can get the nut bag mentioned below at your local health foods store or substitute a sieve.

Source: Happy Foody

I love the taste of almond milk, but I like the calcium factor of soy milk, so I use Tofu Moo most of the time with almond milk being a treat. I like not having a deadline to finish the Tofu Moo since I can make as little as I need at the time since it's a powder. I alter the directions by using half the amount of powder recommended which makes it $.70 a quart. It's also easy to travel with since I can take it in a jar and just add water for those hotel breakfasts.
"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