Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ways to Get Free Plants

Craigslist: Post a Wanted ad on Craigslist, asking for free plants. Most gardeners love to help others out when they have excess in their own garden. (If you have some plants already, this is a great place to offer to trade plants). Another free site you can request free plants is on FreeCycle.

Nursery: While you wouldn't typically think about getting free plants at a nursery, they can be an excellent place to get them. Always take the time to ask if the nursery has any plants that they're going to be tossing? A part of the business is that sad looking plants don't sell well and they need to get rid of them somehow. That often means throwing them out. When you pick up free plants this way, they won't look very good the first year, but with some TLC many can make a wonderful come back and look great for years to come.

Landscaping Crews: Another great place to get free plants is from landscaping crews. If you see a landscaping crew working on a job where they are replacing displays, be sure to stop and ask what they are going to do with the plants they are taking out. Often times the plants being replaced are going to be thrown out or composted. It doesn't hurt to ask, and more often than not you'll come away with a large number of plants.

One note with this approach is that you'd better be prepared for them to "gift" you with everything they were going to compost. You will want to travel with a kit for these situations in your vehicle which includes empty boxes, buckets, trash bags, garden gloves, etc. This approach is especially effective in civic gardens or at large commercial jobs.

Yellow Pages: Not having luck in finding landscapers on the road? Another effective approach is to open up the yellow pages and get on the phone. Call all the local ... Find Out More Ways.

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6 Easy Salad Dressing Recipes

Six Easy Salad Dressing Recipes
by Rachel Paxton

t probably wouldn't occur to you to try to make your own salad dressings. You would be surprised at how many different types of salad dressings you can make from ingredients you already have on hand. They are easy to prepare, and you can't beat the taste. Try one of these recipes and you won't go back to store bought salad dressings again!

Creamy Garlic & Dill Dressing

1 cup milk
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp. dried dill weed
Salt and pepper


Blend milk, parsley, and garlic in a blender until smooth. Pour milk mixture into a bowl and add mayonnaise, dill weed, salt, and pepper. Whisk until blended.

Fresh Basil Dressing

1 3/4 cups olive oil
1 handful fresh basil leaves, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper


Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

Get the Other 4 Recipes.

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Automotive Uses for Vinegar

Because white distilled vinegar has so many wonderful uses as a cleaning agent, it’s no surprise that it is also perfect to use on some of your bigger cleaning projects—namely automobiles. The next time you’re washing your car, shift into high gear and really make it shine with a little vinegar.
Keep car windows frost-free overnight in winter by coating them with a solution of 3 parts white distilled vinegar to 1 part water.

Polish car chrome with full-strength white distilled vinegar on a soft cloth.

Remove unwanted decals and bumper stickers by covering them with a cloth soaked in white distilled vinegar, or by repeatedly spraying them with full-strength white distilled vinegar. They should peel off in a couple of hours.

Rid the windshield wipers of road grime by wiping them with a white distilled vinegar-soaked cloth.

Remove the leftover odor after a rider has been carsick by leaving a bowl of white distilled vinegar overnight on the floor.

Get More Vinegar Uses.

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Gardening Uses for Vinegar

Garden
White distilled vinegar provides many safe and natural ways to protect and enhance your garden and gardening tools. Not only will you feel good about keeping children and pets (and you!) away from pesticides and other chemicals, you’ll feel great about the low cost of vinegar compared to those other products.
Kill weeds and grass growing in unwanted places by pouring full-strength white distilled vinegar on them. This works especially well in crevices and cracks of walkways and driveways.

Give acid-loving plants like azaleas, rhododendrons, hydrangeas and gardenias a little help by watering them with a white distilled vinegar solution now and again. A cup of white distilled vinegar to a gallon of tap water is a good mixture.

Stop ants from congregating by pouring white distilled vinegar on the area.

Discourage cats from getting into the kids’ sandbox with white distilled vinegar.

Preserve cut flowers and liven droopy ones by adding 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar and 1 teaspoon sugar to a quart of water in a vase.

Get rid of the water line in a flower vase by filling it with a solution of half water and half white distilled vinegar, or by soaking a paper towel in white distilled vinegar and stuffing it into the vase so that it is in contact with the water line.

Clean out stains and white mineral crusts in clay, glazed and plastic pots by soaking them for an hour or longer in a sink filled with a solution of half water and half white distilled vinegar. ... Get More Uses.

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FDA Cigarette Warnings Get Graphic

The modest one-liners on the dangers of smoking, now featured on cigarette packs, will soon turn into graphic images and messages that cover nearly half the pack. But many experts say the new labels don't go far enough compared to the gruesome images displayed on cigarette labels in more than 40 other countries.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration unveiled the final nine graphics that will appear on cigarette packs, including images of a man smoking from a tracheotomy hole, and rotting teeth wtih short one-line facts such as, 'cigarettes cause cancer.' Read the entire article.

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18 Tips For The Frugal Cook

1. If you use applesauce to replace oil in baking, you can buy the large size jar. Pour leftover applesauce into a freezer container and freeze until the next baking day.

2. If your recipe says use an 11 x 7 x 2 inch pan and you don't have one, you can use your 9-inch square baking pan instead and you won't even have to adjust the baking time.

3. When you find chicken on sale, before you put it in the freezer, go ahead and coat it with seasoning mix. Then it's so easy to just remove as many pieces as you need to thaw and bake.

4. Check the prices at your grocery store: it may be cheaper to use squares of semi-sweet baking chocolate than chocolate chips, when your recipe calls for melted chips.

5. An easy way to drain browned ground beef is to brown it in the microwave oven in a microwave-safe colander, so the fat drains into another bowl underneath.

6. When making carrot cake or muffins, try using baby food carrots instead of regular grated carrots, to save time. ... Get 12 More Tips.

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Vinegar Uses for Cooking

Enjoying a salad with a tangy vinaigrette dressing is one of the most popular ways to use vinegar in the kitchen. But that’s just the beginning! Regular and flavored vinegars are versatile recipe ingredients that add flavor and distinction, and can also contribute to good health!

To make basic vinaigrette salad dressing use 1 part white distilled vinegar to 4 parts oil.

Tenderize meat with white distilled vinegar. Use it in marinades or when slow cooking any tough, inexpensive cuts of meat.

When poaching eggs, add a little white distilled vinegar to the water. The whites stay better formed.

For extra tenderness with boiling ribs or stew meat add a tablespoon of white distilled vinegar.

Freshen wilted vegetables by soaking them in cold water containing a spoonful or two of white distilled vinegar.

Make pasta less sticky and reduce some of its starch. Add just a dash of white distilled vinegar to the water as it cooks.

Try cider or malt white distilled vinegar instead of ketchup with french fries—that’s how the British like to eat them. Either one is also great on fish or any fried or broiled meat.

Remove kitchen odors that come from burnt pots or when cooking certain foods by boiling a small amount of water with 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar so that the steam circulates throughout the room.

Make onion odors disappear from your hands by rubbing with white distilled vinegar.

Add moistness and taste to any chocolate cake—homemade or from a box—with a spoonful of white distilled vinegar.

Even More Uses Here.

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Harvest Your Own Seeds

The frugal gardener should be outside searching the plants in their gardens that are going to seed. These are the very same seeds most people buy at the garden stores in the spring. That's right, the seeds are sitting right in front of us, waiting to be harvested!

If left alone, the seeds will dry and drop around the original plant(s). If you gather the seed & save them over winter, you can start them indoors, in a greenhouse or plant them directly in the garden after the last frost (there is also nothing wrong with letting them seed on their own. It may get a bit crowded, but you can dig up the 'babies' and replant them).

All you need to harvest your own seeds are a few basic supplies and you'll be ready to become a Seed Saver!

Marker
Envelopes
Small paper bags (occasionally a BIG bag, depending on the size of your plants)
Clippers

Pick a dry day to gather seeds as they will be less likely to mold over winter. Search out the plants that are at the end of their growing season. If you look closely where the flowers were, you should be able to spot ... Read the entire article.

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Ask Medical Questions FREE!

Founded in 2009, Sharecare is an interactive social QA platform created by Jeff Arnold and Dr. Mehmet Oz in partnership with Harpo Studios, HSW International, Sony Pictures Television and Discovery Communications.

Sharecare is designed to greatly simplify the search for quality healthcare information and provide consumers with the necessary tools to make smart health choices and live healthier lives. Our mission is to answer the world's questions of health and achieve a collective wisdom by developing a comprehensive database of all of the questions of health and wellness and actively recruiting industry experts to answer them. Leading physicians, nurses, hospitals, clinics, authors, healthcare companies and non-profits connect, interact and share their collective expertise encouraging consumers to ask, learn and act upon questions of health.

Read answers to existing questions, in the current 48 topics, and ask your own.

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

New Uses for "Throwaways" in the Garden

Here is a short list of some of the items which many people throw away that I reuse in some way while I am gardening. By no means is this a complete listing, but it is a good starting point to get your creative juices flowing:

Plastic knives: I love these. I’ve always been a terribly lazy gardener and in the past I never marked the plants and seeds when I’ve stuck them in the ground. I have this problem no more. With my permanent marker and a handful of plastic knives, I’ve got plant markers for everything this season.

Old panty hose: I like cutting the legs off these and using them to tie up plants like tomatoes. These are ideal because they stretch a bit so the plants aren’t held rigidly to the trellis.


Clear plastic clam shell type containers: I use the clamshell packaging for muffins and such by poking a drainage hole in the bottom, filling with potting soil and planting seeds in these. Once done, close the top down and you have an instant mini greenhouse. If it gets too warm, simply open the lid. When the plants get large enough, you can transplant them to the garden, rinse out the makeshift greenhouse and store it away for next year.

Shower curtains: I use a couple of old shower curtains that have been around for years. They are extremely handy for ... Read the entire article.

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Hospital Stay? Get Itemized Bill

Whenever you are hospitalized request an itemized bill. A daily listing of your charges helps you to keep track of what procedures, medications and services were performed on you or not.

If you do get charged for something that wasn't provided then you should let the hospital billing department know. Most billing departments are very easy to work with so just give them the facts.

Also, look for any charges that are outrageous and misnamed. Like this example, an individual was charged $30.00 for a "thermal therapy kit" which is another name for an ice bag. Needless to say, that charge was protested.

Lastly, even if you get the service/procedure you will want to make sure you weren't double-billed for it.

from AARP Special Bulletin

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Sell Your Books - Get FAST Cash!

At www.cash4books.net or www.sellbackyourbook.com type in your ISBN on the book you want to sell. Immediately, you will be given an offer. If you like the offer, fill out and attach their prepaid mailing label, box the books and send them off.

Payment can be by check or credit to your PayPal account. Shipping is FREE. So find out what treasures you have on your bookshelves.

from AARP Special Report

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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Celebrate National Get Outdoors Day - June 11

Saturday, June 11, 2011, will mark the third consecutive year of National Get Outdoors Day. Also known as GO-Day, the specially designated day encourages people everywhere to get outside and reconnect with nature.

Childhood obesity is a growing problem in the United States, as the average child spends 7.5 hours per day in front of a screen. To combat inactivity, GO-Day is an outgrowth of Get Outdoor USA! Last year, over 25,000 families and children participated in GO-Day events. Whether you decide to take a far away trip to explore the outdoors or simply venture out to a local park, get active.

If you are a first time visitor or a returning outdoor enthusiast, be sure to look into special events and discounts! If you are searching for a GO-Day event or participating location in your area, click here to find your state. This year, there are a total of 96 locations across the country participating.

Each location will provide a variety of activities, both educational and informational. Visitors can learn how to pitch a tent, go geocaching, go fishing and more. Other locations will also have information focusing on sustainability, nutrition and the environment. Get the whole scoop here and plan your day.

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For more nature and gardening information, visit The Nature In Us.

Great Backyard Campout - June 25

National Wildlife Federation’s Great American Backyard Campout, slated this year for June 25. Email the neighbors and get some families to do this together. What a fun annual celebration this would be, especially for the kids to play and be surrounded by family.

Camping, even for just a night in a backyard, is a way to put children in touch with nature. A study in the 1990s found that people who grew up to be conservationists almost invariably had someone in their lives who introduced them to nature as a child.

Former president Jimmy Carter put it more eloquently: “It is good to realize that if love and peace can prevail on earth, and if we can teach our children to honor nature’s gifts, the joys and beauties of the outdoors will be here forever.” Introducing a child to the outdoors can create a commitment to nature that lasts a lifetime.

Some of you participating in this camping event may wonder what to do after nightfall. Here are seven activities that may keep you and the kids amused.

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For more nature and gardening information, visit The Nature In Us.

Free Admission to National Parks - June 21

Every national park will offer free admission on June 21, not only the first day of summer, but the longest day of the year. You'll have more sunlight to stay longer.

This is $25 savings for a carload at most parks. Go for more free visits on National Public Lands Day (September 24) and Veterans Day weekend (November 11-13). Walk, talk, hike, camp, or just sit and stare at God's amazing Creation. Being outdoors is always a healthy choice. Find a National Park near you or plan a trip to one you've always wanted to visit!

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"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