Wednesday, February 29, 2012

No poo one full week

Well its been one full week and I have to say-I love it! My hair is doing awesome, way less greasy on the second day than with shampoo and it feels different. I made the mistake of using the baking soda a second day in a row and had rough hair, but I waited and now use it every other day with a vinegar rinse and it rocks. My fiance even started using it and likes it too. Here is this weeks pic
Please excuse all the white hair which you can plainly see. I have noticed my hair is shiney and smooth and has a different texture to it. Its kinda of hard to explain, but I have always had thin fine hair and it feels thicker. I know it said not to use the vinegar rinse on color treated hair, but its been well over a year since I dyed my hair. Its growing out and just on a few inches at the end. It appears less brassy than it was and is easier to comb. Ill update again next week.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mini Milk Jug Greenhouses

I decided to try something new this year, mini milk jug greenhouses. I started off by saving my milk jugs, didnt take too long to get six, we go through about two gallons a week. I washed them and stored them, well my fiance stored them after he got tired of seeing them dry all over the limited cabinet space. I started to cut them by looking at the bottom of the jugs, they have a nice ring around the whole thing.

So I hope you can see it, the sides are smooth and the bottom is bumpy, I cut right between them.

I am left with the bottoms, but I see myself growing something in those to make use of them. Next, I went out and planted my cabbage.
Then I pushed the milk jug into the ground around it and kinda buried it a bit. I have read to put another hole in the handle and put a stick in the ground to hold it. I sure hope I dont have to do that, and that this works.
On warm days you leave the lid off or even take the jug off, on cool days just take the lid off. When it freezes leave the lid on. One thing I did notice is that if you position the opening right over the plant and try to water it it pours right on it. You might be careful when you do water with the jug on. Also, if the weather is going to be around freezing over night, it helps to water your plants well so they are less likely to get damaged by frost. Have you ever used this method? If so how did it turn out, let us know.

No Poo?

I have read a lot lately about no poo or no shampoo. Im a little sceptical, Im one of those people that likes to see the results before I try something. So I wondered what if yall were like that too. That made me want to be your guinea pig. I have been reading about pesticides and how the government is allowing us to be poisoned through our food. In a bunch of the articles it mentions how your biggest organ, your skin, is soaking up all these other things too, not just from food. Your shampoo and conditioner has sulfates in them, not to mention other things that I cant pronounce correctly. For no shampoo the only things you need to clean and condition your hair are baking soda and vinegar. Here is a great post about the no poo movement  Instead of using apple cider vinegar I used white vinegar, I can hardly stand the smell of acv. The first thing I thought when I was carrying the baking soda and vinegar to the bathroom was how they react chemically. Have you ever cleaned your drain with them? I have, I was slightly worried about this. As I started to clean my hair I realized that with long hair it would take more than a tbsp of baking soda to do my scalp. Maybe I did it wrong I dont know. I had to flip my head down so I could get the back part too. The baking soda was pretty salty, I could taste it so I shut my eyes too. It seemed weird to not have sudsyness on my hair, almost like I was missing something. When I rinsed it out my hair didnt feel as "clean" as shampoo made it feel, but it wasnt rough and dry like shampoo made it either. I did the vinegar rinse right before I got out. Since I forgot to mix it with water I just wet my hair good, poured it on and rinsed again. It still smelled like pickles when I got out. I just knew that I was going to have a horrible time brushing it, my hair is below my shoulders. I was really suprised to find that it brushed out easier than when I used conditioner. I will be sure and post about this process weekly and let you know how it goes. I am hoping to get my whole family used to using this. Its going to be hard to get the sponge bob shampoo away from my kids, but maybe they will understand. I realized when I was in the shower that I should have taken a before photo. So Ill dig through my pictures and see if I can find a good one of my hair. Ill also take one every week so you can see the process. I hope my hair isnt all oily and gross looking, I guess we will find out. I am also be going to do a series of posts about deoderant, because the aluminium in antipersperant has been linked to alzheimers. Ok here is my hair a month ago
Here is this morning

Looks good so far, Ill post again next week.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Froggy Garden

I reserved one of my raised beds for my boys to grow their cub scout garden in this year. I started cleaning it out today, its not too big or small. I guess about 5 feet long and 2 feet deep. It has an evil bush trying to grow in it and cat mint, morning glories too. I didnt do too much with it last summer, I was on bed rest most of the time. So I figured it would be a little weedy, apparently it was froggy too. I was happily hoeing along and pulling roots, when I saw something wiggling. I first thought snake and jumped a bit, then I saw webbed feet. It was trying to go deeper, so I picked it up, my six year old was helping so I showed him. "Cool" he said, I told him we should put it somewhere so it could finish sleeping until spring. We walked over to another flower bed that still had newspaper covered in hay on it, and he lifted the paper and I stuffed it under it. As I was patting the paper back down he said "Now I can step on it and kill it!" I told him no and that he would get in trouble if I caught him, silly boys. So back to work I go and a few minutes later I find another frog sitting in the grass. I put it in the same place that we had the other frog, which was gone. I didnt tell my boys about this frog, I wanted it to live. I didnt give them to my chickens, though I thought about it. It just felt wrong to give those poor little rudely awakened frogs to them. The frogs come out here in spring and happily sing in the evening, even though there is no creek or open water near by. I wonder if I woke the second one or if it was already out. Its nice to think that the other one was out already and that spring is getting closer.

25 Random Tips

Do you ever go to a blog or arcticle about tips and realize that you know most of them already? I do, but then I find that one tip that makes the whole article worth reading. I hope you find that one tip in these tips. As I was reading back over this I realized its more of rambling rants than tips, I hope you still read it and find some good ideas. Feel free to let me know your ideas or if I didnt explain one good enough give me a hollar and Ill go more in depth.
1. Have a pan that is scratched easy, but needs more scrubbing than a dish cloth can do? Use baking soda, make a paste out of it and rub it on the pan. I use this often on my crock pot, not only does it get rid of the stuck on stuff, but it leaves it deoderized as well. I notice my crock pot smells like onions a lot, lol.
2. Chickens like dog food. Im not saying only feed them this as a main food supply, but My moms dogs wouldnt eat a particular brand of dog food. It got left with me and I dole it out as treats for my girls, they love it.
3. Breast fed baby poop that stains clothes will bleach out in the sun. Thats right, after washing the item, point the offending stain towards the sun and wait for the magic to happen. It has saved many outfits here.
4. Flax seed is a natural laxative. Oh yeah, I add it to many things in my kitchen. Grind it first so you get all the benefits, I use a coffee grinder, you also get omega 3's from it. I add it to pancakes, breads, cookies, the list could go on and on. Best thing is if you use enough you wont have to spend money on those expensive fiber bars.
5. Just because a seed packet says the seed if for a particular year doesnt mean you have to throw it out like its expired. My cabbage that I just planted is from the 2010 run, they all came up. If you are weary of waisting precious soil space, try putting some of the seeds in a ziploc bag with a damp paper towl. Be sure and leave the seeds on the outside of the towel so you can see them grow, and dont zip the bag all the way up everything need air. The best way to keep your seeds is in a container that protects them from water, small children and bugs. I use a plastic container with a lid.
6. Save your egg shells, not the store bought ones, but the ones your chickens lay. Rinse them out and let them dry. If you crush them up you can feed them back to your chickens as a good source of calcium. If you dont have chickens, put them in your compost pile or use them to plant in. To make a cute tiny planter, break the top part of the egg open carefully. Rinse and dry it out, then make a pin hole in the bottom. Fill it up with dirt and plant you seed. Most people use tomatos for this method, plant it directly in the dirt when the weather is right.
7. Save you egg cartons, the non styrofoam ones. Cut down the hinge, make a few holes in the bottom where the egg rests. Fill with dirt and you have a planter, use the other half to set the planter in.
8. You can eat a salad from your yard. If you dont use anything like pesticides or fertilizers on your yard, your likely to have a great range of plants growing naturally. I have dandelions, sheep showers, chick weed, lambs quarters and wild strawberrys growing. I often stare longingly at my nieghbors wild garlic and onions, I should just ask if I can pick it. Always make sure that what you pick is edible before you eat it. You can find the info online or a book at the library or try this page
9. Want free food? Glean fruits and veggies and nuts from the wild. What is gleaning? Gleaning by defintion that I can find is-Gleaning is the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers' fields after they have been commercially harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest. Some ancient cultures promoted gleaning as an early form of a welfare system. What it is to me is, driving down the road and finidng blackberrys in the ditch and picking them. To me its finding some kind of edible food that is not in someones fence and picking it for my own use. You can find fruits, nuts, wild onions and all kinds of goodies, even mushrooms, although I am to scared to pick mushrooms and eat them. I have found persimmons, pecans, and many blackberrys this way. I also look on public lands like nature trails and Grda lands. Its a little work to get it sometimes, but its free and tastey.
10. Baby wipes clean stains magically. Do you have a set in stain on something? Try a baby wipe, it works great for a lot of things. My Mom even used it to get out milk stains that had been set in for several years in her truck.
11. Save your non glossy newspaper for your garden or flower bed. I put my garden to sleep in the winter. When planting season is done, I remove the plants, lay newspaper down about four to six sheets thick, covering the entire area. I then wet it down and cover that with hay or straw. This promotes worm activity and keeps the bacteria going for a while longer. I also use the six sheet newspaper as a weed control in the summer. I just cut a hole where the plants go and put it down and cover with hay so it will not blow away. I did this last year for the tomatos and put a soaker hose under the newspaper. It was awesome for quite some time.
12. You can make a baby rattle out of canning rings, just tie yarn around 4 or 5 of them. My son loves the noise they make.
13. Making your own bread is easier than you think. I was afraid to do it for years because of all the kneading and rising. I really love the no knead method, it has built my confidence up enough that I no longer buy bread. Its healthier to make it anyway, have you flipped your bread package over and read whats in it? I have a few recipies on my site check them out.
14. You can do many things to save electricity. I make it a point to turn lights off on sunny days and open blinds. I unplug things that are not in use and make my kids turn the lights off. I also hang clothes on the line outside when possible. Its pretty cool when I look at my utility bill now. I have gas heat, but I keep it lower during the day and cover up. If its cool when the boys get home from school I will turn it back up. When I open the house up on nice days I make sure and close the windows right when the first cool breezes blow in in the evening. That way the house stays a bit warmer for the night.
15. School sends so much paper home with kids, dont throw it away. Unless its glossy, we save it in a trash can and shred it, I can then use it for the garden or compost. This way my trash bags last longer and your saving the paper from the landfill.
16. Save the environment and recycle plastic bags. Our walmart has bins when you walk in for them and my boys love to carry them in.
17. You can make your own granola for way less than you buy at the store. Try this recipe  Its good and I didnt even use cherrys, I used plumasins.
18. Herbs are a good way to spice up your dinner or help with that plugged up nose. They are easy to grow too. Try a few basic ones like rosemary, thyme and basil. You can make a herbal steam by boiling 4 cups of water and steeping a few twigs of thyme, rosemary and pepermint. Pour it in a bowl and get your face close enough for comfort with a towel over your head and breath it all in for a bit. Did this for my oldest boy yesterday and he could breath non snotty for a few hours. Best part is I didnt even have fresh pepermint, I just used a candy that was made with pepermint oil.
19. When your kids grow or pick out a vegetable they are more likely to eat it. I will always remember the first summer in our new house. I was outside in the garden and I heard my boys giggling, I of course thought they were destroying something in the other garden. I went over to check on them and they were happily munching on broccoli right off the plant. This was close to four years ago and only one of them still loves broccoli, but they ate it.
20. The bigger your garden the less yard you have to mow. Sounds funny, but its true. I have a small yard and raised beds all over, five raised beds in fact. I still plant pretty flowers in one, but the rest is food. I even dug another bed in the front yard and planted a apple tree there. Weedeating takes more time than mowing does now.
21. Use plants to cover things. I have an evil bush that grows in the fence line. I hate it, it takes over. So last year I planted morning glories and cat mint by it. I hope they both take it over. I also use plants in areas that recieve a lot of sun, like my front porch. I use the step railings as a trelisse for my morning glories, I get beautiful shade and pretty flowers. I have used broom corn as a block so nosey nieghbors cant see us in our back yard. I also use sunflowers so I dont have to see whats going on at the nieghbors in my front yard. My compost pile has flowers planted around it too, so nobody has to look at it.
22. Use white vinegar as a rise for your laundry instead of chemical softners. I use a downy ball for it.
23. Buy somethings in bulk. Do you can and use a bunch of sugar? I do, we buy 25 pound bags and put them in a tin larder can we got from It really saves from having to buy small packages.
24. Learn to cook. Not only will this save you money from processed foods and eating out, it will save your health. The more the food is processed the worse it is for you. What are they using as preservatives, why is the can lined with harmful substances? Even if you just learn how to make one of your favorite processed meals from strach then your saving a lot of money, you will eat less salt and you will be proud to tell everyone that you made it. There are tons of cook books out there, if you try them and still cant figure it out message me and I will talk you through it.
25. Make your own baby food. This tiny jar of food has a shelf life of how long and what exactly did you put in it to make it last a few years? That is what I think everytime I look at a jar. Dont get me wrong, with my oldest boys I happily shoved that swill in their mouths. Now that I am older and wiser I wonder how I have hurt their future. Was that jar lid lined with bpa? I now know their bottle was, it hurts to think about what I fed them then could effect them when they are older. Not to mention that I have read numerous times that babies are born with pesticides in thier bodies. I dont want my children to be poisoned anymore than they have to be. So I garden with out pesticides and I can and I make my own baby food. I baked a sweet potato last night, it will be my babies first food. Do your research and find good recipes, you could help your baby live a healthier life. Try this page for some good recipes

Friday, February 10, 2012

Chicken, broccoli, and whole wheat penne pasta in garlic alfredo sauce

Whats for dinner, thats right its chicken again. I got another package this time it was tender strips. I started out by grilling it on my george foreman, I seasoned it with garlic and onion powder. At the same time I boiled my noodles. I got my pan out and preheated the oven, I believe pan is a 13 x 9". I emptied two jars of the garlic sauce I got in the pan, poured a little milk in the jar closed the lid up and shook it a bit and then poured it in the next jar and did the same thing. Here is the jar of stuff I used.

I then poured the milk mixture into the pan with the rest and put a few teaspoons of minced garlic in it too and stirred it around. By now my chicken and pasta was done. I drain the pasta and put it in the pan and stirred it in the sauce, I cut the chicken up into small peices and added it too. Then I added a 16 ounce bag of frozen broccoli florets and stirred it in. I topped it off with shredded mozerella cheese and baked it at 350 for about 25 to 30 minutes. Here is before the oven

Here is after.

I had leftover chicken too, I just froze it for later use. This makes a lot, I served four people and still a little less than half left over for tomorrow. If you have ever had pizza huts pasta dishes its kinda like that. I served mine with garlic bread. What have you made lately?

Getting every pennys worth out of that expensive chicken

Do you ever go to the grocery store and realize that the price has raised on something in just a few days? I went the other day to get a chicken. I looked and looked but couldnt find a whole chicken that was cheap, I ended up with one that cost about $5 bucks and it was small. Which I could have spent the same amount on a cooked one at the bakery, but I wanted to cook it myself. So I got the expensive chicken and I dont know about you but I try to get as many meals out of one chicken as I possibly can. The first night I cooked it, I baked it. I rubbed the skin with olive oil, cut an onion up over it and cut up some fresh thyme and rosemary and put it on it too. I baked it several hours at about 350. I took the chicken out of the pan and threw some diced sweet potatos in there and stirred them around in the grease a bit and baked those too. It was awesome even though it was a little greasy. The next day I boiled the whole carcass until the meat fell of the bones. I stripped the meat off, discarded the bones and had chicken nachos for lunch and made my sweetie some chicken noodle soup with the broth, some chicken and some egg noodles. Then I reheated the chicken and broth left in the pan and added some more water. I cooked it until the chicken seperated and was stringy and then I added some dumplings. I make mine out of flour that I mix in some garlic powder, onion powder and pepper. Then you add milk to make a dough and drop it in the boiling broth. Cook it until the dumplings are done. I must mention that it made a lot and I just finished a bowl of the chicken and dumplings, and have another good bowl left in the pan. So out of one chicken I made four different kinds of meals and I still have some left for another lunch tomorrow. Another favorite way to use the chicken and broth is to make chicken noodle soup. I just add veggies like corn or peas and carrots and throw in some egg noodles. What ways do you use food over and over again?