Green Living

Baking Soda: 40 Best Cleaning Tips

Posted by on Sep 27, 2015 in Common Products - Uncommon Uses, Frugal For Everyone, Green Living | 47 comments

Baking Soda: 40 Best Cleaning Tips

Baking Soda has been one of my go-to cleaning products for years – it’s cheap, does a great job, doesn’t scratch surfaces and doesn’t harm the environment. With Fall cleaning on the agenda, I thought this would be a great time to review how best to use it for cleaning.     Baking Soda for General Home Maintenance: Aluminum Windows and Doors                                                                    Dissolve ½ cup baking soda in 3 cups tepid water. Dampen a sponge or brush to wipe down the aluminum windows or doors. Rinse well (if working outside, the garden hose can be used); Books, Musty Smell – To remove musty smells from stored books, put 2 Tbsp. baking soda into a brown paper bag, add the book, close the bag, then set it in a dry place for a week or two; Bookshelf – Remove books from the shelf and wipe down with a sponge or microfiber cloth just barely dampened in a solution of 1Tbsp. baking soda dissolved in 2 cups tepid water. Use the same solution to lightly wipe any of the books before they’re returned. Make sure the sponge is just barely damp –neither books nor wood like water; Child-Made Stains – Children love to draw and will find any spot to do so – walls, floors, appliances, etc. Sprinkle baking soda on a sponge to wipe away most crayon, marker, pen and pencil marks; Fireplace Bricks – Remove the smoke stains from your fireplace bricks by the following method: Dissolve ½ cup baking soda in 4 cups tepid water – apply to bricks using brush and elbow grease; Floors, Linoleum – Use a mop dampened in a mixture of ½ cup baking soda in 4 cups tepid water; Floors, Wood – Mix 1 Tbsp. baking soda with 1 tsp. water to remove white spots and other stains from your wood floors. Gently rub the stain with the paste in a circular motion until it’s gone. Too much water can damage wood floors so take care not to use more than the teaspoon called for; Furniture – Even though smoking has become a social no-no, there are still many who do. For those who do (or who have guests that do) here is a good way to remove the smoke smell from your upholstered furniture. Lightly sprinkle the baking soda on the furniture – don’t forget the back and underneath the cushions – follow the same procedure as for rugs/carpets; Mats, Indoor Welcome Ones – Mats are meant to keep the dirt outside, right? To make sure they do, sprinkle with baking soda (same as rugs/carpets), leave for a bit then return to vacuum the dirt away; Mats, Outdoor Ones – Before a rainstorm, scrub outdoor rubber mats with a baking soda solution – ½ cup baking soda to 3 cups tepid water – then let the rain wash the residue away; Rugs and Carpets, General – Very lightly sprinkle baking soda on the rug/carpet, go have a coffee break, then simply vacuum up the residue, sucking up the dirt and unwanted odours; Rugs and Carpets, Stains – Carpet mishap occurring in front of you? Immediately blot up as much of the stain as you can with a paper towel, sprinkle lots of baking soda on the stain, leave to go make the beds, go shopping, whatever, just give it lots of time to work, and an hour or two later, return to vacuum the stain away; Rugs and Carpets, Vomit or Urine Stains (yuk, parents and pet owners can’t be squeamish) – Using lots of paper towel, first pick or blot up what...

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Consignment Shops: Buy-Sell

Posted by on Aug 30, 2015 in A frugal Life, Frugal For Everyone, Green Living, Product Information, Smart Shopper | 49 comments

Consignment Shops: Buy-Sell

I’ve just discovered Online Consignment Shops and can’t believe it took this long. I love Thrift Store shopping and Consignment Shops are the next best thing. These shops help you clean out – and thus organize – your closets and in turn allow you to find your own great deals on gently-used or overstock items. This isn’t only good for your wallet, this simple green act is also good for the environment. Online Consignment Shops vary in the kind of products they carry. Some offer high-end designer clothes, some do vintage, some cater to the business women, some to children and others to the family. Unfortunately, men’s consignment shops, unless they’re brick and mortar walk-ins, are difficult, if not impossible, to find. One of these men’s walk-in stores – Off the Cuff is well worth a visit by any man who is living in the Toronto area. This store has great reviews, a large selection of men’s clothing and accessories, and from all reports, helpful friendly staff. Online Consignment Shops have their own list of standards, brands and conditions. If you meet their conditions they will supply the shipping bags for free shipping. It’s important to read the fine print as each consignment shop has their own clearly defined list of what they will or won’t accept. They will only accept goods for which there is a demand (makes sense) so leftovers from Walmart and similar places won’t be accepted. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Changeroo  – A High-Quality Canadian Children’s Consigment Shop This Canadian consignment shop, Changeroo.ca located in Montreal, was founded in 2014 by Liane Guimond. It carries only like-new children’s clothing – high quality, top brands like Baby Gap, Land’s End, Children’s Place, Jona Michelle, etc. at seriously low prices. The Globe and Mail listed Changeroo as one of Canada’s 10 most remarkable small businesses. Changeroo is not setup to accept items by mail – instead you need to drop the goods off at specified locations in the Montreal area. They will, however,  ship items across Canada with free shipping on orders of $50.00 or more.  If you have children this is a shop you won’t want to miss. When I checked it out I was very impressed by the cute clothes listed and the great prices. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ TrendTrunks is a different kind of Consignment Shop  https://www.trendtrunk.com/ This is an interesting one – It’s a Canadian shop that acts like a promoter for women’s items, the sale of which you control. The following information is direct from their website:1. Make more money!  100% of the selling price goes back to you. It’s free to list on TrendTrunk.com OR our mobile app. 2. Get LOTS of inquires!  Thousands of buyers will see your items and also be emailed if your items match their interests. You’ll start to receive messages from interested buyers. Respond promptly to sell your item quickly! You decide how you want to transact; whether you meet in person or ship the item, along with your preferred method of receiving the funds (I recommend PayPal – it’s totally safe and no hassle). The buyer and seller must mutually agree on transaction details. 3. We have the right buyers. Trend Trunk curates listings to ensure the best experience for our buyers and sellers. We attract buyers who will value and appreciate your items. When it’s time to cash in your closet of stylish and fashionable items, Trend Trunk is the best way to sell your brand new to pre-loved clothing & accessories. Trend Trunk isn’t just a selling place, it also has a listing of shoppes where you can find...

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Everyday Herbs: Recipes and Remedies

Posted by on Aug 4, 2015 in Frugal For Everyone, Gardening, Green Living, Health, Herbs, Recipes | 50 comments

Everyday Herbs: Recipes and Remedies

This is the time of year when herbs really come into their own and I consider myself fortunate to be able to harvest them straight from my garden. But it’s not necessary to have a backyard garden to benefit from the bounty. Right now you’ll find a great selection of the freshest herbs at the best prices at Farmers’ Markets, Roadside stands and even Supermarkets. Herbs are the most useful plants. For the longest time we thought using herbs was to add a basil leaf to tomato soup or to sprinkle chives on a baked potato. We have now become much more aware and accepting of herbs contribution to healthy living. Many of the herbs we use everyday have multiple uses – culinary, cosmetic, and medicinal. In this post I’m sharing just a few of the many ways to use Basil, Chives, Dill and Parsley. If you have no allergic reaction when using herbs in cooking or drinking, you should be fine using them for FIRST AID or cosmetic purposes. Unless you are trained to do so, NEVER use herbs to replace medical diagnosis or treatment. FOUR EVERYDAY HERBS. BASIL. This is one of the herbs that everyone knows and loves. It’s a pretty plant that grows equally well in the flower bed, the window box, the vegetable/herb garden or indoors during the winter. It’s also a must have plant for the pollinator garden. It is one of the most versatile plants with many uses – culinary, beverage, medicinal, cosmetic and even as insect repellant. Culinary Uses: Try basil with beans; pasta; chicken; fish; meatloaf; Italian cooking of all kinds; anything with tomato; and of course, to make pesto or boursin. Try the Mozzarella Basil Bread, below, with a salad for a fantastic low-cost summer meal. Mozzarella Basil Bread: 1 tsp. olive oil 1 large loaf unsliced French bread 1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature 2 Tbsp. olive oil 2 + 2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped 1/2 lb (225g) Mozzarella cheese, sliced 2 Tbsp. Mozzarella cheese, grated Directions: Brush 1 tsp. olive oil over the dull side of aluminum foil – large enough to wrap around bread. Slice bread partway into 1/2 inch/1cm slices, making sure not to cut all the way through. Mix together the ¼ cup butter, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, and 2 Tbsp. chopped basil – remove and set aside one Tbsp. of the butter mix and spread the rest between the slices. Place the cheese between the bread slices, spread the top of the bread with the reserved butter mix, then sprinkle with the grated mozzarella and the remaining 2 Tbsp. basil. Wrap in the foil and bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes. More Uses: I wrote an earlier post about basil and rather than repeat the information, I’m simply adding the link: http://frugalforeveryone.ca/culinary-cosmetic-antiseptic-and-more-basil-does-it-all/ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ CHIVES. We grow garlic chives that have the pretty purple flower balls, like little lollipops, that the bees go crazy about. They are extremely easy to grow, indoors or out, and act as an aphid repellant (unfortunately not as eliminator) for our roses. Chives are used for culinary and medicinal purposes. Culinary Uses: Chives are great added to butters, cheese dishes, dips, eggs/omelets, potatoes, salads, sauces, seafood, soups and vegetables. We enjoy the mild taste so much that we have completely replaced green onions with chives. Medicinal Uses: Chives are loaded with vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium, Vitamin A and C and a host of other nutrients. Because of the high Vitamin C content, chives give chicken soup an extra boost when dealing with a cold. Added to...

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Do More With Everyday Products A-Z

Posted by on Jul 5, 2015 in Common Products - Uncommon Uses, Do-It-Yourself, Frugal For Everyone, Green Living | 16 comments

Do More With Everyday Products A-Z

Do More With Everyday Products A-Z, is a bit different from my usual list posts. Those focused on one specific product -this one has tips for how to do more with everyday products A-Z. No need to run to the store when you run out of something. Take a look around and you can probably find what you need right in your own home. Do More With Everyday Products A-Z: Aluminum Foil – Line a paint tray with aluminum foil and clean-up is a cinch. When finished painting, simply grab the foil and discard. No washing the tray. No need to buy liners. Bottles – Trap those pests. Partly fill a large soda bottle (2 litre) with a mixture of ½ cup sugar, 2 cups tepid water and 1 cup apple cider vinegar. Put the top back on and shake to mix really well. Cut a one-inch hole near the top of the bottle. Wrap a string around the neck of the bottle and hang from a tree or other place where yellow jackets and wasps congregate. Once it’s full of pests, discard and replace. This does the trick without resorting to chemical sprays. Cooking Spray – Lightly spray a grater with cooking spray before shredding cheese to make cleanup much easier. Dental Floss – Use this to slice cheese. Simply place a piece of floss under the cheese and slowly pull up. Emery Boards – Use to lightly sand the outer shell of seeds before planting. This speeds germination and allows the seeds to better absorb moisture. Freezer – Place musty smelling books in the freezer for a day or two to eliminate the bad odour. Garlic Press – The perfect gadget to smash up hard-boiled eggs. Hair Spray – Give your recipe cards a good shot of hairspray to protect them from grease and food splatters while you’re using them.  Ice Cube Trays – Bought extra eggs on sale and don’t know what to do with them? Freeze them in ice cube trays. Each cell will hold one egg. Once they’re frozen, remove them and store in freezer bags. Jar Lids – Keep one handy on the stove to use as spoon rest. Keys – Don’t throw those extra, unused keys out. They can be used as fishing sinkers or plumb jobs. Lemons – Add one or two tablespoons of lemon juice to the water in the humidifier. This doesn’t just deodorize the humidifier, it also adds a pleasant natural lemon scent to the house. Repeat as needed. Mayonnaise – Soften your elbows and feet by rubbing mayonnaise on them, leave for a little while, then wipe fairly hard (not so hard it hurts) with a face cloth and finally rinse off. Newspaper – Let wet boots or shoes keep their shape by stuffing them with newspaper while they dry. Oatmeal – Soak your cares away. Grind one cup of oatmeal in a blender and add 5-6 drops (more or less, personal choice) lavender essential oil. Put the mixture in a bath bag, old pantyhose or sock and tie closed. Hang from the tap as the tub is filling with lukewarm (not hot) water. Then just lay back and enjoy. Panty Hose – Cut in strips and use to tie plants to garden stakes. The ‘give’ in the hose won’t hurt the plants. Q-Tips – These make great little dusting tools for your keyboard, remote controls, and other delicate instruments. Rolling Pins – Place a hand-washed sweater between two towels then roll across the top towel with the rolling pin to squeeze out extra moisture. Remove the...

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Salad Dressing Doesn’t Require Chemicals

Posted by on May 17, 2015 in Do-It-Yourself, Frugal For Everyone, Green Living, Health and Safety, Product Information, Recipes | 39 comments

Salad Dressing Doesn’t Require Chemicals

Salad without salad dressing is pretty blah, but have you looked at the list of ingredients on the dressings you buy? It’s enough to make you want to eat your salads plain. Most of the ingredients listed are either synthetic or chemical based. Check your bottled dressing against the list at the end of this post and see for yourself. Fortunately it isn’t necessary to consume these chemical-laden products. Salad dressings are easy to make using ingredients found in most kitchens. Homemade dressings also tastes way better and cost a whole lot less. TO MAKE: Basic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing: 3/4 cup light pure olive oil 3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar 1/8 tsp. dry mustard (optional) Salt and pepper to taste. Blend all together until smooth. Pour into a glass jar with tight fitting lid and refrigerate overnight before using. Shake well before serving.  Balsamic Vinaigrette: Replace the apple cider vinegar with balsamic vinegar and the mustard with 1 garlic clove, minced. To make any of the variations below start with ½ cup of the basic dressing and add: Italian Salad Dressing: Blend in 1/2 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes, 1/2 tsp. dried basil, 1/8 tsp. each: garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, optional 1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese, optional 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes. French Salad Dressing: Blend in 1 tsp. dried parsley flakes, and ¼ tsp. each: onion powder, paprika, sugar, garlic powder. French Dressing Variation: Blend in 1/2 Tbsp. catsup, ¼ tsp each: sugar, onion powder, paprika..  Russian Salad Dressing: Blend in 1 Tbsp. chili sauce. Catalina Salad Dressing: Blend in ¼ cup catsup, 1 Tbsp. sugar, 1/2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce, ½ tsp. onion powder, pinch of paprika. Ranch Style Salad Dressing: ¾ cup mayonnaise ¼ cup milk 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar 1 ½ Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce (optional) 1 ½ tbsp. fresh chives, cut fine 1 ½ tbsp. fresh parsley, cut fine Salt and pepper to taste Blend the first four ingredients together, when well blended stir in the herbs, salt and pepper. Refrigerate overnight before using. NOTE: Since homemade salad dressings contain no preservatives, it is best to make them up in small batches. They should be kept refrigerated for no longer than a week. See how easy this is? It almost takes less time to make salad dressing than it does to read all the ingredients on the commercial products. Common ingredients found in commercial salad dressing: Soybean, canola or corn oil – GMO products – will increase cholesterol Glucose –throws blood sugar levels out of whack and drains nutrients from the body Flavour or Artificial Flavour – made in a lab and may contain chemicals and preservatives known to be toxic Monosodium glutamate – can cause headaches, pain, nausea and asthma-like symptoms; severe allergic reactions in some people Phosphoric acid – several studies have shown a link to decreased bone density Propylene glycol – this is a synthetic liquid substance that absorbs water – it is used as a solvent for food colours and flavours Potassium sorbate – an easy to make chemical preservative Sodium benzoate – a synthetic preservative that may be linked to cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and premature aging Polysorbate 60 – common contamination with 1,4 dioxane has linked this product to cancer in lab studies Calcium disodium EDTA – currently being studied for possible link to reproductive problems, birth defects, and cancer along with a host of other health related issues. Who wants to eat that stuff? Much better to head to the kitchen to make up a fresh batch of salad dressing – better tasting, lesser cost, no chemicals. Works for me....

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GMO – A Follow-Up

Posted by on Apr 12, 2015 in Frugal For Everyone, Green Living, Health and Safety, Product Information | 48 comments

GMO – A Follow-Up

I decided to do a follow-up to last week’s post on GMO. Most of the commenters were against but very few really knew why. After reading literally hundreds of pages – both for and against GMO – I admit that I am firmly in the ‘THUMBS DOWN’ camp. One of my big issues is the lack of labeling. The large companies involved – Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta, Bayer, Dow and BASF – spend huge amounts of money to stop labeling regulations. Why don’t they want us to know what products are genetically modified? What is it they are afraid we will discover? Doesn’t this lack of transparency bother you? Organisms are implanted with other organisms – with no labeling how do we know if we are allergic to any of those organisms? After everything I’ve read I don’t believe it’s the miracle means by which world hunger will be alleviated as claimed.  I do believe it will – or already does – create a great many health problems. Since GM foods first appeared, there has been a steady increase in childhood chronic conditions. While factors such as environment and lifestyle do contribute to this increase, I believe that GMO, bGH (bovine growth hormone) and synthetic antibiotics added to animal feed play a very large role. Childhood Chronic Disease on the Rise – Coincidence? 1994: 13% of children had chronic health conditions. By 2006 this had more than doubled with 27% of children having chronic health problems. (in 1964 less than 2% of children had chronic illnesses); Allergies: There has been a 50% increase in food allergies – It has only been in the last 15 years or so that lactose intolerance and gluten-free have become commonplace terms; Asthma : 10% of children live with asthma. This has doubled since the 1980s; Attention Deficit Disorder: ADHD diagnosis increased by 3% per year from 1997 to 2006 and by 5% per year from 2003 to 2011; Autism: In 1980, one child per 2,000 was diagnosed with autism. Today that figure is one in 150; Bipolar Disorder: In 1994, 25 children out of 100,000 were diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. This figure has increased to more than 1000 out of 100,000; Cancer: Childhood cancer has seen an increase of 24%; Diabetes, type 2, steadily increasing; Stroke: From 1995 to 2008 there has been a 46% increase in 15-34 year old males diagnosed with stroke while females in the same age group saw an increase of 23%. In addition, mental health issues – depression and suicide – especially among young people, are increasing at an alarming rate. Adults are also seeing an increase in a number of chronic illnesses, including diabetes, ischemic heart disease, liver cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and stroke. Things that are impacted by GMO: The soil is being depleted by producing super crops. Example: Farmers used to get 60 bushels of corn to the acre, the figure now is close to 190 bushels. That’s a whole lot of nutrients being sucked out of the soil which need to be replenished by expensive chemical fertilizers, produced by guess who – the big six GMO companies. Farmers in poorer countries will not be able to afford that and will start leaving land sit idle which will increase world hunger, not decrease it; Greater resistance to herbicides and pesticides creates superweeds requiring stronger weedkillers and superbugs requiring stronger pesticides; Farmers are held hostage since they can only buy those stronger products from GMO producers and consumers pay the price, both in the financial and health sense; Some seeds are implanted with toxic herbicides/pesticides...

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