Apr 212014
 

Win an AquaVida Whole Home Water Conditioning System worth $4,995

I’ve talked before about the importance of water storage and water filtration, and discussed the various types of filters we use in our home.  There is, unfortunately, a lot of junk in our water supply.  In our case, we have hard water with lots of iron and sulfur, and I’m always on the lookout for agricultural runoff.  I’m getting a water test done this week through our local county extension office. If you don’t have a discount water testing service near you, you can order products such as the Watersafe WS425W Well Water Test Kit online. This test kit checks for:  iron, copper, lead, bacteria, pesticides, nitrates, nitrites, chlorine, pH and hardness.

What if I told you that there was an incredibly generous gentleman named Dan, owner of United Environmental Solutions, who is willing to give one of you a Whole Home Water Conditioning with Two-Stage Filtration System? One that is valued at $4,995? Well, I wouldn’t be lying. Continue reading »

Don't Miss the Green Living Bundle!

7 e-books - 4 Videos - Tons of Bonuses
You'll Learn How To: Be more self-sustainable • Grow your own food • Forage for food • Make eco-friendly skin care • Reduce, Reuse and Recycle • Improve your health and happiness • Save tons of money

Enter to Win a Kindle Reader! Sale ends midnight EST 4/23/2014!

Apr 192014
 

6 Things You Can Do to Celebrate Earth Day and Save Some "Green"

Earth Day’s coming up (April 22nd), but I won’t be asking you to save the planet – at least, not all in one fell swoop.  :-)  I’m asking you is to simply take a few minutes to think about things a little differently, to make small changes that add up over time.  I want to empower you to improve your health, and concentrate on those things you can impact directly – your family, friends, neighbors and community.  Celebrate Earth Day the Common Sense way.

1. Eat on the Wild Side

“The world’s food supply depends on about 150 plant species. Of those 150, just 12 provide three-quarters of the world’s food. More than half of the world’s food energy comes from a limited number of varieties of three “mega-crops”: rice, wheat, and maize.” (read more)

There are literally thousands of edible plants, but we focus on so very few of them in our daily diets.  What if I told you that you could gather free food that’s high in vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids, and that this free food came in the form of plants that most people try to remove from their lawns and gardens?  In our Weekly Weeder series, we give an introduction to over 40 different common wild plants, many of which are edible and/or medicinal.  My friend, Amanda Rose, and her mom, Jeanie, have put together a wonderful book called, “Will Forage for Soup” that features some of my favorite “weeds”:

  • Lamb’s Quarters
  • Nettle Leaf
  • Purslane
  • Miner’s Lettuce (Claytonia)

along with a handful of other greens.  They give detailed instructions for gathering the greens and cooking them for optimum nutrition in delicious soup recipes.  There are tips for cleaning and freezing the greens, so you can have them on hand year round.  If you’ve ever thought about foraging, but weren’t sure how to cook what you harvested, this is a wonderful resource.  You’ll find that wild plants are often more nutrient dense than their domesticated cousins, which is great for promoting health and wellness.  Spring is the best time to gather many of these plants, when the greens are young and tender.

2. Make Your Own Natural Beauty Products

Commercial beauty and hygiene products are often loaded with long list of chemicals including fragrances, antifreeze, petroleum derivatives, binders, degreasers, formaldehyde and all sorts of odd bits.  Many of these are known carcinogens (cancer causing agents), but are allowed since they are not ingested or are in small quantities.  The thing is, when you put them on your skin every day, it all adds up over time.  Your skin is porous – things move in and out – otherwise transdermal medications wouldn’t work.  Check out “No More Dirty Looks” for more info.

You can avoid this toxic “yuck” by making your own beauty products, such as:

My Buttered Life” provides instructions to make 5 different natural body care products using healthy ingredients that are good for your skin.  They are:

  • Foot Protector Bar
  • Full Body Conditioner
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug Repellent Bar
  • Tan Enhancer

One afternoon of measuring and mixing can keep you in skincare products for months, and these make great gifts for birthdays and holidays, such as Mother’s Day.

3. Cook an Amazing Meal

Although I catered through most of high school and college, I am by no means a fancy chef.  The “secret” to my great tasting meals is using good quality food prepared simply.  There is such a difference in flavor between a tomato plucked ripe from the garden or local farmers market and the bland, “tough enough to ship across the country” tomatoes in the average supermarket.  Even green beans taste better fresh.  We were eating at a supper club some years ago, and my youngest asked the waitress if they had considered taking out some of the golf course so they could grow a garden and serve beans that tasted better.  (I struggled a bit between being proud and being embarrassed by that one…)

The more you can grow yourself or purchase locally, the fewer “food miles” you rack up.  Right now, the average American meal travels around 1500 miles to get to your plate.  That’s a lot of fuel.  Most food grown but large growers is mechanically planted, tended and harvested as much as possible to reduce costs, which also burns a lot of fuel.  It’s a lot more environmentally friendly to wander from your garden to your kitchen.

Many commercial foods also contain ingredients I’d rather not eat, like anti-foaming agents, artificial colors and flavors, genetically modified crops, foam rubber yoga mats – just kidding!  The chemical azodicarbonamide, an industrial “chemical foaming agent,” is found both in yoga mats and over 500 processed foods, but the foods don’t contain actual yoga mats.  Still not yummy.

Contrast this with Cheese Soup in Homemade Bread Bowls, where the bread is made with just five ingredients and not a yoga mat in sight.  Or how about  some easy chocolate brownies – no box required, and simple enough for the kids to make.  Food doesn’t have to be fancy to be delicious.  You can enjoy Thin Crust Tomato Basil Pizza in under 20 minutes from start to finish with the recipe in “Pioneering Today” by Melissa K. Norris.  She also shares a White Sauce Chicken Pizza, as well as a Fresh Bread in Five Minutes per Day recipe, corn bread, homemade biscuits, and an assortment of other sweet and savory recipes.  Cooking in bulk (or just making a double batch instead of a single) will allow you to freeze extra portions for a fast meal when you need it – without the fast food.

4. Plant Something

There’s an old saying that says the best time to plant a tree is 30 years ago, and the second best time is today.  Gardening is a wonderful way to reduce stress, heal your mind and improve your diet.  It’s very forgiving, too, because if you screw up, there’s always next year.  Even if you only plant one tomato in a pot on the patio, you’re reducing those food miles a smidgen and bringing more plant matter into the world.

More plants equal less rainwater runoff, and plants moderate temperature swings by providing shade from intense heat and creating wind breaks – on a big scale for trees and a small scale for other plants.  If you look deeper, herbalists like Stephen Harrod Buhner refer to plants as “the planet’s natural healers, stabilizers, and chemists“.  Every living plant creates its own complex micro-ecosystem composed of millions of micro-organisms on its surface and in the ground surrounding it.  It’s crazy complicated and crazy beautiful, and I could go on about it for ages, but the most important thing to remember is healthy soil = healthy plants = healthy people.

For a crash course in gardening with lovely illustrations, you can check out “The Art of Gardening“.  Susan Vinskoski is a woman after my own heart who gardens with plenty of soil building, mulch and composting, focusing on local materials to enrich the soil.  Her book also includes instructions on seed starting, seed saving, choosing your garden site, pests and diseases, recipes, and an alphabetical guide to vegetables.  I’m in love with her tomato trellis.

5. Change a Lightbulb

We’ve been slowly swapping out the most used lights in our home for LED replacements, and I encourage you to do the same.  “Sustainability Starts at Home” notes that American households spend up to 20% of their energy costs on lighting, so making the switch can save big money over time, as well as being good for the environment.  In summer, incandescent lighting also adds to your air conditioning load, so you’re hit with a double whammy.  Swap out now and save all summer.  One other note – if you just happen to have teenagers who stay up way too late reading, LED lights in their clip on bed lamps won’t get hot like other lights, which reduces the risks of fires or burns.  They also make great LED nightlights, for those of us who have to stumble around the house in the middle of the night with critters or kids.

6. Get Proactive About Your Health

When we start making choices that are healthier for us, most of them are also better for the environment.  Did you know that the majority of the corn grown in the United States is legally classified as a pesticide, not a food?  That’s because the bug killing genetic component is spread throughout the entire plant – it’s all toxic.  Conventional crops are heavy on the chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers, but lower in nutrition and harder on the environment.

In “Common Sense Health:  Detox, Diet and Physical Activities“, I talk about removing toxins from your home, your personal care routine, and your diet.  I also give clear explanations of which crops are genetically modified, and which are not, and what it means to you.  If enough of us vote with our dollars for cleaner food and products, producers will listen.

You can learn more about Common Sense Health in the video below, my very first youtube video.  (More to come – you can subscribe at https://www.youtube.com/user/CommonSenseHome1)

Until Midnight EST 4/23/2014, you can get Common Sense Health (normally $8.95) as part of a Green Living mini-bundle featuring 7 great e-books and 4 videos for only $12.95. 

If you share the sale on Facebook, you can get the whole bundle for just $9.97.  (There’s a “Share” button on the order page.)  Basically you’re buying one book and getting everything else for free.

Additional bonus – after you share on Facebook, use your shared link to visit the sales site.  Leave a comment about how you plan to be more green this year, and you’ll be entered to win a new Kindle Reader.

Learn more or purchase the Green Living Bundle HERE.

Green Living E-book Bundle

Don't Miss the Green Living Bundle!

7 e-books - 4 Videos - Tons of Bonuses
You'll Learn How To: Be more self-sustainable • Grow your own food • Forage for food • Make eco-friendly skin care • Reduce, Reuse and Recycle • Improve your health and happiness • Save tons of money

Enter to Win a Kindle Reader! Sale ends midnight EST 4/23/2014!

Apr 112014
 

Home Remedies for Acid Reflux -10 quick fixes and long term solutions for GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease. Use the pantry instead of the pharmacy.

Recently, some friends asked me for home remedies for acid reflux, so it seemed like a great topic to add to the Home Remedies Collection.  Whether you call it acid reflux, GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, it doesn’t feel good.  Symptoms include upset stomach, regurgitation, and the classic mid-chest burning sensation known as heartburn.  Many folks resort to proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as esomeprazole (Nexium®), lansoprazole (Prevacid®), and omeprazole (Prilosec®).   The thing is, long term use of PPIs has been linked to problems such as life-threatening diarrhea, respiratory illness and osteoporosis. (See “Do PPIs have long-term side effects?” for more information.)  So what can you do to feel better? Continue reading »

Don't Miss the Green Living Bundle!

7 e-books - 4 Videos - Tons of Bonuses
You'll Learn How To: Be more self-sustainable • Grow your own food • Forage for food • Make eco-friendly skin care • Reduce, Reuse and Recycle • Improve your health and happiness • Save tons of money

Enter to Win a Kindle Reader! Sale ends midnight EST 4/23/2014!

Apr 052014
 

Build Your Own Simple Seed Starting Shelves with room for up to 576 seedlings under the grow lights. Sturdy, moveable and easy enough for a weekend project

Each year I start several hundred vegetable, herb and flower seedlings.  Almost all of them begin on the simple seed starting shelves my husband built over 15 years ago. I wasn’t blogging then (I started that around five years ago), so I didn’t snap any photos. Heck, I didn’t even have a digital camera back then.  Photos or no photos, these indoor planting shelves have served me well, and are fairly inexpensive to make.

The lights are suspended from chains on hooks, so they can easily be adjusted up or down.  Mounting casters on the bottom makes it a snap to move – even from one house to another.  If you use standard 22″x11″ nursery trays with 72 cells per tray, there’s room for 576 seedlings under the grow lights, plus an extra 288 seedlings on the top shelf, if you have room for it in your greenhouse, sun room or very well lit room.  Cross supports and water proof paint make it sturdy and durable.  I pair it up with a fan on a timer, to help keep the seedlings sturdy, and I also use a timer to turn the grow lights off at night.  Once the seedlings get bigger, they graduate to the greenhouse or cold frame, and then are hardened off (gently exposed to the elements over several days) and planted out into the garden. Continue reading »

Don't Miss the Green Living Bundle!

7 e-books - 4 Videos - Tons of Bonuses
You'll Learn How To: Be more self-sustainable • Grow your own food • Forage for food • Make eco-friendly skin care • Reduce, Reuse and Recycle • Improve your health and happiness • Save tons of money

Enter to Win a Kindle Reader! Sale ends midnight EST 4/23/2014!

Mar 312014
 

Our Biggest Giveaway Ever - All American Sun Oven Kit, Excalibur 9-Tray Dehydrator, Goal Zero Yeti 150 Solar Generator Kit, Five $50 Gift Certificates from Discount Mylar Bags, Ten JarBoxes

My preparedness blogging friends and I have teamed up with some of our favorite companies and because of their generosity, we’re able to offer you our biggest giveaway to date with these amazing prizes:

  • All American Sun Oven Kit
  • Excalibur 9-Tray Dehydrator
  • Goal Zero Yeti 150 Solar Generator Kit
  • Five $50 Gift Certificates from Discount Mylar Bags
  • Ten JarBoxes. Continue reading »

Don't Miss the Green Living Bundle!

7 e-books - 4 Videos - Tons of Bonuses
You'll Learn How To: Be more self-sustainable • Grow your own food • Forage for food • Make eco-friendly skin care • Reduce, Reuse and Recycle • Improve your health and happiness • Save tons of money

Enter to Win a Kindle Reader! Sale ends midnight EST 4/23/2014!