Me going green … and dragging my family with me, kicking and screaming!

Baby steps toward self sufficience and greenocity

How NOT to save water February 28, 2008

Filed under: frugal living,green living,pets — razberiswrl @ 11:20 pm
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This is just too good …

Jennifer and Jim kept getting huge water bills. They knew beyond a doubt that the bills weren’t representative of their actual usage, and no matter how they tried to conserve, the high bills continued. Although they could see nothing wrong, they had everything checked for leaks or problems: first the water meter, then outdoor pipes, indoor pipes, underground pipes, faucets, toilets, washer, ice maker, etc. -all to no avail. One day Jim was sick and stayed home in bed, but kept hearing water running downstairs. He finally tore himself from his sick bed to investigate, and stumbled onto the cause of such high water bills. Apparently this was happening all day long when they were not at home. Knowing that few would believe him, he taped a segment of the ‘problem’ for posterity – 

(It’s a harmless, work safe video)


Taking the trash out February 26, 2008

Filed under: cleaning,frugal living,green living — razberiswrl @ 9:11 pm
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I did that today.  It’s our first trash day since I stopped using disposable EVERYTHING to eat from.  Seriously, we used disposable plates, bowls, cups, and forks/spoons.  I didn’t filly realize how much waste it caused.  Our trash went from about 6 bags, twice a week to only 2 bags!!!  WOW!  That’s a net difference of EIGHT BAGS A WEEK!!!  I pretty much rock for this.  Especially since NOT using paper products means I have to wash A LOT more dishes.  I HATE washing dishes.

Approximate savings:

pk of 100 plates per week = $3.75

1 pk 50 bowls per 2 weeks = $2.00

1 pk 80 cups per 2 weeks = $2.19

1 pk each 48 forks and spoons per 2 weeks = $2.20

Total savings per week = ~$7.00

Per year =  ~$364  Almost $1 a day!

We’ll see how long this lasts though.  I really hate dishes, and if A doesn’t help me, they may very well pile up, and I will head out to buy disposables …

Negative effects: Kids kept forgetting to put silverware in the sink!  I had to trash pick for a couple of days …


Green oven clean? February 20, 2008

Filed under: cleaning,cooking,frugal living,green living — razberiswrl @ 2:14 pm
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My oven and stove top are pretty grungy. You know, the black/brown stuff around the burners that will get a little lighter if you scrub until your nails all rip off, and your knuckles bleed … Yeah, I have quite a bit of that (and I might post pics for comments …). I know I could probably go buy a can of Super Toxic Earth and People Killer Oven Cleaner Extreme (tm) at my local Save A Dime to Exploit the Exploited-Mart (tm), but I don’t want to if I don’t have to. Any tips???


It LIVES!!!! Well, not really … I just made the ketchup. February 18, 2008

OK, so I made the HFCS free ketchup, and it came out GOOD! I’m hooked for life. My head is filled with endless possibilities. I’m like the Bare Naked Ladies after they got their million dollars! Fancy ketchups here I come!!! Just to refresh your memory, the recipe can be found here. See my review at that site for changes made. Oh, and my can of Hunt’s tomato paste listed tomato paste as one of its ingredients! That gave me quite a chuckle this morning! The other ingredients were spices. Whatev. I’ll just look for a brand that doesn’t already add spices to their paste the next time I’m at the store.

The bottom line on this stuff is that it essentially costs only as much as a can of tomato paste (50 cents MAX). The other ingredients are negligible (for me anyway) because I keep every single one of those items in my pantry as a general rule. I was spending around $1 for a bottle of store bought ketchup, more if it wasn’t on sale.

Bargain? Check!

All natural? Check!

Green? That’s debatable I guess. I’m not buying any more plastic bottles, but I will throw away (recycle) a can every time I make it … I guess that is a check!

Here’s some pictures of my ketchupy goodness:

While cooking:

Final Thickness–the spoon test:

A good idea of how much it made (that’s a 20 oz bottle):

Another bonus is that the family is 100% A-OK with this change. M helped me make it (tomato paste EVERYWHERE! HA!), so she’s pleased with her work. I and E tasted it, and liked it a lot. I don’t think A even cares, so, that’s automatic approval, right? Yeah. I think so.


A quick note: frugal v. green February 17, 2008

Filed under: frugal living,green living — razberiswrl @ 10:32 pm
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I have a decision to make before I leave work in half an hour, and I don’t think I’m going to make the green one …

I’m a couponer.  Yep, a crazy coupon lady with a big green binder full of savings.  Some cashiers know me and love what I do (for instance, a $120 grocery bill down to $15 last night …), some roll their eyes and try to C block me …  Bitches.  Well, Ifound a great deal … on Lysol.  My new years resolution was to switch completely to green cleaners.  I never planned to do it immediately, but you know, phase it in as I run out of the chemically stuff.  Ugh.  This is hard.

So, I can get Lysol toilet bowl cleaner for $0.79 for 2.  About 40c each.  That’s DAMN good.  But it’s full of nasty Earth killing stuff …  If I don’t get it, what will I use for cleaning the toilet.  I never thought about that.  Baking soda?  I have no idea.

I think I’m going to get the Lysol, and promise never to do it again.

I was going to get Lysol wipes for ~$0.75 a tub too, but I think I’ll pass on that.  I have food surface sanitizing spray out the whazoo and 40 some tubs of baby wipes in my stock pile.  Same thing, right?


Something as innocent as BBQ sauce …

Filed under: cooking,frugal living,green living — razberiswrl @ 8:11 pm
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So, the other day I was making a pork chop recipe for the fam, and realized I was just about out of BBQ sauce, so I looked up another recipe to make my own because that’s what I’m all about these days.  Right?  RIGHT!  The sauce was pretty good, if you check out my review on the recipe site you’ll see the changes I made … Anyway, I’m thinking to myself “WOOT!  In your FACE BBQ sauce mfr!  I don’t NEED you and your fancy pre-made stuff anymore!  I can do this, and without chemicals and additives!   HAHAHAA  THE WORLD BELONGS TO MEEE!!!!”   Seriously.  Have you ever looked at the ingredient list on a bottle of BBQ sauce?  Check it out:


So there are at least 3 items on that list that I want gone from my life, the high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), red 40, and “natural flavor.”  What’s so bad about natural flavor?  Well, the problem is that I DON’T KNOW WHAT IT IS!!!  Also, read Fast Food Nation.  Seriously.  When you learn where “natural flavors” come from, you’ll want it gone too.  Red dye 40 is attributed to LOTS and LOTS of bad stuff, especially in children, so I’d like to avoid that as well.  Plus, I don’t care much about pretty, but in today’s society it seems like it just doesn’t taste good if it isn’t flawless.  Right.  Whatev.  And then there’s the HFCS!  The stuff is EVILE!  I’m not going to get into it right now, as I plan to dedicate an entire post on it (and google is everyone’s friend, so if you have to know NOW … let your fingers do the walking!).  I was shocked to see that HCFS is the FIRST INGREDIENT!  That means this BBQ sause is MOSTLY HFCS!  EEK!   Furthermore, I’m not so sure about guar gum.  A quick google search using the words “guar gum” and “bad” informed me that it gives one person the runs, may have an issue with pesticides, may not be OK for people with celiac disease, and may be effective in lowering bad cholesterol.  That’s not too incriminating, but all I know is that I bought some ice cream with guar gum in it once, and it was way nasty, then A told me that it was because of the guar gum.  I’ll take it!  (the explanation, that is …)  I’m just going to ASSume the “modified food starch” is corn starch or something similar.  I’m also gonna ASSume that “spice” refers to their proprietary blend rather than that stuff everyone is always after in Dune

K, now that I dissected my the BBQ sauce label, I start thinking again (dangerous, I know) …  I thought “Wait, the recipe I made is half ketchup.  Well what in the hell is in the ketchup???”

Here’s what’s in ketchup:

Ingredients: Tomato puree (water, tomato paste), high fructose corn syrup, distilled vinegar, corn syrup, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, natural flavors.There it is again!  This time it’s number 2 on the list.  But wait!  Look a little further … there’s NON HF corn syrup in there too!  Why do we need both???  I’m totally cool with regular corn syrup by the way.  It’s just Karo, ya know, no biggie.  And there’s that pesky “natural flavor” again too … looks like I need to figure out how to make ketchup!  Lucky for me, there’s (and other various places, but I like allrecipes …)!  Look here to learn how to make ketchup.  Of course, I haven’t looked at the ingredients in tomato paste … ugh!  Can’t find it on the interwebs (I just spent at least 15 min looking!).  I’ll have to edit when I get home, and can look at a can in my pantry …  I did find LOTS of recipes for tomato paste though, so, you know, I can adapt.  I haven’t tried this ketchup yet, but I will probably make it a project for this week.  I’m almost out of the store bought stuff.

I guess maybe BBQ sauce and ketchup is a small thing to worry about, but it’s the small steps that lead to bigger ones.  Besides, ketchup and BBQ sauce is like a food group in my house!

Oh, and since I’m frugal before just about anything else, don’t go throwing your ketchup out, LOL!  Use what you have, rinse out the bottles,  and pour your homemade stuff into them.  The beauty of this method is that your family probably won’t realize the difference!  I know my family is completely oblivious …  Oh, and I will crunch the numbers later to see how it compares monetarily with the store bought stuff.


SICK!!!!! February 15, 2008

Filed under: green living — razberiswrl @ 4:28 am

I feel like a failure at blogging!  However, I ALWAYS have an excuse …  This time it’s 3 sick kids, all of whom spiked a temp of 105 at least once.  We’ve been sharin’ the germy love for 3 frikkin’ weeks now.  Bleh.   In an effort to keep all of my loyal readers on edge, here’s a list of topics I want to discuss in detail in the future (in no particular order):

High fructose corn syrup

Hydrogenated oils

Sodium laurel/laureth sulfates


Community supported agriculture (CSA)

Uhh … I’m pretty sure I had a bigger list this afternoon while driving … eh, that’ll have to do for now!