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

Baby steps toward self sufficience and greenocity

Are they Lye-ers? May 31, 2009

I’ve been reading a lot of labels lately to see if these “all natural” products are all that natural.  I have the Burt’s Bees peppermint/rosemary bar soap at home, and the ingredients are super simple.  Several oils (coconut, palm, olive, peppermint, soy), an exfoliant (ground almond shell), and an extract (rosemary).  That’s IT.  However, while looking at some of their other products (like Baby Bee soap), I noticed “vegetable soap base” listed.  I didn’t know what that was, so I googled it of course.  Turns out, it’s fat, vegetable or animal, mixed with lye.  And according to THIS site, without lye, there is no soap.   They have recipes for all sorts of soap, castile included.  Now, I have a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s at home, and guess what is not on the label??  Lye.

So who’s lyeing?  Does that not have to be declared on labels??  Is it bad for us??  I don’t know. I’ve always wanted to try my hand at soap making though, so I may just have to figure the answer out on my own.

 

So long for now, no poo

Filed under: cleaning,frugal living,green living,no poo — razberiswrl @ 3:24 pm
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I lasted exactly SEVEN weeks.  That, in and of itself, is quite interesting.  However, the act of simplifying my life was actually quite complicated.  You know, all the mixing and pouring and shaking and being careful and all that.  It was a huge pain … and it SMELLED BAD.

I dunno.  I just wasn’t into it this morning in the shower.  We had a late night last night seeing Up! and Star Trek with the kids at the drive in.  Didn’t get home until 2 this morning.  Then I had to be up to get ready for work.  I’m just not a morning person in the first place, and throw in less than usual sleep, well, let’s just say it ain’t pretty.

So, I have been thinking for some time about LOW POO.  This is where you use stuff like Burt’s Bees or Kiss My Face or another “all natural” or organic product.  I’ve also been using Burt’s Fabulously Fresh Peppermint & Rosemary Body Bar for the last month or so to wash my body.  Every day I read the ingredient list: soybean oil, coconut oil, palm oil, olive oil, peppermint oil, almond seed meal, and rosemary leaf extract.

What’s so bad about that?  Actually, how in the HELL does a bunch of OIL make soap??  I’m honestly wondering if something is left out in that list because every other one of their products has vegetable soap base or something else in it that is maybe questionable like “fragrance.”

Anyway, I plopped that bar right on my head this morning and washed with that, LOL!  Then I used just a touch (srsly, like dime size bloop) of the V05 conditioner I’ve been using on M’s tresses (silicone and silicone derivative free).  My hair looks better than it has in a while.  It’s not big and frizzy and dry and brittle.  It’s quite straight, actually, and soft and smooth.  And it doesn’t itch.  At all.  It itched with shampoo, it itched with baking soda, it itched with applesauce and egg yolks and lemon juice and vinegar and conditioner only … it doesn’t itch right now.  And, while there are a few flakes, it’s not half … not a quarter as bad as it’s been.

I think I’m going to continue this regimen to see what happens.

 

Mid year resolutions May 29, 2009

I think that we start every year with good intentions, and then over time those good intentions slip to the wayside as our life carries on it’s natural course.

So, in the spirit of good intentions, I resolve to:

Actually USE all the re-usable grocery bags I have. I managed to do it yesterday, but today I ran into the store to grab a couple things for dinner tonight, and forgot them.  They were right in the back of the car too!  I WILL do better.


Actually convert to green household cleaners. I made this resolution a year and a half ago, and still haven’t done it.  Damnit!  I am GOING to make the switch!  I bought a little bottle of Dr. Bronner’s peppermint a couple weeks ago, I think I’ll dump out a bottle that’s 95% empty already (lol, great for the earth … ), and fill with a diluted solution for general household cleaning TODAY.

Pick my own produce, and can/freeze as much as I can this summer. I have tested the waters with strawberries over the last week, and found myself to be quite capable in the jam canning department.  My goal is to have enough home canned jam to last my family the year, AND to also have enough to give as gifts throughout the year (teachers, adult family members, friends).  I’d also like to have a nice supply of frozen fruit for smoothies and pies and whatnot throughout the year.   Same goes for tomato sauces, pickles, applesauce, and tree fruits.


Take good care of myself. This is a tough one.  I don’t usually take very good care of myself in a maintainance sort of way.  I have the time to really pamper myself, but I usually waste it with sloth.  I want to try to keep my nails manicured (If I just DO it, it takes less than an hour to soak, file, scrub and 2 layers of OPI, then another 1/2 hour of  “be careful” time, LOL), and my face exfoliated and clean.  I need to devote the time to straightening my hair instead of just putting it in a ponytail and pinning my bangs back.  But most importantly, I need to take care of my BODY!  I resolve to give myself 30 minutes a day to exercise.  Whether it’s a yoga or pilates dvd, or a walk, or killing myself on the elliptical or with the 30 day shred; I WILL take care of my body.  This also includes eating more healthfully.

Be positive. This is probably the biggest one.  I am a pessimist, a cynic, a doubting Denise (LOL!).  I have conditioned myself to expect the worst over the years.  The function of this conditioning was to protect myself from disappointment.  If things go the way of the worst, well, I am prepared for that … but if things work out nicely, I am pleasantly surprised.  It makes logical sense to me, but I’ve read lots of studies that show that positive thinkers are happier and have a lower risk of all sorts of ailments.  I’ve battled depression and anxiety my whole life, so I figure testing out the bright side for a while certainly can’t hurt …

Those are my mid-year resolutions.  I’d love to hear yours!

 

Feature a Friend day … May 25, 2009

Filed under: cleaning,cooking,frugal living,green living,recycling — razberiswrl @ 11:00 am
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While, I know that of the 10 visits I get per day, 9 of them probably already visit this blog daily … but anyway, I’m digging it today.   Her Deal of the Day is rockin’, and check out her post Look what I did! for a tutorial on DIY fancy soaps.  You don’t even have to BUY anything to make these nice scrubbing bubbles out of miscellaneous hotel bars lying around!  Talk about turning trash into treasure …  Love it!

Baby Spit is the New Black

 

There will be 2 more entries about strawberries … May 24, 2009

Filed under: frugal living,gardening,green living — razberiswrl @ 3:06 pm
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You know … as a warning … it’s what’s going on RIGHT NOW, so it’s what I’m talking about.

I took the kids to the farm yesterday, as promised.  I was frazzled, and forgot my containers, how very ungreen … I had to buy more.  Oh well.  Providing I make a habit of remembering them in the future, I have plenty to last quite some time.  I also forgot my camera.  *insert angry face*  I blame my mother-in-law.  She was distracting me.

So, I took a moment to show them what a good berry looks like, and what to avoid.  I showed them what overripe and underripe looks like, and I taught them how to pinch the stem so as not to yank the vines apart.  Then I set them to it!  I sent them ahead of me to pick, and I went over the vines after them, knowing that there was NO WAY they were even getting half the berries available.  I was totally right.  Anyway, it was hot, and I wasn’t fully awake yet,  and they were driving me crazy by running back to me and asking if every single berry was a good one, LOL, so we only picked about 7 more pounds (I was hoping to get another 10 or so).

Here they are with our bounty (cell phones … they save the day.  Mine, in particular, produces very fuzzy pictures) :

 

Criss-cross applesauce

Filed under: cleaning,frugal living,green living,no poo — razberiswrl @ 2:54 pm
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So, 6 whole weeks into the no poo thing.  I have not used commercial shampoo or conditioner for SIX weeks.

This fact still stuns me.  Anyway …

So, my scalp issues have not gotten any better.  In fact, I think they’re getting worse but in a slightly different way.  Bigger patches, smaller flakes, more seeping, more itching.  I don’t know WHAT to think at this point, but I’ve decided to try some new things to try to pinpoint the cause.  I mean, this could just be something that won’t go away, but I’d like to see if I can at least ease my suffering, ya know?  So, I was thinking about the thing that is most problematic with commercial shampoo for people who strive to be low impact on the earth and not massage chemicals into their brain … Sodium Lauryl or Laureth Sulfate.  Look, I’m no chemist, but I took 2 college semesters of general chemistry, and I’m thinking … yeah, I know when you modify a molecule by adding or subtracting an atom, the result can be something very similar or something VERY VERY different (take margarine and plastic for instance, LOL, I hear they only differ by 1 atom or something  /sarcasm) … so I’m thinking Sodium Bicarbonate … Sodium Lauryl Sulfate … I know they’re different, but what if the problem FOR ME is the SODIUM??  So, I have to explore that.  Which brings me to the applesauce.

Yep.  This is going EXACTLY where you think it is.

I read on Live Journal that you can wash your hair with applesauce (AS from here on out), and I DID IT.

And I DID NOT LIKE IT!

I mixed 1/3c AS to 1/3c water and massaged it into my scalp Saturday evening.  Let it sit for a min, then  rinsed and rinsed and rinsed.  I’m not sure if I used too much, or too little, or maybe the amount I used was just right and I just dumped too much of it down my back on accident … I don’t really know.  All I know is that my hair was definitely greasy afterward, but the ends were SUPER dry and brittle feeling.   I also used a lemon juice rinse.  I really have to start using the variables 1 at a time so I can pinpoint better, LOL!   So, I am going to try the AS again in a couple of days, I used BS/ACV today because I had to work, and I needed to be clean, LOL!

I will most likely try AS with an ACV rinse in 2 days.  I think I will not dilute the AS with water this time.  I will just plop it on my head and mush into my scalp.

We shall see …

 

Strawberry bounty!! May 22, 2009

Filed under: cooking,frugal living,gardening,green living — razberiswrl @ 1:18 pm
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I went to a local farm to pick strawberries this morning after I dropped the fam off at work/school.  This is the first week of the season here in New Jersey.  It will run for about 3 weeks.

Crappy cell phone pic of Sporacio Farms:

I picked just shy of 10 pounds.  They cost me just over 13 bucks!  I think I’ll take the kids back tomorrow morning.  We’ll have to get up EARLY though.  I also stopped at Walmart for a case of pint canning jars and some accessories.  I will attempt canning for the first time tonight.  I can’t wait.  I’m going to make standard and sugar free strawberry jam.

This is actually a really important event for me, as canning is a family tradition I have wanted to carry on for a long time.  I’ve just never worked up the nerve to give it a shot on my own.  I used to can all sorts of things with my grandmother, and I can’t WAIT to call her this evening to tell her I did it myself!  She will be pleased.  There aren’t too many people that carry on family traditions these days, whether they be the art of canning one’s own food, knitting or crocheting or making traditional recipes for the holiday, and in my family, I am the only one who has any interest in all of the above.  Le sigh … hopefully I can instill the love of tradition I have in my own children.  I wonder what went wrong with my cousins that makes them not give a damn?  Oh well.  There’s no accounting for the actions of others …