A fun, frugal project to complete at home with a simple twin flat sheet! This can be given as a nice homemaking or Christmas gift as well! One twin sheet at my local Goodwill cost just $4. Eliminating the use of paper napkins around our house and replacing with cloth napkins has been a simple way to be a better steward of our environment. It also makes for an elegant table at all times!
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Houseplants are a wonderful means of bringing fresh and clean air and oxygen into your home! In fact, they are perhaps the most sophisticated air-purification system available at a more frugal cost! They absorb carbon dioxide and chemicals such as formaldehyde and benzene, and provide a healthy level of humidity. Plus they bring a little creation into your home (part of that creative mothering), displaying some of God’s creativity in each unique plant that He created, encouraging a little love of nature when it is not necessarily able to be enjoyed out of doors as in the current winter season. They provide such elegant decorations to our homes as well!
The EPA estimates that indoor air is 2 to 10 times more polluted than outdoor air. How is this possible? Contributors include that variety of furniture, carpeting, ply-wood, adhesives, mattresses, and shower curtains.
According to Renee Loux in Easy Green Living: “Two small plants or one medium size plant per 100 square feet will provide fresh air and healthy, mold-free humidity in any room so everyone can breathe deeply with ease.”
What are the most effective plants for completing this task?
Bamboo palm, Chinese evergreen, corn plant (Dracaena massangeana, not edible corn), dragon tree, chrysanthemum, English ivy, peace lily, pothos, philodendron, and snake plant.
I am motivated to start saving my pennies to include a little more creation into my home and provide a more healthy environment at the same time!
This post is part of Works for Me Wednesdays.
Who would have thought that CFL bulbs would end up being actually more harmful for the environment after all if not properly disposed? WORLD magazine confirmed by suspicions:
“Compact fluorescent bulbs: great for the environment? Not so fast. Once a hot item to soothe the enviro-conscience, a new study by Yale University scientists reveals the energy-saving bulbs probably do more harm to the Earth’s environment than good. Yale researchers found that while compact fluorescent bulbs do save a lot of energy compared to traditional incandescent bulbs, the benefits to the environment are outweighed by the harm in disposing all the toxic mercury contained in the long-lasting bulb if dumped in landfills.”
I have enjoyed my history with CFL bulbs over the last year. They do contain a small amount of mercury (about 5 milligrams-roughly equivalent to the tip of a ball-point pen), however no mercury is released during usage, so there is no fear of using them in your home. I love the clear white color they radiate over the yellowish glows of incandescent. I do not like how long the higher voltage bulbs take time to fully light, but overall these bulbs are cheaper and should save you money in the long run. They use 75% less energy than incandescent’s and should last 10 times longer! We have purchased them at Costco and IKEA for low prices. I did get a funky bulb or two with my last purchase that gave up within six months, but another nice feature is these bulbs are warranted to last at least 2 years from most of the manufactors. They provide a number and email on the box to contact for replacements.
What is the solution to the harm that mercury can cause to the environment? If disposed of properly than the problem is solved! But finding a place to recycle them just may be a challenge, but more and more stores are beginning to offer free recycling. IKEA stores offer free recycling bins as well as all Home Depot locations and some ACE Hardware stores. Check out Lamp Recycle for an online list of locations around the USA and Canada that will recycle your bulbs. Earth911 also provides a similar list. Just type in CFL and your zip code and you will be directed to local recycling centers. I wouldn’t give up too quickly on these little guys!
If you don’t have a local recycling option, choose to store them until an option arises in your area! CFL’s will store the mercury indefinitely. A sturdy cardboard box lined with a plastic bag should do the trick.
Do you have any outside resources that help you along the way, or were you raised to be a good steward to the earth and your body? I feel lead to be a better steward of my body and my children’s, to teach them how to care for themselves and the earth. Any suggestions?
What a wonderful question! I am open for lots of ideas from my readers on this one! I personally wasn’t really raised with a strong desire to be a good steward of the earth. I always thought that was just for the environmentalists and they were a little too radical for me. It has only been over the past year that I have grown with a passion for being good stewards of the earth that God has entrusted to us, as I have studied the Word of God, especially the cultural mandate of Genesis 1:26-28. My eyes have been open to see that this is a means of glorifying God as I seek to take care of His creation.
We were made to subdue the earth by making it productive and fruitful and this can be accomplished in many ways just around our homes and in the decisions we make as to purchases. All and all, I believe God is in control of creation and that it will morn and groan until God returns and creates a new heaven and a new earth, but until then I want to strive to be faithful in taking good care of the resources He has entrusted to me, make them productive and seek to bring about good fruit on the earth.
Cornelius Plantinga’s says it this way in his book, Engaging God’s World:
“God gives human beings authority in the created world, what we might call ‘responsible dominion.’ Let them take responsibility for keeping the earth, for respecting the integrity of kinds, and times, and seasons. Christians and others have sometimes taken dominion as justification for the ‘conquest’ of nature…the Bible speaks of dominion, not in the sense of conquest, but in the sense of stewardship…To have dominion is to act like the mediator of creation. This means that a human steward of God’s good creation will never exploit or pillage; instead, she will give creation room to be itself. She will respect it, care for it, and empower it. The person who practices good animal husbandry, forest management, and water conservation shows respect for God by showing respect for what God has made.”
How can we begin to train our children in valuing being good stewards?
During pregnancy I’ve been breaking out a lot (on my face and other areas – with little bumps that you can feel but not always see). Wondering what facial care method you use and any you might recommend. I’ve been researching a bit and have heard of oil facial care (hesitant about that) but can’t find any other facial methods that people say are natural and work. Any ideas would be appreciated.
Great question Brittney and it happens to just be one I am dealing with currently but have not started to find any solution to the problem. I seem to only deal with red splotches during pregnancy and it drives me crazy. Currently, it comes and goes and I keep my facial wash routines pretty basic…water and soap! SO we are passing on this question to the readers. Any natural solutions to share to help us poor pregnant ladies?
I have been desiring for awhile now to get starting on composting at our house, not only for the wonderful benefits it will serve in our container garden, but also because it is such a great way of letting nothing go to waste. I hate letting all those peelings and scraps go down the disposal. Why not put it to more profitable use? My Grandma claims that using compost in her garden is what produces abundant tomatoes! That is my goal as I grow in my gardening skills. I just love the idea of composting- everything is used again to create new produce!
My dilemma is my living situation, and that is where your help is needed. We currently live in a small condo (and it will remain that way for a few more years). We really don’t have room in our garage or deck for any large composting bin, so I am looking for a smaller alternative, maybe something under the sink or such.
I would love to hear from those who have accomplished small composting in apartments or condos!
In the past few months I have been weeding out all of our standard hair and body products in order to simplify and replace with more natural and safe alternatives. I just love having one product for most of our basic needs! This has been the main purpose…to simplify! I honestly got tired of purchasing five or more different products for our needs (shaving cream for me, hair gel for him, etc). Now I just buy two products that together supply most of our needs.
Most body products have an unending list of ingredients which are impossible to pronounce. This alone makes me wonder what they really put in all of them. Skin Deep is a good resource to refer to in evaluating the contents of your favorite products.
So we have finally nailed down what works for us in simplifying our body care products! I formally tried the no-poo approach, and although that would be the ultimate frugal option (using baking soda & apple cider vinegar alone), it didn’t fly too well with the hubby. I also didn’t enjoy the lack of soapiness which I find necessary to really make my hair feel clean. I wanted to have a system that worked well for all of us, including the littles!
Have you thought much about fluoride? This lovely product is added to many water supplies and toothpaste. Dentists supposedly say it prevents tooth decay. When I discovered this product has been banned from adding to water in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Austria, France and The Netherlands, I questioned why it is still being promoted as a healthy product here in the States.
“Fluoride is any combination of elements containing the fluoride ion. In its elemental form, fluorine is a pale yellow, highly toxic and corrosive gas. In nature, fluorine is found combined with minerals as fluorides. It is the most chemically active nonmetallic element of all the elements and also has the most reactive electro-negative ion. Because of this extreme reactivity, fluorine is never found in nature as an uncombined element.”
Highly toxic? Corrosive gas? I am not sure about you, but that concerns me. These references are referring to the addition of flouride to most water systems in the US, but there is another form of flouride that is added to your average container of toothpaste.
You might be interested in checking out these videos…
Fluoride Deception – interesting video on harm of fluoride
Cure Tooth Decay – can tooth decay be related to what kind of food you eat?
Fluoride Alert – professionals sign document to end fluoride in water due to its toxic content. Two interesting videos about flouride.
Fluoride Free Alternatives
Fluoride is added to most toothpastes you will find in the store, and although your consumption may be minimal, it is something to consider. Finding flouride-free toothpaste is a spendy pursuit, costing up to $5 per small tube. Sodium lauryl sulfate is included in most natural toothpastes, which is the foaming agent that is added to toothpaste and other bathroom products. There is much controversy whether it is safe as well, so I am seeking to avoid, if possible, and stick to the ingredients that are safe to consume, especially for the little one, as she very well may swallow it.
Here are a few alternatives:
Toothsoap – I have not tried this, but have heard many rave reviews from others. The ingredients are all natural, based upon coconut oil, olive oil and a few other products. The price might sound a bit high at first but I have been told a tube lasts three months for a family of four. Toothsoap is preferred over natural toothpastes because not only does it not contain fluoride but it also does not have sodium lauryl sulfate.
I reviewed the list of ingredients and I thought…why not? These are simple enough to combine together at home. I wanted a toothpaste with quality ingredients that I had on hand, without spending too much on a tube of toothsoap. Here is what I came up with:
Homemade Toothpaste Recipe #1
You can actually just us Dr. Bronner’s as a natural toothpaste, but the texture is very liquidy and very powerful in taste (soap here we come!). Definitely not something the hubby or baby would like. I tried mellowing and sweetening it a bit with these ingredients and all are quite satisfied! Still under a little experimentation. This recipe provided a nice moist but thicker consistency than Dr. Bronner’s alone.
1 Tbsp Dr. Bronners castile liquid soap or any natural castile liquid soap - contains coconut, olive, palm oils – we use Baby Mild unscented (because it is more versatile for us, and covers multiply uses in one product) and then flavor with an essential oil or two
5 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp or more olive oil or water – to get the consistency you want – this makes it pourable to put in the soap dispenser
Essential oil (20-25 drops), I use orange and peppermint together, as peppermint alone is a little strong for me, but you can use whatever combination you like. If using Peppermint Dr Bronner’s soap, you can skip this altogether.
Stevia, or to sweeten to your taste – a few dashes or so works
Warning: Do not test this product more than a few times at a time or just a dab at a time, or else you can burn your mouth (if using peppermint oil/soap), as I experienced. Best to taste by putting it on a toothbrush and brushing your teeth, as flavor is a bit different from just tasting the toothpaste directly.
I store mine in a new soap dispenser in our bathroom. No scooping it up, just pump it out right onto your toothbrush. No messes in the draw from spilled sticky toothpaste tubes either!
Homemade Toothpaste Recipe #2
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup vegetable glycerin
1 Tbsp castile liquid soap
A few drops peppermint, anise, wintergreen essential oil, optional
dash of stevia or xylitol
Combine ingredients with a hand mixer or by hand as desired. Store in a old toothpaste dispenser by cutting the end off and filling with your toothpaste. Seal the end with masking tape until it is ready for a re-fill.
Both of these recipes work well for cleaning your teeth and are completely safe and natural…so no fear for the little ones! Just make sure to only give them a little dab on the toothbrush because the ingesting essential oils is the only concern here. So please use less essential oils if you are concerned.
Other fluoride free toothpastes on the market:
Tom’s of Maine Fluoride Free Toothpaste – they sell a children’s brand as well.
Trader Joe’s Fluoride Free/SLS free toothpaste – this is a very inexpensive alternative if you have access to TJ’s!
Nature’s Gate Fluoride Free Toothpaste
Check out Mountain Rose Herbs for the best quality and lowest priced coconut oil around!
On the counter: toothbrush holder, toothpaste dispenser, soap dispenser – that’s all!
Welcome back for further simplifying tips for every room of your house…last week, we discussed the kitchen, and today, we enter the bathroom! Normally this room is piled high with various body, hair and facial products. I have been there! Items that just make this room look so cluttered. How can you simplify? Preparing for this post got me extra motivated to get more organized in the bathroom – I even pulled out a few items that needed to go! Remember every little baby step you take to simplify your life will open up time to focus on the important things – investing in family and the lives of others!
To tell you the truth…I first bought my own complete basic set of makeup last fall for my birthday! Previously, I had a mixed and match set of this and that, without very much knowledge as to how to apply it in the first place. My younger sister, far more knowledgeable in this area than myself (maybe due to her stronger incline to fashion), has taught me most of what I know. With the purchase of my own set, I was simply thrilled!
With my desire to pursue more natural routines in our home, I looked into mineral makeup. Beware that not all mineral makeup is worthy of your use. My research has proved two companies to be readily available:
BareMinerals & Everyday Minerals
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