Friday, July 31, 2009

July Update

At the end of each month, I thought it would be an excellent idea for me to review the good, the bad, and the ugly in my life to make sure I'm on the right path. This will help me with my goals for the upcoming month.

Let's start with my top ten:

1. Gardening to produce fresh and healthy foods

What's working-I am amazed that due to all the fresh garden produce, we have cut our grocery bill in half.

Needs improvement-We need to have a bigger garden to preserve food so it will last us through the whole year.

2. Turning trash into treasures

What's working-I am accumulating great thrifty finds and discovering that my creativity is coming back which is fun. I'm like a kid in a candy store!

Needs improvement-I am a little overwhelmed and need to designate and organize space to become more efficient with my DIYs.

3. Saving energy & becoming earth friendly

What's working-We have been fortunate that it has not been too extremely hot so on the very warm days, I get by fine with a window fan.

Needs improvement-I really need to take the time to research what else we can do to become more earth friendly even though I feel we are doing our part now. Every little bit helps!

4. Experimenting in the kitchen to entice the taste buds

What's working-I've been playing in the kitchen more than I ever have and enjoying it, too. Go figure, I'm a good cook!

Needs improvement-I wanted to organize all my recipes into new holders, but they are still sitting and waiting for me very patiently.

5. Making our house a home & a haven

What's working-I've been puttering with arranging things and giving my home a little personality which it desperately needed.

Needs improvement-Some rooms need to be rearranged to fit my new lifestyle of being a homesteader, but I want to knock out a wall first. Now how to convince Tool Man? Once ya start something like that, it snowballs.

6. Connecting and playing with nature

What's working-Ha! No problem with this one. Sometimes I feel guilty for enjoying myself so much in the great outdoors. But it does give me balance which is a good thing.

Needs improvement-I need to schedule some hikes with Tool Man. We've been getting busy and we need that outdoor time together (besides auctions & flea markets).

7. Creating and crafting

What's working-I've been accumulating various materials for pennies through my weekly auctions. I need to organize it all so the creative juices can continue to flow.

Needs improvement-I need a better sewing machine so for now I may have to concentrate on my other crafting activities.

8. Becoming self-reliant by making soap & such

What's working-I am using my own thrifty formulas for some personal care products.

Needs improvement-I will admit it. I'm hesitant with making my own soap. Once I get started, I'll be okay. Truly I will (I tell myself)!

9. Participating in fun with the family

What's working-We had our first Sisters' Weekend last month and plans are in the making for next year.

Needs improvement-My two daughters with their husbands live in two different states. It makes it that much harder to visit especially when we all have critters.

10. Educating myself & hopefully others

What's working-I am reading, and reading, and reading some more.

Needs improvement-I am in the Naturalist in Training program at Bernheim Forest. I just had my orientation and tomorrow I have my first class. Eventually, what I learn will be passed onto others. It will just take some time.

So how about you? Do you have a top ten? Try listing the top ten things you value in life. What's working? What needs improvement? Take the time to put your thoughts onto paper. Enjoy your journey!


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thrifty Vintage Finds

This is my first time participating in Thrifty Thursday hosted by Leigh and Vintage Thingies Thursday hosted by Suzanne. Please visit them to share in the thrill of finding vintage pieces and the joy of thrifty buys with women across the blogging world.

Look at these three pieces that I scored at an auction recently. Before the start of the auction, I found this cute, gold beaded purse in its original old box wrapped in a bundle of material and stuffed inside a cloth tote. All this thrown into a box with some junk. I won the bid at a fantastic, low price and the auctioneers threw two other boxes into the mix. I had no clue that those boxes contained an old silver, hand mirror with beveled glass and an old velvet purse. How cute! I just love vintage clothing and accessories.

After I took this picture, I found the matching comb to the mirror at the bottom of the box. Oh and that bundle of material that was wrapped around the's an old Kimono. Fun, fun, fun!!! Thanks for allowing me to share my finds with you.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

How Sweet It Is

Living in the South has its advantages. As a former gal from the North, I feel I can make fair comparisons. Let's begin with just the weather, the hospitality, the lifestyle, and the food. There are no comparisons. The South gets my vote.

-I enjoy the warmer weather and the longer growing season of the South. We still have snow here, but there seems to be more sunshine. I don't miss those depressing, grey skies of the North all winter long.

-And for the hospitality, people are always waving and saying hi whether they know you or not. The South is a community of friendly people.

-The lifestyle allows you to be more laid back so you can enjoy. Some businesses don't even open up on the weekends, especially on Sundays. That is a day of rest. So go and rest.

-The food is fun. You don't have to make excuses if you eat what you want. Add the butter! Enjoy your dessert!

And one last thing I'd like to mention when it comes to differences with the North and the South...SWEET TEA!

Have you ever asked for sweet tea in the North?!? You will get a blank stare and a short pause followed by a "We have sugar on the table." Oh yeah, right, I forgot I'm in the North. They have never had the pleasure of brewing and enjoying the taste of sweet tea. No fun there. They have no idea what sweet tea is.

No offense. Remember, I am originally from the North. I'm in my fifties and have only been in the South for 17 years. You can do the math all you want. I've been in the South long enough now to say I'm no longer a Yankee (even though Tool Man tries to remind me that I am). I'm just saying that living in the South has been good to me and good for me. I enjoy the weather, the hospitality, the lifestyle, and the food. And my sweet tea, of course!

So no matter where you live, don't deny yourself the sweet, simple pleasures of the South. Go and have a sweet tea today.
How Sweet it is Tea
8-10 tea bags (Luzianne or Lipton Iced Tea Brew), small pot of water, 1 cup of sugar (or Splenda), 1 gallon pitcher/container
Add sugar to water and bring to boil over med-high heat, add tea bags, cover with lid, turn off heat, and let steep for one hour. Pour your tea base into gallon container and fill with water. Remove tea bags. Serve with ice and lemon. Lasts for two days refrigerated. Recipe can be adjusted according to taste. Enjoy!


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Following in Grandmothers' Footsteps

"Your Grandmothers would be proud," says Tool Man. He says this often of our auction endeavours. For some reason, this is our year. We are having a blast from the past finding unique and fun vintage items. All of this is now heading into the direction of a joint business adventure for the two of us. And that is so perfect for me as I've always been an entrepreneur at heart.

I come by it very naturally. Both my Grandmothers were entrepreneurs. One Grandmother opened her own gift shop in a small town and the other Grandmother built up a business of resell after buying from various sources (such as auctions). I was involved in both businesses and never realized the impact it has made until now. As a youngster, I would enjoy being in charge of the gift shop when Grandma R would have errands to run. I then would attend auctions with Grandma S and help her on some of her selling days at her building. Geez, no wonder I enjoy thinking and doing things my way.

My Grandmothers have been such a big influence in my life. They planted some roots and left me their legacy. They actually have created a family business that has crossed over to another generation. I am indeed thankful for my Grandmothers' guidance and the opportunity to follow in their footsteps.


Monday, July 27, 2009

No Laughing Matter

Weekends are quite entertaining when we go to an auction. Tool Man and I go to every auction we can. This is our together hobby. We work well together as Tool Man knows what I like and I know what he is looking

This was the largest estate auction we have ever been to. In fact, there were two different auctioneers going at the same time. So Tool Man and I had to separate for awhile in order to bid on the things we wanted. It became even more confusing when Tool Man decided to start loading the truck while I continued bidding. He seemed to be gone for awhile so I decided to take a break. That is when I stumbled upon some hysterical women and my confused Tool Man. He, unfortunately, was loading all the wrong boxes into our truck when the owners of said boxes caught him red-handed stealing their stuff. I mean, how dare him! It was so funny to see the bewildered look on his face! You can't find a more honest man than my Tool Man.

It was quickly straightened out as I bonded with the women over our finds and this pile over here was the one he was to pack up. Then everyone laughed. Hmmm...wait, no, I don't think Tool Man was laughing. Well, it was a lot of hoisting of heavy boxes that were not ours into the truck, taking same boxes back out of the truck, and then shoving and pushing our boxes into the truck. All in extreme heat and humidity. Well he may not have laughed right then, but he is smiling now over our great auction finds.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Sunflower Day

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. It's what sunflowers do. - Helen Keller

Such great wisdom from Helen Keller! For a woman who was blind, she could truly see what so many of us seem to miss. For the last couple of months, I am seeing and understanding more. Turning to a life of simplicity and my love of nature has become more of a spiritual journey than I could have ever imagined. As time goes on, I am more content, more aware, and more appreciative. Being in tune with one's values definitely brings out the best.

Sunflowers, I am finding, are joyful to me. This is my first year planting them. What have I been waiting for? They are such fun! I love this huge, big, and beautiful sunflower in my backyard. So you can imagine my panic to find it completely lying on the ground yesterday.

Wednesday was a day of a slow, steady rain all day long. We needed the rain, but I didn't need to see this perky plant that faces and follows the sun looking lifeless. I knew sunflowers tend to droop due to their height and being top heavy, but I did not determine the best support system except for the telephone pole behind them. In fact, I planted the sunflowers there to help camouflage that darn pole.

I closely examined my sunflower and found no breakage at all. What would be the best support for this seven foot majesty? How about pantyhose? That's right, pantyhose. I hope to never wear those tight, annoying, confining, blasted things again! I left the professional world behind to get ahead in my personal life. It makes sense to me. I no longer have the need for the vast array of clothing and stuff to portray the 'right' professional image needed in the business world. Thank goodness.

I went searching for old hose and some scissors. I made some strips, tied the drooping sunflower to the pole behind it, and it stood nice and tall again. Mission accomplished in no time flat!

Maybe instead of posting about sunflowers today, I should have come up with 101 ways to reuse your old pantyhose. Hmmm...


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cucumber Recipe

It's quick and easy recipe time! I've been picking quite a few cucumbers from the garden and wanted to be able to serve them quickly straight from the garden to the table. Tool Man likes cucumbers with a vinegar dressing so this fits the bill perfectly for him and for me.

Cucumbers in Dill Dressing

1/4 cup cider vinegar, 1 tsp. sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. dill weed, 1/4 tsp. pepper, 2 tbsp. vegetable oil

2 medium cucumbers sliced, 1 cup sliced red onion, 2 medium tomatoes cut into wedges

In bowl, stir together first six ingredients to make the dressing. Add remaining three ingredients. Toss to coat. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

It's that easy! My garden tomatoes have not ripened yet, so I replaced them with my cherry tomatoes. I think I may prefer using cherry tomatoes for this recipe.

Anyhoo, try it. You'll like it! :)


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Future of Farming

As the rain is gently falling this morning, I take some quiet time to reflect on the state of our economy. Actually my thoughts are drawn to the future of the farmer. They have fought for survival before and continue this fight in these uncertain times. The farmer may be slipping away only to lose their battle. I really don't want this to be a political discussion of farming. I must admit that I do have some strong opinions on some of the choices in today's farming, but for today I prefer to bring forward the connection of farming to our heritage, of who we were at one time.

Farming goes way back and has such a strong connection to simpler times. I am not saying easier times, because simplicity is not easy. Farming was a way of life, not too much different from what some of us are trying to achieve within in our own backyards today. We want a connection to the land. We feel and need that connection to our land. We also want, feel, and need to be home with family. It is who we are. No different, I assume, than from the farmer of times past.

After watching the evening news that featured farmers giving up due to the economy, I saw a common thread. It was family. It was a loss of how they knew themselves through what was passed down to them. I felt for the farmer in this aspect. If you cannot take what you have learned from your family, what they have passed down to you, what they felt was their legacy, where does that leave you?

I, personally, take pride in my heritage through what my Grandmothers have taught me through their example. Some of my daily activities center on their influence. If it was taken away, who would I be? And this is my point. Who is the farmer of today? Where are they to go and what are they to do if they do not farm?

Times are changing. So must we. That is why so many of us are downsizing and turning to a lifestyle of becoming more self-sufficient. I will continue my path to a simpler lifestyle. I still want to plant some roots. I do want to leave a legacy. I, perhaps, am not much different from the farmer of yesteryear.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

High In The Sky

If you take the time to listen, you may be surprised by what you hear. At our place, it's a jungle out there! We have a variety of critters that take pleasure in our surroundings because of the trees and the lake. And I have noticed that this year we seem to have more 'high in the sky' activity than usual.

I love my feathered friends and all beauty they bring. All except one. I'm speaking of the vulture. We have vultures who have taken up residency at the lake and they like to come visit us. I'm not a good hostess when they do come.

Such was the case the other morning. Kit Kat and I were doing our morning ritual of surveying our garden and grounds when there was a flapping of large wings. We both looked up to see the vulture land on a tree above us. I guess he just wanted to check us out. Yes, we are alive and kicking so you have no purpose here. Move on please. And so he did. And I will not make any excuses for being a bad hostess. After all, he received no 'high in the sky' invitation from me.


Monday, July 20, 2009

A Day at PlantSomeRoots


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Need to Scold!!!

I must apologize to my readers, but I must take some time today to do a little scolding to a minor few. Some of my work on this blog is being lifted which is just a polite way to say "stealing". Gee, I haven't even been blogging for two months yet and there are others who feel my work is worth taking without asking? Come on now. With today's technology, I guess the culprits out there do not realize I see what they do.

Now I will have to spend some time working behind the scenes to continue to beef up the security for my work. (That's a hint.) So again for the majority of my readers, I apologize and appreciate you.


Friday, July 17, 2009

I'm a NIT!

Whew, I made it! I have been accepted into a training program hosted by Bernheim Forest. I am now an official Naturalist In Training. NIT, for short.

I began my relationship with Bernheim when I started to enjoy hiking in the great outdoors. This is a beautifully rich, green area for discovering and connecting with nature. I've been a member for a few years now to help support the forest in their research, activities, and programs.

I did not have any real concerns about being accepted into their two-year program...except one. I had to list what I'm allergic to. Yikes! Biting bugs and poisonous plants seem to love me while my body is not so receptive to the whole idea. Even if a mosquito bites me, it's not pretty. And right now I happen to be going through a nasty period of being attacked by both plants and bugs. I won't bore you with details, but once again, it's not pretty.

So I envisioned the officials at Bernheim Forest receiving my application and reading all the way through in a positive frame of mind until they reached that dreaded truth I had to list. What? She wants to be a naturalist and she will be exposed to bugs and plants which she is allergic to? Then I envisioned them calling me a loser and tossing my application to the side. But that did not happen. I received the congratulations call anyway! I guess they're willing to take a chance on me.

So tomorrow I'll take my swollen, bandaged self to Bernheim Forest for orientation and hope no one notices. I don't even care if they do because I'm a NIT and I'm running with it, bandages and all!


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cute and Functional?!?

Hi all! The above, boring picture is actually a wall we built to be a closet and it never quit fulfilled its purpose. I eventually put my bakers rack there just to fill up the space. Now I need a pantry. And I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this. It's time to go for it!

My goal is to make this ugly, ignored supposed-to-be closet into a cute and functional pantry. Not just any old pantry, but a 'cute' one. I have some ideas as how I want it to look and how to keep the price affordable. I have some paint and we have some spare boards in the garage I can use for shelving. That will save me some money. But you know when it comes to decorating, that 'cute factor' can cost you.

So my hope is to pull a look (a vintage one) all together and post some pictures soon of the completed project. Wish me luck!

How about you? Are currently working on any projects?


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Embrace Challenge

There are a lot of challenges in life. That's just natural. How we react to them is our choice. We can face them because we have to. We can try to ignore them and hope they go away. Or we can accept them, maybe even embrace them, and become a better person.

Besides my day to day challenges, I've accepted the Challenge presented on Rhonda's down to earth blog. It has provided me with some direction and feedback to what I'm striving for in my quest for a simple lifestyle. And yet, I'm finding that what is being presented, I'm already doing or I want to do asap.

So the question that a real challenge for me? Let's explore the possibilities as we should never accept a challenge without questioning the why. According to Wicktionary, one meaning for the word challenge is an instigation or antagonization intended to convince a person to perform an action they otherwise would not. Well, I think we have already established that this definition would not apply. I'm not choosing this lifestyle because I must. I'm choosing it because I want to.

I happen to prefer the second definition on Wicktionary which is a difficult task, especially one that the person making the attempt finds more enjoyable because of that difficulty. There we go! That's me! Seeking a simplistic lifestyle is not easy in today's society. We are a culture of convenience and consumerism. Doing anything differently takes some effort. It's going against the norm.

So I spend my days gardening, doing the yard work, crafting, making personal care and cleaning products, cooking, preserving, stockpiling, conserving, creating, and whatever else I can think of. And I've just begun. There will be more to do. And when it comes, it won't be so much of a challenge, but more of an enjoyable lifestyle I choose to embrace.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Recipes, Recipes, & More Recipes

A collection of individual recipes. Some are newspaper clippings, some are on scraps of paper, and some are so torn or illegible they need to be thrown out. All stuffed into a drawer waiting patiently to see the light of day, to feel a creative hand, and to experience completion to the table. They have been calling me. And I have been ignoring them.
You see, all my quality time is spent with my cookbooks. I love my cookbooks. They are great references, are quite attractive with their pictures, and are already organized for my fingertips to discover what they hold. My cookbooks hold stories, antidotes, and useful information. Some of them have history and boy, if they could just talk.
The dilemma with the individual recipes is that they have been so neglected that they have become orphaned. I cannot and will not ignore them any longer. And besides, it has become such a juggling act with those scattered pieces of paper going in all directions every time I open that drawer.
I've decided that my new rainy day project will be to sort through them all and place them into a recipe file. I'll still have recipes, recipes, and more recipes, but this time they will have a home in which they can be proud.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Zucchini Jam

Using a vegetable to make a jam may sound a little odd, but sometimes one needs to be a little creative with the overproducing zucchini plant. Now don't get me wrong. I love zucchini and appreciate its ease in growth and low maintenance. I even believe it doesn't deserve the reputation it receives with people rolling their eyes, shaking their heads negatively, and running away as you present them with yet another zucchini gift from your garden.

I'll admit it. My zucchini has started to overtake the refrigerator. What is it doing in there when the door is closed? Multiplying all on its own? My imagination is running wild with me!

I have been faithfully preparing and serving zucchini dishes every evening. Tool Man (hubby) comes home from work wondering not only what is for supper, oh no. He is wondering how in the heck is she going to change it up this time! My Land O Lakes Treasury of Country Recipes (see my review at right) has actually saved me. It contains zucchini and other fresh garden veggie recipes. This cookbook makes me look like I know what I'm doing. What a hoot!

Anyhoo, I did not locate this zucchini jam recipe in any cookbook. Well yes I did, just not how you think. It was located in a newspaper clipping stuck within a cookbook. So why not try it. This recipe created a conflict for me, because when I think of jam, it's all about the freshness of the fruit. This is a vegetable, for pete's sake! We're talking lots of sugar, some pineapple, and gelatin. I never even buy gelatin. Sigh.

So here is the recipe. Proceed with caution.

Zucchini Jam

6 cups skinned & ground zucchini, 6 cups granulated sugar, 1 cup crushed pineapple, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 6 oz. flavored gelatin (raspberry, strawberry, apricot, or peach)

Cook ground zucchini for 10 minutes with juice drained from the crushed pineapple. Then drain the cooked mixture and add the sugar, pineapple, and lemon juice. Cook hard for 6 minutes. Remove from heat and add gelatin. Cool. Place in jam jars or containers. Refrigerate. Makes 4 pints or 2 quarts.

And the taste? It's good. In fact while it was cooling and hadn't set up yet, we poured it over vanilla ice cream as the perfect dessert sauce!

So mission accomplished. The zucchini is out of the, for now. :)


Friday, July 10, 2009

Burning Calories

I found this in an old book...

Guide To Calorie Burning - Author Unknown

Beating around the bush-75

Jumping to conclusions-100

Climbing the walls-150

Swallowing your pride-50

Passing the buck-25

Throwing your weight around-150

Dragging your heals-100

Pushing your luck-250

Making mountains out of molehills-500

Hitting the nail on the head-50

Wading through paperwork-300

Bending over backwards-75

Jumping on the bandwagon-200

Balancing the books-25

Running around in circles-350

Eating crow-225

Tooting your own horn-25

Climbing the ladder of success-750

Pulling out all the stops-75

Adding fuel to the fire-150

Wrapping it up at the day's end-12

Enjoy your weekend and watch those calories!


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Start With Your Own Backyard

What is the view from your window? I'm asking because we should always take the time to appreciate that view. Go ahead, take a minute and do so now. Is there greenery? How about a garden? Are there flowers in bloom? It is what we make it.

We need to go through life with our eyes wide open. Some people go through life with blinders on. They only live on the world as if aimlessly passing through, not in the world with meaning or purpose. I feel sorry for them.

I prefer and try to live up to my true potential. It's not always easy, but it is easier if I hold myself accountable for everything I do on this earth. Am I contributing and doing my part? Am I a friend or a foe? Am I being wasteful? Am I living a simple lifestyle?

Lately, all you hear is the new catch phrase, 'Going Green'. I believe that going green is nothing more than a trend supported by the media and our current economic times. Many of us have contributed to being so-called green before it was popular. There has always been a sub-culture of us who have been considered weird because we're homesteaders, or tree-huggers, or hippies, or whatever you want to call us. We have many terms. Me, I feel I'm honoring my heritage (my Grandmothers) and hopefully leaving a legacy. Again, we need to be more responsible and hopefully lead the way as not a trend, but a purposeful life.

This thought came to me this morning...'What if there were no landfills?' Let's suppose that all your waste must accumulate in your own backyard. After all, it must go somewhere. Consider the filth and health hazard created in a very short time for you and your family.

Let's imagine that besides your garbage you bag up, that every appliance, car, piece of furniture that you replace, your old one must be deposited into your backyard.

Are the blinders coming off yet? I'm positive I'm preaching to the choir here, but what about those who think it's their right to keep accumulating more and better without any responsibility for those consequences. Keeping up with the Joneses is not the path to a fulfilling life. Living a simple life is the best answer.

I just read an article by someone who believes that by 'going green' (which in my opinion means being responsible), we will be living smaller, more inconvenient, more uncomfortable, more expensive, less enjoyable, and less hopeful lives. WOW!!! I would hate to live in that man's world. He really needs to take his blinders off.

Please don't take your life and your responsibility for granted. Allow your life to be stimulated with the possibilities of the differences you can make in and on this earth. Please start within your own backyard.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I Play With My Food

Well I don't play with my food on my plate, but I do enjoy playing with the food in my kitchen. I don't always play by the rules, either. Sometimes I'll follow a recipe, sometimes I won't. I find it more of an adventure to mix it up a bit and come up with my own version. I do have certain dishes I like and make and when someone asks me for the recipe, I'm stumped. What recipe?

My macaroni salad is an example. Heck, I throw some basic ingredients into a bowl and know it's just right by the look, the texture, the color, and the smell. How does one pass that 'recipe' on?

Last night for dinner, I had full intentions to try a new recipe. I had it all planned out and had all the ingredients. Then when it came time to do, I don't think so. I pulled out what I wanted and got busy. I'm the type of gal that when it comes to cooking I like it quick, fast, and easy. Most of these ingredients are fresh from the garden. You can't beat fresh veggies when it comes to taste. So here is my 'recipe'. Feel free to change it, cause I'm sure I will next time.

3 heaping cups shredded zucchini, 3 diced banana peppers, 1/4 small red onion diced, 1 tablespoon pesto sauce, salt & pepper to taste

Fry veggies in light oil for 20-25 minutes and add the pesto and seasonings within the last 5 minutes. Serve with pasta. Serves 2.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Saving Electricity

Upon rising today, I opened up the audit challenge on Rhonda Jean's blog to find that she was addressing electricity and water. This is timely as we just received our electric bill yesterday and was making comparisons from last month and from last year. The goal is to use less to conserve energy and to save money.

We've come to the conclusion we just don't need as much heat or as much air conditioning as the average family. And this all happened due to circumstances beyond our control. First there was the ice storm this past winter that knocked out all power to thousands within our community and beyond. We used a kerosene heater and survived just fine. I was amazed at the lack of skills or know-how by some to get by in such an emergency. I have a friend in the insurance business who told me all the claims that came in, including for the loss of food in the refrigerator. She asked me what did we do with our food so it wouldn't spoil. I told her we put it outside in the snow and ice provided by mother nature. She said she did the same. Some people just don't want to make the effort to make do, I guess.

Well, after almost two weeks of survival mode we had power again. Then, within two weeks, our heat pump died just 2 months beyond its warranty. It was going to cost thousands and I'm sure that I have mentioned before in other posts that I'm very stubborn. So no thank you, just forget it! I discovered that a space heater works just fine to meet our needs. It is so satisfying to know that we are conserving energy and saving money.

We finally did get our heat pump/air conditioning unit fixed just recently because we found a good person who honored the warranty and charged us for labor only. But what we have decided to do is use fans to keep the house comfortable. We've only run the air conditioner once this season when it was in the high 90's.

We are still working on ways for improvement. Here is an interesting website to visit with fascinating facts and ways to improve your effort in conserving energy.


Monday, July 6, 2009

To Shampoo or Not To Shampoo

I have a confession to make. I have not shampooed my hair for two weeks. I have been washing my hair, just not shampooing it. Let me clarify the why and the how.

First, the why. I have been determining resourceful ways to reduce costs & save my dollars, to eliminate more plastic going to our overloaded landfills, and to just go as natural as possible to rid myself of unnecessary ingredients that are just plain bad. Shampoo strips our hair of its essentials oils and can be irritating to our skin. And anyhoo...I love being creative and finding alternative ways to do things.

Now, the how. I use baking soda to replace shampoo and vinegar to replace conditioner. The results are fabulous. To clean my hair, I made a mixture of about 1 part baking soda to 4-5 parts water and put it in a bottle. To wash my hair, I wet it, shake my bottle mixture, add some to my hair, lightly massage my scalp and hair, and rinse. For the vinegar solution, I mixed half water to half vinegar in a bottle. I add it to my hair after I've washed it and rinse again. It's that easy!

Now I will admit I was a little nervous to try this, but my hair is clean and it smells clean. I'm spending less time on my hair to make it cooperate and using less hair products including that dreaded hairspray that desperately clings to every surface within my bathroom.

And I am so happy that today I accidently found another blogger who is using the same method I have discovered. It's so nice to know that I'm not a lone ranger when it comes to hair care. So, to shampoo or not to shampoo? I'd say the verdict is in!


Friday, July 3, 2009

Challenge, Anyone?

I just decided to take on a new challenge offered by Rhonda at Down To Earth. Not sure if I need it, but why not join in on a community of like-minded people who have their hearts and heads in the right place. I can appreciate the values and I already embrace the lifestyle.

Rhonda's challenge is considered a Home Audit. It's all about staying focused which makes me smile. I consider myself having adult ADD, but since I've accepted this lifestyle, I could not be any more focused. My day centers around taking pleasure in my garden, my home, and a life of simplicity.

The challenge has just started so check it out if you like. It begins with a 'spend no money week and how to handle your money'. We've already addressed this in our home. We don't really spend money because we live a simple lifestyle. Isn't that great?

When starting a modest lifestyle, it does take some dollars for new inventory or tools to complete your goals. For example, I plan to make soap and I needed a stick blender. I bought a used one for $5.00. And that is the fun part in making a change in your lifestyle. For me, it's not just a trend to go green or recycle.

You know, I don't even think of this as a challenge. Maybe...more of a puzzle with pieces that comes together when everyone contributes in a positive way.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Day at My Sister's


Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Okay, I feel like I'm a walking human experiment. While making the effort to explore the natural route in all areas of my life, I'm discovering a slew of possibilities. Where to begin as it brings memories of both my Grandmothers to the forefront? It's all about simplicity in this oh, so complicated world of today.

Even going to the good old grocery store can be perplexing. Have you ever had a problem deciding which cereal to buy? Come on, how many cereals does one person need? This is stressful. Or how about toothpaste? Have you ever read the back of the tube? Do so while brushing those pearly whites. It clearly states that if accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact a poison control center right away. What?!? Spit and run, spit and run now!

I'm exploring and experimenting with alternative choices right now. Because we all have a choice. So what are the best options in the search for simplicity? I'm finding that it's baking soda and vinegar. My hair, skin, and teeth are going through new routines. It's too early to post any results or to give any suggestions, but I will do so soon.

Would love to hear from you if you have had positive results using vinegar and/or baking soda to replace conventional methods.

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