My lovely cousin sent me a package the other day. Cleaning supplies. Just in time for some serious spring cleaning!
I have to be honest and say, I am totally frustrated when I buy cleaning products, that claim to be Eco-friendly, non-toxic and "green", and then I am told that, "If ingested, contact poison control."
Wait. What? How is that non-toxic? How is this safe for the environment?
I guess it's back to the basics of cleaning with vinegar, lemons, baking soda and water for me. And mainly water, now that I've been introduced to Norwex.
These cleaning supplies are a little different than most. All you do is add water!
"All of these microfiber products have micro-silver embedded in them which is a natural antibacterial agent. When the cloth removes bacteria, it comes in contact with the silver and cannot multiply, thereby keeping your cloths cleaner for longer and avoiding that musty "kitchen cloth smell" which is caused by germs multiplying uninhibited. Yucko."
-Lindsay, Norwex Rep
"Body Pack (3 cloths) is used to cleanse, exfoliate and remove makeup with only water. Can also be used on other areas of the body where they might be problematic areas or breakouts such as the back of the arms or upper back. No cleansers, soaps, toners, etc. Rinse, wring and hang to dry. If you have any skin issues, I always recommend committing to the cloths only for 2 weeks. No other cleansers or products. Just the cloth and moisturizer. Give your skin 2 weeks to adjust before determining if you will keep using them."
-Lindsay, Norwex Rep
Well, after my first time using the body cloths, I determined I would keep using them. No two week trial period for me!
First off, these cloths are so soft! They just feel great.
Second off, they hold just the right amount of water. Let me explain this: I have a phobia of getting water in my eyes. I'd wear goggles in the shower if that didn't make me a complete weirdo. So the fact that I can wash my face and eyes with just the right amount of water (as in, not so much water in the cloth that I get water in my eyes) is exactly what I needed!
Truly, I can say, I am loving Norwex. I don't even have to question the fact if it's "eco-friendly". I'm only using water!
A huge thank you to my cuz, Lindsay, for introducing me to this.
For more information and for other products, feel free to contact her!
Executive Sales Leader & Consultant Trainer
Happy Spring Cleaning!
With all the technology we have these days, you think we'd be able to be more energy efficient than ever, but sadly, it seems the opposite.
Have you ever thought about what you could do to reduce your energy consumption?
Would you go so far as to live without something or make some drastic lifestyle changes to reduce the impact on our environment?
We are planning on getting a wood fireplace to reduce our energy bill. It's not like we will be living entirely off grin, but will be a huge energy savings. It will also be a lot more work every year chopping wood, stoking the fire and general maintenance of having a fireplace, but it's a sacrifice we are excited to make. Not to mention, we get to enjoy the ambiance of a real fire, and not the fireplace channel on TV. It's a start towards living greener and healthier.
What would you do?
The little man has been a little under the weather the past week or so, and I can officially say, I'm not scared of snot anymore. I'm turning into one of those hardcore moms that just pulls boogies right out of their kids noses, so that the dreaded Kleenex episode can be avoided. I don't understand why every kid is so terrified of a simple snot napkin. Each to their own.
I'm pretty sure I've overcome my snot fear thanks to this deep love I've got for this little kid. He melts my heart every day, the least I can do for is wipe his nose and butt and face, and rarely, tears. Thankfully!
That leads me to talk specifically about wiping butts. Very deep topic, I know!
Before he was born, I decided on cloth diapering. A lot of people questioned me and told me how hard it would be, but I went with my favourite motto: oblivion is bliss. It's my first child, so I didn't really know one way or the other. I have to change butts anyways, so why not reduce my impact on the environment? It totally has similarities to snot wiping, basically that both are nasty, but you've gotta do it anyways.
This I have to share, in case anyone else uses cloth diapers and bleaches the shit, literally, out of them. Apparently, I am the worst at reading directions, and they say right on the tag "DO NOT BLEACH". I bleached them.
When all of a sudden, they started leaking, I freaked out, thinking I had wrecked them all, which I probably had. Then I had one of those moments when you actually think of the best idea ever. We had a bunch of this soft shell stuff by Nikwax, which is really meant for our snowboard coats to get them all water-proofed again. I used it on the diaper shells,
since it's pretty close to the same material.
Thankfully, that stuff totally worked. So if you are like me and have this problem or you just want to give them that extra protection again, this stuff is the solution.
I've never tried BumGenius! Biodegradable Baby Odor Remover for Cloth Diapers, but I would like to try it! No one like a stink butt.
If you do decide to commit and go to cloth diapers, I'd definitely recommend buying a set. I use a Grovia Live set, and they have been awesome. They are not like the cloth diapers back in the day, that's for sure. They are actually cute now, too!
Happy Butt Wiping!
The Simple Life
What is a project you've got that is so simple, but
still encompasses the idea of reusing something?
Grass is Greener
Everyone loves that moment in the year where you start catching the glimpse of that green grass growing! We are especially excited this year because after our landscaping weekend, we've seeded all those dirt craters, and the grass is starting to come in! We were very lucky because, while we've had an unusually nice spring, right after we seeded the grass, it rained for a few days. I love the rain; it's the grey skies that bother me, but we were definitely thanking the grey clouds for finally giving it up.
One of the things we haven't gotten around to is getting rain barrels. The house had no downspouts when we bought it, which we have added on the front of the house, but we wanted to take advantage of the copious amount of rain we usually get in the spring, so rain barrels in the back were the plan. It is now almost officially summer, and sadly we haven't found any that we like yet, or that aren't really expensive. So for now, this giant bucket will do.
Clearly, the buckets do the same thing as the expensive rain barrels, and the garden is getting nicely watered with the rain- collected or not.
Aquarius Coaster Dish design by Thomas Paul - $4.50
from: Burke Decor LLC
One thing I am surprised the more houses do not have these days is grey water systems. If we were to ever design build our own house, that would be one of the things I would be putting in. How much water is wasted when we shower or bath? With a grey water system, a lot of that water that is now undrinkable is able to still be used in other ways. Such as watering the lawn or in the toilet. Why would we need potable water in the toilets, just to literally flush it away?! It's sad how wasteful we are, without even being totally aware of it sometimes. Learn a bit about grey water systems here.
I encourage you to think about water conservation, and just to be aware of it.
Before throwing your water from the nightstand down the drain, water your
plants, or after a bath, fill up the watering can.
What are some ways you are trying to save water? Let me know in the comment area.
Thanks again for reading!
It kills me when I see trees getting cut down. Maybe you can label me as a tree hugger, and if tree huggers cry at the sound of "timber!", then yes, maybe I am just that.
These majestic trees that lined the river bank were cut down, and they had claimed that they were rotting.
I'm not a tree expert, but I ran into an older lady, and we both were pretty choked about the whole situation. Neither of us could find any sign of rot on these trees.
So why does this happen?
Was someone's view blocked by the trees? Is there a parking lot going in instead? It always reminds me of Joni Mitchell's 'Big Yellow Taxi'- that they took all the trees and put them in a tree museum. Sometimes that is really what seems to happen!
How backwards is our society that we would let this happen? That we cut down trees when they are "too big" because their roots are trying to get through the roads, just to replant them with new trees that will inevitably grow to do the exact same thing?
Trees are so unique, and there is not a tree that is like another. I want a forest so bad in my backyard, which obviously is very lacking in trees at the moment, as seen here.
I've had some fun times with trees. They make me feel daring and adventurous for some weird reason. I am starting to sound more and more like a tree hugger, hey?
This is me chilling with one of the biggest trees I've ever seen. This would take a few tree huggers to show this tree some proper loving!
Please make me feel better about the death of the trees above by sharing a good story about saving a tree or something! Anything!
Please and thank you.
Nottingham: Cream Wallpaper - $60.00
from: Graham & Brown, Inc.
Spray Foaming the Basement
This was a pretty big undertaking, and we definitely brought in the professionals for this one. I am positive it has made a HUGE difference. It was worth the investment, and it will reduce our heating bills dramatically. Totally recommend doing this if you can!
One of a houses biggest heat loss is often the windows. Unfortunately, we didn't have it in the budget to replace the windows. Lucky for us, during our pre-assessment, we found out that the windows weren't actually that bad, so I just ripped down the trim, and Adam spray foamed the void around the frame.
It felt a little counterproductive ripping down the perfectly good trim, but from our previous lesson with the front door, I only cried a little ripping it down. There is just something about having the trim down that makes it feel like a construction zone again. Ah well. It's all for a reason! (See my previous post where we replaced our "exterior doors": When One Door Closes... Another One Opens)
Say no to Cracks!
We had a few cracks in the foundation that definitely can't help in the heat loss aspect. So Adam pumped them full of hydraulic cement and fixed that problem. We also used Rustoleum Leak Seal to damp-proof the concrete, even though the Quick Plug Hydraulic Cement is water-proof. One can never be too safe! Just for the record, we used 2 large buckets of the hydraulic cement for our three foundation holes, so if you think this little box fixed our cracks, well, I'm letting you know this is just for touch ups. This wouldn't get you very far. Sorry.
Oh, the work of home ownership! I don't even see a break in sight, let alone the end! Like Adam always says, that's why a mortgage is for 25 years. Maybe in 25 years we'll have it the way we want it. But then again, who wants a 25 year old bathroom? Ah, it really will never end, will it? It's a good thing we actually enjoy it!
Thanks again for reading!
Less is More.
Does happiness come from having things? I know that while everyone is whispering in your ear that it does, I am going to disagree. If anything, I think it does the opposite. "You'll be happy if you have the newest 3D TV, or the fastest car known to man, or the sweetest speed boat, or the fanciest clothes, the most bling, the nicest stuff." The nice thing about stuff is it is exciting to enjoy. For a few hours. Then easy to move on. Think about a birthday or Chistmas- you have this huge influx of things to enjoy, and you do... Temporarily. Has the new x-box really brought you joy? Or just another dilemma of where to focus your attention?
The more you have, the more you are being distracted from what really matters. Back to the physical basics- food, shelter, and clothing. Beyond that yes, there are the emotional needs of humans, which do include more than just the food, shelter, clothing list. According to EQI, we have 10 basic emotional needs
2. Believed in
3. Cared about
Looking at that list, the closest thing I can even relate to having things is #7- being supported, but that could be a bit of a stretch, as the list is relating to emotional needs, not physical needs. So along with our basic physical needs, the equation of happiness coming from things is incorrect.
The life where friends and family and relationships (and the basics) are the focus equates for a very happy life. Yes, sometimes it's hard, as relationships aren't disposable like material things are, but in the end, it's much more rewarding and gives lasting happiness. So don't let the materialist mentality of the rest of the world convince you of "true happiness", but remember what really counts in life. Your dog doesn't care about if you have the most expensive watch, but he/she cares that you take the time for walks and playtime and dinner. The best things in life are free! Enjoy it! Love it!
I know this did not really have much to do with anything design or building related, so on a side note, minimalism is very stylish these days.
"Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have." -Hyman Schachtel
Tis the season to be jolly. And cold. As much as I'd love to crank up the heat and pretend I am somewhere tropical, with the white "sand" piling up on the driveway, it's not the most eco-friendly thing I could do. Here are a few things to keep in mind as the temperature keeps dropping.
~Insulate your home- Insulation is the biggest way to cut heating costs. You can use natural materials such as recycled newspaper or sheep's wool or you can opt for Icynene spray foam, which is free of VOC's, HCFC's, formeldehyde, etc. Adding insulation onto your pipes prevents freezing in the most severe cases of "house frostbite" and adding a jacket to your hot water tank ensures that your hot water tank will not be jealous when you bust out your parka.
~Draft-proof your home- Add weather stripping and caulking to areas of your house that are areas of great heat loss. Think doors, window, baseboards. If possible, replace window that are drafty and opt for double or triple paned windows with a higher R-value rather than single paned. Thick curtains even help. Sometimes a little can go a long way.
~Use renewable heat sources- Geothermal heating might not be in your budget this year, and a wood or pellet stove might not be the easiest thing, but it is a renewable resource, whereas oil, natural gas, and coal are not sustainable. Not to mention, a fireplace definitely adds to the ambiance of Christmas time! If this is not an option, maybe having thermostats in each room is. There isn't much need for as much heat in the bedrooms throughout the day as there would be having more heat in the living room.
~Manage your airflow- Make sure your ducts are clean and unobstructed. The monsters under your bed might appreciate the heat but if your bed is over the vents, getting out of bed in the winter might be less appealing. If you have a radiator, try adding a shelf over top, and don't block it with curtains, as to prevent the heat from just going up the wall, but instead circulating the heat around the whole room.
~Bring on the layers- My dad always told me, it's better to over-dress than it is to under-dress, just take off a layer as you need. So, add layers, whether it be on your shoulders or on your bed. Add a blanket on the couch. I personally start my winter mornings with long johns, sweats, and snow pants. Highly fashionable. I know.
~Unplug your freezer during winter months- who needs a freezer when it's minus 30 outside? Ok, this may seem weird, but really, why not?
A Cleaner Clean.
"The ammonia vapour from concentrated ammonia solutions is severely irritating
to the eyes and the respiratory tract, and these solutions should only be
handled in a fume hood. Saturated ("0.880") solutions can develop a significant
pressure inside a closed bottle in warm weather, and the bottle should be opened
with care; this is not usually a problem for 25% ("0.900") solutions.
Ammonia solutions should not be mixed with halogens, as toxic and/or explosive products are
formed. Prolonged contact of ammonia solutions with silver, mercury or iodide salts can also lead to explosive products:
such mixtures are often formed in qualitative chemical analysis, and should be
lightly acidified but not concentrated (<6% w/v) before disposal once the
test is completed." - www.wikipedia.org
Why, oh why, would people want to clean with substances that are so bad for us? These chemicals we are using to "clean" our homes are potentially very harmful for us. I don't know about you, but when the bottles of cleaners have hazardous written all over it, it makes me rethink using them. Why not trying a greener choice?
There are many products these days that do a great job of cleaning- personally tested! But more importantly, they do a great job of caring for the environment.
I prefer the ingredients in my cleaners to be something like "corn and coconut derived biodegradable surfactants" and "corn alcohol" (whiskey?) than "petrolium distillate". I feel much safer using non-toxic, ammonia-free , natural cleaners, where the only symbol on the bottle is a little triangle with arrows instead of symbols that show skull and crossbones and some liquid that burns though your hands. Gross. Bring on the vinegar and water!!
I love the idea of cleaning with vinegar. It's a great, natural cleaner, but I'm not going to lie. It's not the best smelling stuff. If I wanted my house to smell like pickles, I'd be cool with using it, any day, every day. Then I saw the vinegar- Dawn soap pin. 50-50 mix of the two and you've got a pretty effective cleaner. At first, I was skeptical. I didn't dedicate a whole bottle to making the concoction. It was about a table spoon of each, just to test it out. I really didn't want my house smelling like pickles. So, it tried it out, and it actually is pretty awesome stuff. I'll keep using it for sure. My toilet is gleeming thanks to this stuff. Also note, the bottle is now full. I believe.
Ants on a Blog
By Jena Keenan