I'm on a journey to find health and happiness through a more holistic and green lifestyle.

I find the world to be abrasive. =) That is to say, I feel the need to armor myself, physically and emotionally, in order to face life. Don't we all? Maybe. For whatever reason, it has become a priority in my life to rid my immediate environment of irritating things. And I'm sensitive! So there is much work to be done. But. I have thought for a long time that the things I come in contact with every day, and the stuff used to clean and maintain these things, need to be gentle and non-toxic. I have had eczema my entire life. For a long time I just dealt with it, and accepted that sometimes it's bad, and sometimes it's not, and that it will fluctuate a lot. Gradually over time I have come to find that certain things, fabrics, cleansers, materials, are more irritating to my skin than others. Stress can exacerbate it. In more recent times, I have realized that every aspect of my life improves when I improve conditions for my skin. Hah! What a concept! Thus my (long time) interest in going green, and my more recent desire to live a more holistic lifestyle. (I think I've felt a desire for a long time to live in a harmonious way with myself, my surroundings, and nature, but didn't have a name for it.) Anyhow, this blog is a journal of my trials and errors, and basic crooked path to find a balanced and peaceful existence for myself and my family. Thanks for your interest! I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Holiday Green - Christmas Cards

My daughter and I were talking this morning as we enjoyed a nice morning outside in the yard. I told her I was thinking about ways to be more green this Christmas and asked her if she had any thoughts on what we could do. Her reply: "Paper" Yeah. Wow. Christmas cards, gift wrap, ribbons... I started to brainstorm ways to reduce my personal use of these things. Thing is...I love giving and receiving Christmas cards. There are people I am seldom in contact with, but can rely on Christmas cards every year to get caught up with the. So how do I continue with this tradition while wasting less and reusing more? Well, I could go hard core, and make a card online that I email to everyone. Hm. That would certainly do it. No paper, no mess, no stamps or return address labels...easy to send - no envelopes to address. I could. But I dunno. Somehow it loses something. So. Post cards?? Cards that fold and become their own envelope? I'm liking that idea. How to do that? I would probably have to use heavy paper, so does that defeat the purpose? I want to share photos. That's pretty wasteful too. But I want to be able to do these things. Hmmm..... Post cards, maybe that's the compromise. Create my own with my pictures, and print our greeting. No envelope, less expensive... Recycled/recyclable paper? Maybe next year I'll send them online. Maybe.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Traveling Green

Ok, so ways to be green while on the road. For one thing, I bring cloth wipes everywhere I go. What I need to do is get used to using cloth paper towels. I haven't gotten into that yet. But I do use cloth napkins and wash cloths as a matter of course, and we use cloth wipes for our noses much of the time. I think I ought to start traveling with some castile soap. It's versatility makes this a good idea. I could have cleaned the kitchen with it, then my hands, too. And the kids... I used to travel with cloth diapers, but the storing and cleaning was a bit of a challenge. I should do it still....but I don't. It's a balance, I guess. ... ....

Traveling Green

I'll elaborate on this when time allows (I'm away from home and following a 2-year-old around everywhere...) but I'm thinking about how to be green while away from home. This came to mind while cleaning up my father's kitchen after breakfast this morning. I searched his kitchen for baking soda to clean the counters and sink with, and found none. I wiped the counters with water. I am so used to using natural cleaners that I can't make myself use chemical-filled cleaners which spray into the air as much as land on the surfaces. So. How to be green on the road? Well. I guess there are many ways. But boy is on the move, so more in a bit.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving green thoughts

Just a quick thought as we gear up for the festivities today. The first thought that comes to mind for how to be green today is to use reusable containers for all those leftovers! More work? Yeah. But not much. More water? Yes. But in the end I believe it will result in less waste. Just my thoughts.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

All-Purpose Reusable Gift Bags - Photos

Two of my reusable gift bags. I just make them to fit whatever I need to wrap! =)

Unclogging drains naturally

Ok, I mentioned this in another post, but thought I would elaborate. 

We had a very, very clogged drain. I didn't realize just how clogged it was until I attempted to take the plug out, and couldn't! I pulled and tugged and yanked, and finally it came out to reveal the most clogged drain I had ever seen. Yikes. I had decided to use green cleaning methods, but was pretty convinced it wouldn't work. I just wanted to give it a shot so I could give myself credit for having tried. =) Using a method I had read about online, I poured 1/2 cup of baking soda into the drain. On top of that I poured one cup of white vinegar. Here's the trick. I then plugged the drain. You have to close it as tightly as you can. The idea is that when the mixture fizzes and foams up, which it will, the pressure will go DOWN, thus pushing the clog down. I went through the motions, having little hope, and left the room. The next day (I'm a busy person and didn't get to it again until the next day) I remember my futile experiment, and went to check on it. The clog was gone. GONE. The sink ran freely. I was so excited. No harsh chemicals, no fumes, no keeping the kids out of the room. Just a safely unclogged drain that ran clear. Victory! Now to do the tub drain...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

All-purpose reusable gift bags

I'm learning how to post photos. Just practicing. But this is one of my reusable gift bags. I'll post photos of some of the others. I like them. =)

Holiday Green

I started to think about what I could do this holiday season to pursue my dreams of being more green. The first step was so obvious I wondered what took me so long to get here. The paper and trees that are used during the holidays are mind-boggling. So. In the past I have tried having a live tree, but I can never seem to get the thing to last through the winter. I'll keep working on that one. But my main focus this year is the gift wrap phenomenon. Recently, Flylady (flylady.net) posted a message about making and using reusable gift bags. POP! My brain was all over that. I love to sew, and it's a new project, plus it advances my green path. I was hooked. I have been making them like crazy ever since. They're easy to make, and can be made any size/style. Giving them to others is like giving two gifts in one. And you're gently passing on the message to "save a tree." I love it. I also have a bin full of flannel fabric that I collected when I was making cloth diapers, a phase which has passed. (The making of, not the using of-I'm still doing some of that) So I'm happy to have a use for that. They're not so Christmassy, but whaddevah.

Castile Soap

I recently discovered castile soap. I had seen it before, but didn't have a clue about it, and honestly, it wasn't on the top, or near the top, or my priority list until a couple of months ago. Then there is was, and so. Castile soap is oil based, and the purist of the pure is made from olive oil. Essential oils scent it. Its versatility is what really caught my eye. People use it for everything from cleaning themselves, to cleaning their homes, their dishes, their laundry. My thoughts on each (liquid castile): 

Cleaning self: Um, ok. It's so-so. Using the liquid soap on the skin is good. It's gentle and cleans well. I use it in the hand soap dispensers. I'm lazy about using it in the shower. As a shampoo, you really need to mix it so that works for your hair type. Castile alone left my hair very, very soft, but also limp and feeling filmy. I mixed it with baking soda as someone online had suggested. The results were much better...much better. But I have to say I have been quick to grab store bought shampoo instead. I'm working on myself to pursue this more. We'll see.

Cleaning the home: Excellent. I use castile soap, baking soda and vinegar to clean the house. That's it, and it's great. Baking soda and vinegar are excellent at clearing plugged drains, too, and no scary fuming chemicals. Love that.

Dishes: I've read many accounts of castile soap leaving a film on the dishes. I haven't even tried it.

Laundry: My absolute favorite use. I got a recipe (there are many) online for laundry detergent using castile soap, baking soda, washing soda and vinegar. I have used nothing but for weeks now. It cleans at least as well as the store bought laundry detergent (to my surprise!) and it's easy to make. It reduces cost and plastic containers. I reuse a coffee can (plastic) to make and store it. 

Castile soap is completely biodegradable, safe, natural, the works. You can use it on babies! I love it. As I said, I don't love it for everything, but I use it for a lot of things, and feel good about it. 

Green Efforts

I have started this blog to give myself a place to record my "green" efforts. It helps me to keep track of what works and doesn't work for me and the fam, and may give some others some ideas to try. I have always wanted to been more gentle to the earth and to myself, but really started to focus on it when I had my first child. Anyhow, blah de blah, here goes nuthin'