Thursday, January 21, 2010

I Asked and Nancy Answered

The lovely Nancy at Away We Go ( posted this yesterday which answered so many of my questions. Funny small world! So here is that post. Check out her site. It is a witty look at motherhood and she is a green mommy! :-)

Clean Green Recipes

You will notice that many of the ingredients for the following products are the same. These products were what people used to clean and disinfect before the industrial revolution. Your own Grandmother may have used some of these methods in her own home. These products are easy to make and use. They are very inexpensive, and harmless to children and pets.

Anti-Bacterial Spray- Add 20 drops of lavender or tea tree oil per every 2 cups water in a spray bottle. Spray areas and allow it to sit for a few minutes before wiping up.

Sink Scrub- Make a paste out of Baking Soda, a squirt of liquid soap, and a couple of drops of lavender or tea tree oil. Scrub and rinse.

Un-clogging a Sink- Pour 1 cup of Baking Soda down the drain, and then follow it with 3 cups of boiling water.

Rust Away for Tin or Aluminum- Use ½ of a potato dipped into salt, and scrub.

Copper and Brass Polish- Ketchup. Allow it to sit on the metal for a few minutes, and then rub with a soft cloth.

Silver Polish-white tooth paste

Oven Cleaner- Make a paste out of equal parts Baking Soda and liquid soap, and a little hot water. Scrub

Oven Clean-up for Fresh Stains- For liquid spills use salt. For greasy spills use baking soda.

Window Cleaner-Combine 3 TBSP. Vinagar to 2 cups Water in a spray bottle. Spray and wipe clean with news paper.

Furniture Polish-Combine 3parts Olive oil to 1 part Vinegar in a jar. Shake well before using. Massage into furniture using a soft cloth.

Carpet Stain Spray-Combine 1 cup Vinegar, 1 cup Water, and ½ cup Baking Soda in a spray bottle. Spray /Dry/Vacuum

Fresh Carpet Stains- Cover the stain with a heavy coating of salt. Allow it to absorb the stain and dry. Vacuum up.

Carpet Freshener- Sprinkle the carpet liberally with Baking Soda, then add a couple of drops of essential oil of choice. Allow it to sit for an hour or so, and then vacuum.

Mold and Mildew Cleaner-Add 2 tsp. Tea tree oil to 2 cups water. Can be used in a spray bottle or in a bucket.

Whitening Method for Laundry-Soak white overnight in a bath made of 1:10 parts white vinegar: water, rinse in clear water and then wash in machine.

Laundry Soap-Combine 2 cups of grated soap (Octagon) to 1 qt. of boiling water and stir until the soap is dissolve completely. Pour into a large bucket and then add 2 cups of Baking Soda and 2 cups of Borax. Stir well then add 2 gal. Of clean water. Stir, and then add to containers. Shake before using. Add ¼ c. to each small load of laundry. ½ c. per larger loads.

Fabric Softener- Add 1/4 c. White Vinegar and 3 drops of Lavendar oil to the final rinse.

Away We Go

Thanks, Nancy! You rock!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Gone Too Long

Lest you think that three weeks of green living swept us away, I've been out sick. And we are still recovering. I must say that I think a mother of a potty training two year old who has the flu (or flu-like mess) deserves a medal of valor. Or at least a Girl Scout style merit badge. Maybe I will start a Mother Scout troop so we can collect colorful and cool badges. But I digress.

As I said I have been away due to illness but we have continued our efforts in lessening our footprint. We've become concerned with our cleaning products. I know that there are many "green" lines out there but it's hard to distinguish between marketing and actual quality green products. So we have considered going old school -- vinegar and water, baking soda, bleach and water, etc. (I love the British show, "How Clean is Your House?" and they use a lot of homemade cleaners.)

Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Any green products out there worth our time and money? Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Working on It... Next Question

So thanks to everyone who has already followed me over here and started chiming in with advice. It is exactly what I had hoped for.

As to my dumping the Pull-up challenge, I am starting to investigate the cloth options for night but in the mean, I found these pods that go into the training pant.They supposedly help teach with a cold feeling -- I've seen no evidence of that -- but they are very absorbent and a useful tool for running around town and sleeping. I know that it is not a completely disposable-free option but it is certainly smaller than the pull-up so I think we are improving. Even if just a little?

So here's my next question. I want to start a little garden on my patio. Because I am in Texas, our winter weather is relatively mild most of the time (ignoring this bizarre Arctic push we are currently experiencing) so I've been told that I don't have to wait for Spring for hearty vegetables. Any suggestions? Are certain plants easier than others? I have read some on-line but I was hoping for real life experience. I am also curious if anyone has tried the herb garden in a box set and or the "As Seen On TV" hanging tomatoes?

So thanks again for coming round. Each week I will try to institute an improvement for our family and the environment. And my husband wants you to know that the fun stuff is coming soon.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

First Step

First, let me apologize in advance to those who you who are already well along the green path. While my husband and I have not been totally ignorant of the environment, we have mostly done the easiest things, e.g. taking recycling to our apartment complex's station and using cloth shopping bags more often than not.

What we have not done is use cloth diapers. I admit to being ignorant of the advances on this front and thus shunned the very idea. (Please, don't judge. I'm learning.) My daughter is potty training now. I have decided that not only are the disposable pull-ups not earth-friendly but also slowing her progress. So today I am stating that I am done buying pull-ups. So now I need help!!!!

I have cloth training pants for home but what do I do at night and when we go out? I have a few remaining pull-ups that I am saving for these times but what do I thereafter? I bought a couple of pairs of terry-lined rubber pants but they are very bulky. Any suggestions? I know that there are cloth diapers out there but I don't know where to start at this point. So I am counting on you, green mommies everywhere. Help me keep my pledge to be done with littering the earth with my daughter's accidents.

If you know of specific products, websites, whatever that will help, please share. I look forward to your insight. :-)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Welcome to Cold Comfort Living

We are a young, busy family who live in an apartment in the city, yet we want to lessen our footprint, lower our costs and get healthier. We also want to be in the outdoors more and in front of the tube less. In other words, we want to step back and get off the grid some and get back some control over our lives. We think that we may not be alone in this desire. But is it possible? What can we do realistically without moving to the country and starting a farm? That is what this blog is about.

As the Mom, I will try gardening on my patio, cook from recipes more, boxes less, and keep the budget in line. As the Dad, my husband will try products -- both for life in our apartment and for outdoor living. So if you know a product for camping or living more green, please share it. If you have a product that you want reviewed, let us know. Warning: we will be brutally honest.

We will blog about our attempts (and failings) at living more green, eating better, and overall enjoying life more without going broke. We want to make a dialogue. Help us learn. Learn from us. Let's grow together. Let's make 2010 the year that we all did just a little better.