The red, white, blue and GREEN for the 4th of July!

grn fireworks 2

This weekend is the mother of all “picnic times!” The 4th of July picnics, parties, cookouts and celebrations will go on all weekend!  (I know they will for us!)

But it can also be a time of excess, waste and lots and lots of traditions that aren’t green at all and it can leave you feeling a little blue!

So here is my list of things to keep in mind as you celebrate:

  • Cookouts – skip the charcoal & lighter fluid and go for propane grilling.  Even if you’re headed to a picnic area, you can prepare the grill items at home and bring them along.  Did you know that newspaper is a great insulator for any containers and will keep your hot foods incredibly hot!  (But remember to bring the newspaper home for recycling afterward!)
  • Food – choose fresh, locally-grown, organic produce and meats.  Whatever you can buy local, choose it!
  • Coolers – no cheapo Styrofoam coolers… they may be convenient but they don’t last long, and after buying a few Styrofoam versions you could have actually owned a “real one” that you can use again and again and again!
  • Dinnerware, flatware and serveware – if you’re at home (or even away), choose the reusables… just avoid4th ckout throwaway plastics and paper at all costs.  And if you are away from home scrape off the food scraps, bring home the reusables and wash ‘em!  You can even go crazy and choose some compostables!
  • Table covering – three words:  CLOTH, not plastic!
  • Containers – three more words: REUSABLES, not throwaways!
  • Beverages – whenever possible, mix up big batches of beverages (lemonade, iced tea) and have a large container of water, and use (or bring) the reusable glasses or tumblers (again, no Stryrofoam or plastic, pleeeeze!).  For those refreshing “adult beverages”, choose an organic and/or local brew and remember to…
  • RECYCLE! – it goes without saying… bottles, cans, cardboard & paperboard… have a recycling can or container ready to receive it all!

Happy 4th of July! Celebrate your freedom and exercise your right to choose “green”… and add it to the red, white and blue!

Got (more) rust? Think vinegar and lemon!

200369716-001Not long ago I shared my little trick for removing rust from metal (our daughter’s Razor scooter had taken the brunt of the cold and dampness in the garage over the winter)…

Now, more annoying rust came-a-callin’… on a piece of brand new clothing! (This is the part where I clenched my teeth and let a few “choice” words fly!)

Well, never fear.  When rust spots seem to pop up out of nowhere, you don’t need to add it to the batch of clothes that have been designated for ‘cleaning duty days’ and ‘yard work sessions’.  You can salvage it with a few simple items:  distilled white vinegar & salt or just a simple lemon.

Here’s how:vinegar

  • Saturate the rust stain with distilled white vinegar and pour on a generous amount of saltRub the salt into the stain…. OR….
  • Squeeze the juice from a lemon onto the stain (bottled juice works too).
  • For both options, the best ‘next step’ is to actually put the garment in the sun (Mother Nature will do her magic) until the garment has dried. If Mother Nature isn’t cooperating, no problem… just let it dry on its own.

lemonzYou might want to repeat the process for super stains but then just launder the garment as usual and VOILA!…

Guess what?… no more rust stains! And guess what else?  No chemicals needed! Fantastic…

Grab your gear & campout… June 25 is the day!

Gr Am Bkyrd Campout 11Have you heard about this weekend’s greatest camping spot on the planet?  Well, it just so happens that you won’t need to go far… it’s your own backyard!

This Saturday, June 25, is the Great American Backyard Campout!

The National Wildlife Federation created this day to encourage families to reconnect with nature and the outdoors, and remind us that we can manage life “with a little less”.  You can set up tents, cookout over a fire pit, explore your surroundings, play flashlight tag, star gaze and our kids’ ever-favorite… gorge on S’mores!  Shut down all the lights, computers and TVs in your house and even save a little electricity while you’re at it. (Indoor latrine, via flashlight, permitted of course!)camp at home

If you want to find out who’s camping nearby, or register your own outing, check out NWFs site for more information.

I think this is a great opportunity to join families all over the country in embracing everything the great outdoors has to offer… it’s free, it’s fun… it’s the perfect way to reconnect with our families and nature.  Now grab your sleeping bag and let’s campout!…

One fab (chemical-free) soft scrub recipe!

sft scrubWho doesn’t love a fabulous recipe?!?! This one isn’t even in jeopardy of getting rudely rejected by your family, because it’s not meant to please an appetite… it’s all about chemical-free cleaning.

I’ve shared recipes for a multi-purpose cleaner and a furniture polish so, now… how about when you need a little extra scrubbing action?  Would you be surprised to learn that the main ingredient is amazing baking soda?  Of course you aren’t… so let’s just get to the recipe:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups baking soda
  • ½ cup liquid castile soap
  • 5-10 drops essential oil
  • ¼ cup water

Just like with the other cleaners, the essential oil is… well… ESSENTIAL! My recommendations are always lemongrass or tea tree oil. Lemongrass is a natural anti-bacterial (yes, natural… not harsh like commercial anti-bacterials) and the tea tree oil has bking sda box2properties that are both anti-viral and anti-fungal.

DIRECTIONS? Well, those are easy.  Just mix them all together and use it anywhere you’d use a soft scrub cleaner.  Leftovers can be stored in a glass jar you’ve salvaged.  (I’ve also heard that you can add a few tablespoons of vegetable glycerin to act as a preservative.)

As always, you have a new recipe to try for chemical-free cleaning but… you know what that means… yep, it’s time to clean! (BLEH!)

Do I have animal magnetism?

dr fawnnTruly, I’m thinking the answer has to be “yes”.  And I’m not tooting my own horn… I’m literally talking about REAL wild animals…

I’ve written before about how we seem to have an unusually large population of animals in our yard and (I’m not kidding), it has gotten even more outrageous.  While I can sit on my back patio and gaze at downtown Cleveland, I also seem to be harboring a suburban animal sanctuary.r'coon babies

Want to know what’s been hanging out in our yard lately? Lemme give you the list … deer (including babies!), squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons, opossum, snakes, rabbits, hawks, a wild turkey, birds in general (galore!) and a red fox, for pete’s sake.

No one else seems to find these animals lingering in their yard… except me.  Want to know my theory?… as'nake natural, organic yard. No chemicals, no toxins, no poison polluting up our little sanctuary.

Do you think these animals know that? They have a keen sense of… oh… just about everything.  Hmmm, do you think they’re telling us something…?