Posts tagged saving

Something More than Pumpkin Pie

This is the time of year for Winter Squash and that old seasonal favorite, Pumpkins. We all have leftover Pumpkin, mostly from the Halloween carvings but also from tabletop decorations of fresh Squash and Gourds that are not eaten. My next post will be on crafts you can make with fresh Gourds. Today we are going to tackle the leftover Pumpkin. Although everyone is familiar with the use of leftover Pumpkin in pies and for the roasted seeds, there just aren’t a lot of tasty recipes for that leftover Pumpkin that everyone in the family will eat. So I thought I’d tackle some great ideas for recipes using that leftover Pumpkin and make sure to toss in something for everyone. I promise you these recipes will give you something more than the same old Pumpkin Pie..

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Easy Ways to Cut Energy Costs

I was not surprised by the fact that the average American family spends more than $1600 a year on utility bills. I know that seems surprising but I know what I pay and when you average it out, this amount seems average for us. This adds up to about $133 a month on average and we actually spend a lot more than that in the summer. I’m sure the same is true for a northern household in the winter. So $1600 does not seem extravagent and yet it is! Do you realize that the electricity generated to power a single family home creates more carbon than two average sized cars?! This, I must admit, I do find surprising and very disheartening. How on earth can we bring this number down? It’s not like we’re overdoing it, at least by our standard of daily life. So what can we do to change these numbers, to save carbon and money? And do these things have to make daily life difficult?

I think there are some easy solutions that can help us reduce this consumption however, I do not think anything is easy when it is not a part of a daily routine. I, just like everyone, has adjusted a routine that allows for just so many tasks a day within the framework of the demands made upon my time. I hate it when I have to stop something, change something, move something and, in the process, disrupt the efficiency of my routines. But, none the less, I do beleive the effort is worth it and I have been trying harder. Here are some of those steps you can take if you are willing to make small changes to your daily routines.

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Save Money and Live Better

I have been living below the poverty line for years. I haven’t worked a day job in a very long time. I do work on the internet and make money there but the amount is far less (at this time) than one would make at a 9-5 job. However, I do not live in a tent, I actually live in a nice townhouse with my sister and elderly father. But I must admit that we don’t buy new stuff all the time, we recycle everything, we are not consumed with having the “next big thing” and use “cheezy old stuff” as much as possible, stuff everyone else throws out but works fine.

There is a sanity in what most Americans consider crazy. The idea that we must have shiny, new and expensive is a really bad idea that has driven our culture to the edge of sustainability. And why are you driving yourself to an early grave chasing more and more money when what you already have can save you lots of money and, better yet, what your foolish neighbor tosses out can benefit your life for free! In fact, I know several people who make their entire living on what other folks throw out. And, no, I don’t spend hours every day refinishing, reburshing or repairing… I am not any more handy than you.

So how do we live in a nice home and manage to feed ourselves every month? For one thing, there are a huge number of things you can do every day to save money and retain a pleasant lifestyle that allows for free time and fun. You have to learn how to stretch your money and make it work for you every day. This does not only entail budgeting and controlling expenses, it requires a change of mindset. You cannot continue to look at used items, refurbished items, things you can get for free, etc… as junk. All of it is just as useful as new stuff if it works fine. We are a consume and toss society and that is simply not working for us, it’s driving us into the poor house and wrecking the planet, to boot. So perhaps it’s time to reign it in.

If you are ready to give it a try and make the big leap to changing your way of thinking, then here are some suggestions I would like to make. These are some things that you can slowly integrate into your lifestyle to start loosening that stranglehold that material consumption has got you into. So take a deep breath and relax. It’s time to live for more than just money.

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Today is World Ocean’s Day!

From The Ocean Project:

The world’s oceans cover more than 70% of our planet’s surface and the rich web of life they support is the result of hundreds of millions of years of evolution. Nomadic peoples were collecting shellfish and harvesting fish long before the dawn of settled agriculture. Great human civilizations, from the Egyptians to the Polynesians relied on the sea for commerce and transport, and now, at the end of the Twentieth Century, our fate is as tied to the oceans as ever. We still rely on fish for a significant portion of our daily protein needs, and more than $500 billion of the world’s economy is tied to ocean-based industries such as coastal tourism and shipping. Perhaps most important, this vast mass of water acts to help regulate the global climate and to ensure that a constant flow of vital nutrients is cycled throughout the biosphere.

But all is not well in the sea. Increased pressures from overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution and the introduction of invasive alien species have combined in recent decades to threaten the diversity of life in estuaries, coastal waters and oceans. Now a new threat, global warming, is making itself felt, and its impacts could be devastating for life in the sea.

There can be no doubt that our world is getting warmer. 1998 was the hottest year since accurate records began in the 1840s, and ten of the hottest years have occurred during the last 15 years. By examining growth rings from trees and ice cores drilled in Antarctica, scientists have determined that the past decade was the warmest in more than four centuries, and that the current rate of warming is probably unprecedented in at least 10,000 years. In 1992, the more than 2500 scientists comprising the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that the warming is caused at least in part by emissions of greenhouse gases from fossil fuel use. As the world warms, the outlook for marine wildlife looks bleak unless we can turn down the heat by reducing concentrations of the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, in the atmosphere.

The startling changes already beginning to affect marine life may turn out to be merely the tip of iceberg. Global warming is predicted to worsen rapidly, with average annual temperatures expected to increase by about 3 degrees C by the middle of the next century. Changes of this speed and magnitude could set off a chain reaction in marine ecosystems with truly appalling consequences for life in the sea and for human communities that depend on it. However, if we act now to reduce carbon pollution from the dirtiest power stations and from vehicle exhausts, we stand a good chance of slowing the warming and helping to save a healthy ocean for future generations.

To read more about this serious issue, go to: The Facts .

To sign a petition for the U.N. to designate this day, June 8, as World Oceans Day worldwide go HERE .


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The Scoop on CFL Bulbs

Why Switch to Compact Fluorescents?

Photo courtesy of What’s Toxic

I am sure you have heard of CFLs, that you should be using them, that you should avoid them, etc… with the argument still raging on both sides. Environmental groups have been encouraging people to switch from their current old fashioned light bulb to the new Compact Fluorescent Bulbs. The country of Australia has mandated that incandescents be phased out completely and, here in the US, California is considering similar legislation.

At the same time, you have been hearing that they are hazardous and require special handing, especially if they break. They have to be recycled in a specific way, not just tossed in the trash, making them seem formidable and problematic. But do their benefits outweigh the risks? And are the risks a genuine concern? Let’s give them a good look today and decide for ourselves.

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Fluffy and Fido Go Green

A lot of the stuff you use on your pet, from food to flea dips, are toxic and bad not only for the furry friends but for the planet too. Here are some quick suggestions for changes you can make that will be good for you, the kids, the pets and the planet.

Natural First Aid

For smaller accidents like cuts, scrapes, minor burns, you do not need to use OTC meds. For most of these, a simple application of fresh Aloe Vera will take care of the problem. Instead of meds for vomiting, try using Activated Charcoal. For hairballs or constipation, give organic vegetable oil. For fleas, try washing the animal with the following rinse: Pour 2 packed cups of fresh Peppermint, Rosemary or Pennyroyal into a large pot. Pour over with 1 cup of boiling water. Allow to steep like tea. As the water cools and the tea steeps, it will start to smell very strongly. Once it is dark and strong smelling, strain out the herbs. Then mix the remaining liquid with 4 full quarts of lukewarm water. Make sure this is tepid in temperature, safe to use on your pet. And then wash and rinse and do this once a week if necessary to keep the bugs off. Another flea and tick shampoo idea: Pour 2 ounces of natural liquid soap into a squeeze bottle. This can be any natural castile or glycerin soap that is non toxic and chemical free. Blend the soap with 5 drops of oil of citronella (buy the pure organic kind, not the stuff they sell in bargain bins), 5 drops of Organic Rose Geranium Essential Oil and 5 drops of Organic Lavender Essential Oil. Shake it up really good and then wash the pup or kitty with it. Dry off well and repeat every week.

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How to Green Spring Cleaning 2009

It’s that time of year again! Time to crawl out of the heated house into the sunlight of the natural world and start tending the garden and cleaning up the home. I always loved spring cleaning when I lived alone because it was so easy! But now that I have a house full and I’m the “house spouse” of the crowd, it is a lot more work. So I have a method of working through it while thinking about the planet at the same time, a sort of “ritual” that makes it all happen faster. I thought I’d share that method along with some great ideas that can be modified to suit your individual situations. And hopefully this will help your spring cleaning go green.

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Green Your Home FAST!

Everybody is looking for ways to save the planet and save money, too. It is the primary goal of all of us today in this cold economy with a fast warming planet. Some folks seem exasperated with it all, saying that going green is a luxury and right now, we have to be economical. But someone needs to explain conservation to these folk. Conservation IS saving. Saving money and saving the earth.

You should be conserving in every way possible every single day. It will lighten the load on your wallet, make your life simpler and help the gasping environment at the same time. You should be thinking in this mode every day, all day. How can I save this? How can I stop losing that? How can I simplify my needs? How can I save money? We cannot afford to slip backwards one time in this effort, as it can cost us that last dime and push us closer to bankruptcy while adding another pile of trouble on our world at large. When you think about it, you will realize that what has happened to America then began to happen all over the world. As a rich country, a superpower in the world arena, we control the destiny of billions. Including many countries we will never visit and many others we don’t even know the names of.

So it is very important that we get it together, for ourselves, for the world and even more so, for our children and their future. But that does not mean it has to be a loss or a sacrifice. In fact, we have sacrificed more in the past, chasing money and working like dogs, than we will in the simpler, kinder future. And some of the solutions to our most pressing problems are readily in hand today. And, best of all, they just don’t cost a lot while they will save us tons of money and trouble in the future.

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Residential Wind Turbines

Imagine this! Wind turbines you can just set up behind your house and have it run your electricity… all for free… or for, at least, only the initial cost of buying one and installing it. That would be wonderful, no? You would not have to wait for your city or county or state to figure it out and make it available; you would not have to cowtow to your neighbor in the hopes of getting a go ahead on a community project; you could just act on your own. Sounds very Democratic and American, doesn’t it?

Well, it seems that nowadays there are more and more options for those of you who do want a small wind turbine out in the yard or on your roof. These items admittedly range from the standard to the bizarre, and come in sizes that varying from powering several major appliances in your home all the way up to your whole house and beyond! There are all wonderful options for those of us who want to run out ahead of the pack and go green sooner than later.

Did you know that, in the right conditions, wind power can be much more economical than other renewable energy options such as solar or geothermal? In design and feasibility, traditional propeller-type wind turbines remain the best options for residential settings outside of urban areas. They are efficient and time-tested, and the leading manufacturers of these turbines have been at it for a long time.

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Plants Fight Global Warming

Those of us who love plants have always known they are vital to the planet. I mean, who could think they were useless? They have always absorbed carbon dioxide, created a home and food for animals and birds, as well as just making our environment more enjoyable and beautiful. Who hasn’t been grateful for the graceful tree when looking for shade on a hot, summers day?

But, according to scientists, plants have never been as important to the environment as right now because they are vital to reduce the impact of global warming. This has been recently reported by the BBC in an article about Professor Stephen Hopper, who is the director of Royal Botanic Gardens in London, England.

Professor Hopper was quoted as saying, “We believe that at no other point in history have plants been so important to people,” adding that plants “have importance as carbon sinks in a time of climate change.” As we all have always known, plants are vital to the air quality and environment and haven’t we always been told to grow houseplants to improve indoor air? According to Mr. Hopper, they are vital to reducing the impact of climate change and “vast numbers of humans” need them for medicine and food. In other words, we need to take care of plants!

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