Posts tagged shopping

Flowers as Gifts: Going Beyond the Bouquet

Just about everybody loves flowers. Flowers are a beautiful gift from nature that smell great, look great and have come to represent love to most of us. They are the most popular gift in the world, given for the many events in our lives, from Mothers Day to birthdays to weddings and even at our funerals. They seem to be everywhere, popping out of the foilage around us, brightening the world whereever they are. We love to give a bit of that beauty to our loved ones when we can. But did you know that flowers are useful in gifts other than bouquets? That you don’t have to put them in vases to give them and there are a lot of ways you can give flowers as inexpensive gifts, even at Christmas. You don’t even have to know anything about flowers to take advantage.

As fall peeks around the corner, we start to see the summer blooms fading and falling in our yards. The grass is littered with slowly wilting bright colors and the last scent of the blooms lingers in the air. Why not capture this now and make gifts you can give later? Homemade food gifts like pickled flowers, flower honey or flower jellies and jams. Homemade beauty gifts like floral perfumes, toners or cleansing creams. Homemade floral soaps, potpourri or candles. Cards and stationary made with pressed flowers. All personalized and special, made by you. And you don’t have to be some creative genius to do these things because I have the recipes, the plans, the step by step instructions. All you need is to round up the dieing blooms you find in your yard and beyond. So get the basket and go picking!

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Natural Homemade Summer Skin Care

Not too long ago I wrote a post on sunscreens. I investigated their ingredients, the effectiveness of those ingredients and any known hazards presented by their use. You can read that post HERE . And, from that, you can decide whether sunscreens are for you and whether the benefits outweigh the risks in your situation. But there is a wide range of needs in the area of sun care for your skin, from the professional tanner who spends endless hours in the sun to the weekend tourist who is exposing tender white skin for the first time. I have been on both ends of this spectrum, living in Florida and growing up in the 1960s when every girl on TV was blond and tan. Even the English ladies had tans! So I wanted to be dark, blond and thin, of course.

Young girls have every reason to want a tan. It is considered a form of beauty in white culture and girls who are “too white” are laughed at. And although suntanning can be dangerous to the skin, especially if you have a history of cancer or a family history of skin cancer, most people do it anyways. So I want to offer some projects to make your own homemade skin products for suntanning that will be natural, sustainable, safe, non toxic and good for your skin. If you read my post on sunscreens, you will realize that most sun products are made of chemicals. Why expose yourself to that, as well as whatever danger and / or damage the sun might do to your skin. Here are my recipes:

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New Charitable Website and Monthly Contest

I just launched my new site, “Cheap and Charitable”. This is a charity blog/website and shopping portal. I want to kick it off by giving away a prize every month of the first year. A different prize will be given each month, starting in July. Julys’ prize is a cellphone. This is a Motorola L2 TriBand Unlocked GSM Cellphone. You can enter to win this until July 31st, at which time the prize changes. At any time, if you go to the same link you can enter the current month’s contest.

The purpose of cheap and charitable is three fold. One: to make people aware of the various issues that face our world today, issues like human trafficking and homeless vets, and give them ideas, motivation and links to help. Two: to offer lots of products at discount prices and at great value and include coupons. Three: to sell enough product through my partners to garner money for charity. That’s it.

If you wish to enter the contest you will have to answer three questions correctly.  The answers are on the front page of the site, in the text.  If you wish to visit the site to find and answer the questions, then follow the link below. Look for the widget in the sidebar that has the three questions for this month and once you have the answers, click on the link to enter. It’s that simple. Once you enter the contest you will be sent a link to your email each month for a chance to enter the next month’s contest. It doesn’t cost you a thing. Unless, of course, you take a look around Cheap and Charitable and decide to do some of your shopping there. Lots of needy people and animals would thank you!

So go here to find the questions:

CHEAP AND CHARITABLE

… and GOOD LUCK!


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The Dangers of Pet Food

Those of us who are pet owners love our pets a lot. In fact, most are like me and treat their pets like their kids, with great love, attention and care. And most of us are deeply involved in the feeding and care of our pets, from the flea meds we use on them to the food we feed them and the last thing we want is to poison or sicken our beloved critters. So this post is about just that, the foods you may be buying without thought or with just blind faith that may also be dangerous.

I am sure none of you have forgotten the pet food scare of two years ago where a lot of animals died from eating pet food made with a wheat gluten that had been treated with melamine. Melamine, a chemical used in fertilizers, is commonly added to food in China because it boosts the protein levels of the food and allows the manufacturer to charge more for it. They have no animal welfare laws in China and they still feed this stuff to their own pets, who have no protections and mostly live short lives, unfixed, hardly cared for, sick with any one of many common diseases. They have also had several recent scares with children being sick or dieing from melamine exposure in baby formulas. Here in America we may not be the most alert guard at the gate and our own regulatory laws are way too lax but we, at least, stop serving up poison once we recognize it as such.

My guess is you think the problem has stopped and there is nothing to fear in the foods you feed your pets. Well, I can admit that you probably won’t see any melamine any time soon, but there are plenty of other evil agents you must keep a wary eye open for. These are not all poisonous ingredients, some of them are just downright gross and unhealthy. Like dog or cat hair? Or bone from decomposing carcasses? How about human pain killers? Oh, yes. Be prepared to be surprised.

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Are Antibacterial Soaps Dangerous?

It seems like you can’t even buy a soap that isn’t “antibacterial” anymore and often that those soaps are cheaper than the others! Indeed, it seems like antibacterial soap is everywhere now, in everything from shampoo to bar soaps. The idea is that we are crawling with germs and this stuff will keep us from getting sick. However, being an old lady these days I remember a time before they invented this stuff and I don’t recall being sick all the time. So are they really an upgrade in our lifestyles or is this just overkill?

Well, according to doctors in hospitals all across the country there is growing concern over “antibiotic resistance” which is fast becoming more dangerous than the germs themselves. We have developed antibiotic resistant bacteria that are responsible for killer diseases like MRSA and flesh eating bacteria. The general consensus is that factory farming is to blame for this with the non stop treatment of farm animals to prevent infections. But there is also a concern over the use of antibacterial soaps and sprays. Our immune systems need to be exposed to germs in order to develop resistance to them.. and the current rage over antibacterial environments does not allow that to happen.

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Natural Halloween Treats

Halloween is all about costumes and candy. According to History.com, “Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.”

Hey, there is nothing funner than a costume party where someone reads everyone’s fortune.

So Halloween is actually one of those holidays that hasn’t strayed too far away from the original purpose, unlike Valentine’s Day and Christmas. But many of us would like to see our kids eating something other than tons of commercial candy with so much sugar and chemical additives. Although I do not suggest making candy and handing it out to the kids who come to the door (if you do this you risk serious scorn as well as suspicion). Kids are warned by authorities not to eat any candy that isn’t in a sealed commercial wrapper and this is due to the past poisonings of candy, including razor blades in apples. What a horrid way to ruin the possibilities of getting children to eat apples! So thanks to the creeps strike another victory for food factories. But such as it is, we can still make natural candies every day of the week and on Halloween and teach our own children to make and enjoy it. I threw together a few recipes that I thought my readers might like to try. You might be surprised.

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Are All Plastics Dangerous?

With all the grim news about plastics and plastic products, with much of this information already presented in my posts here on this blog, it brings to mind the question of whether there are safe plastics or not. Are all plastics poison? Or are there some that we can handle without fear? This question interested me so I thought I’d investigate.

Looking around on the web, I found quite a few articles about the dangerous chemicals in plastic and why plastic is dangerous to the human body. It took a little more digging and research to pull together a list of plastics and plastic products that are more benign. Here is what I discovered about both, in a handy, easy to reference, list:

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