Archive for the Livin' Green Category

Official Update on the “No Poo” Situation

Posted in Livin' Green, Updates with tags , , , , , on July 20, 2009 by Kate

Ok. . .I have to confess, my baking soda/apple cider vineger shampooing method isn’t working out so well.  It works wonderfully for about 5 days, then my hair  feels gross, so I give in and shampoo.  I am almost all out of shampoo, and am in need of a better option.  A friend suggested trying Dr. Bronners liquid soap.  So I went out and bought the peppermint scent.  I cannot stand the smell, and I seem to be allergic to it, as I broke out in all kinds of hives.  Also it makes my hair feel even more gross than the baking soda/ACV.  Only I could be allergic to something so natural.  Ah well, I am open to any suggestions, help??? On the plus side I have been shampooing much less often, every 4-5 days.  Grr.  .  . I am still using the Dr. Bronners for cleaning and such, but I can’t use it on my body or my hair.  Now what?

On a much more positive note, the baking soda as deodorant is working beautifully.  Really, I will never ever ever ever use anything else. . .


Buy Nothing Challange 2009

Posted in Livin' Green, Saving Dough with tags , , on July 18, 2009 by Kate

Deanna from Crunchy Chicken has just announced a new Buy Nothing Challenge for August 2009, I just signed up.  If you are interested just head on over to her site and sign up too.  I know that I need to to reign in my spending a bit, and it’s better for our wallets and the Earth to not buy a bunch of new stuff.  I encourage every one to sign up, it will be interesting to see how we all do!  So click on the little banner below and go sign up. . . go now.

Buy Nothing Challenge - August 2009

UPDATE: Scott has informed me that he is “in” as well.

The cost of “Green”

Posted in Livin' Green, Random Rants, Saving Dough with tags , , , on July 13, 2009 by Kate

Two instances this week people have made comments to me about the cost of green products.  Instant one was when I was with my good friend as she was showing me her garden and we were talking about soap nuts.  I was of course complaining that no local business sold them.  At this point I feel I should let you all know that we live in Wisconsin, and not Madison, so we don’t have many places to buy this type of product (we’re a little slow on the whole green thing here.)  I then told her about a new local boutique that was geared towards “going green” (which does not carry soap nuts by the way, and the guy just looked at me funny when I asked) and how everything cost so much.  Natural deodorant for $8.99 , really? My baking soda works just beautifully thanks.  Anyway, she then made the comment that it was a “rich hippie” store.  Yeah, it kinda is.

The next comment was made during my son’s 5th birthday party by my mother.  Amongst his presents from me were two books made out of recycled paper and paper from sustainable forests and printed with vegetable inks, she managed to catch a glimpse at the price on the back of one of them and said, “slap a ‘green’ label on something and you can charge twice as much.”  Well yeah, sometimes.

Part of the point of this blog Scott and I started was to show that you don’t need to break the bank to go green.  There are plenty of things you can do to help the Earth (and yourself) without spending a ton of money on new green products. . .in fact, we save money.   If you can afford all of that stuff, buying organic/sustainable clothing, cleaning products, toothbrushes, deodorant, and so on, well good for you.  Unfortunately not all of us have that kind of money.  Fortunately there are many alternatives to buying these products that are also better for the Earth.  That is what we hope to bring to you, and ourselves, and that is all I have to say.  Thank you, thank you very much. . . I think I may be just a little too tired.

Soap Nuts. . .Where have you been all my life?

Posted in Cutting Out the Chemicals, Livin' Green, Saving Dough with tags , , , , on July 9, 2009 by Kate

I am so in love with soap nuts.  Seriously.  I got several trial size bags to start me off, I was initially planning on giving them to a few friends so we could all try them together, but I liked them so much I kept them all to myself and have been using them for the last month to do my laundry with.   I love them.  I have weird allergies to things randomly and have always had to be careful with laundry detergents, lotions, make up, and so on, I never really know what something is going to effect my skin.  I previously used Tide Free, but even though it is fragrance free and dye free it is still full of chemicals.  Then I heard about soap nuts.  A completely natural, sustainable, and apparently effective detergent. . .can it be so? I was a little skeptical, but still curious enough that I purchased the sample packs.  I didn’t do any fancy liquid or powder making.  I just threw the little bag with the soap nuts in the washer with my clothes. . . and Voila! my clothes came out clean looking, feeling, and smelling.   They clean my little grub-ball child’s clothes as well, and he gets pretty grubby during the course of a day.  I haven’t had a problem, and I never pre-treat anything.  Well since I have had such good results I decided to order more.  I ended up getting a 16 oz bag from NaturOli and 3 extra bags so I can force some friends to try them.   Yesterday I made up three little “sample packs” to give to my friends as well as some directions, and am patiently waiting to hear back.  As long as you buy a large enough package of the soap nuts they are a much better deal than commercial laundry detergent, at least the Tide that I was using, of course if you buy the small packages and trial sizes, it is not so much of a great deal, but really that is common sense.  I am really trying to get friends to fall in love so we can get together and order them in bulk.  You know. . .to save more money.

Scott’s Rant Part 1

Posted in Livin' Green, Random Rants with tags , , , , on June 30, 2009 by scottski74

Is it really that hard for some people to understand that we need to change our thinking on the way we do things.  I know there are pessimists out there that think all this going green stuff doesn’t matter.  I know that there are people that don’t believe in global warming…. I have my own questions myself.  But to think that the way things are is just fine, I can’t understand.  To think the little things I’m trying to do won’t make a difference, I won’t believe.

Sorry, but I just had a conversation (if you can call it that) with a friend that thinks I’m stupid for not wanting to use paper plates any more.  He said, “How can a little thing like that change anything?”  I was so upset that he couldn’t see the value in using and washing old plates for when we go camping or even when company comes over.  Now I admit that I hate to wash them (I use cold water for all my washing now) and it can be a pain,  and I concede that it is a job for someone to make those paper plates.  But paper plates are  a part of our wasteful, lazy, not-thinking-about-what-we-throw-away style.  According to most statistic sites that I have seen, we throw away enough paper to fuel 50 million homes for 20 years.  Who recycles those paper plates?  Most of the time we just through them in the garbage.

Really people, the little things we chose to do can make a difference!  Make a stand.  If people think you are a green freak, let them!  We can make a difference, it just takes people to see we care about how we live and things will change.  And to those people that think nothing we are doing will make a difference, I feel sorry for you (cause we save money this way).

Why I Buy Used

Posted in Livin' Green, Saving Dough with tags , , , on June 24, 2009 by Kate

I am a regular thrift store shopper and rummage sale-er, and have been since I was in high school.  Back then it was “cool” to buy old clothes, the weirder the better, now it just makes sense.  It makes sense for my two favorite reasons:  It costs less money, and it’s “green.”  I buy almost all of my clothes at thrift shops for a fraction of the cost of buying new.  I also donate clothes that I no longer wear or need.  I do a lot of shopping at thrift stores that support our local social services agencies, two birds – one stone.  When people ask wear I got some article of clothing and I respond that I got it used there is sometimes a strange reaction.  Like buying used clothes is somehow dirty. . . come on people, they’re clothes. . . its not like I’ll be eating them.  Everything I am wearing today is used, except for my sandals, however I do buy used shoes on occasion.  Not buying everything new saves on production costs ($$ and precious resources), saves me money, and keeps things out of landfills.  There really is no downside to it.  In fact you can find things free from sites like Freecycle and Craigslist.  It is such an easy thing to do, an easy step to take on my path to a greener, cleaner, and cheaper lifestyle.  I am committing myself to taking my buying used up a level and do my best to not buy anything new.  I’ll keep you all posted on how this goes.

Kate’s Take on the Plastic Bottle Situation

Posted in Livin' Green, Repurposing, Saving Dough with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 21, 2009 by Kate

After reading Scott’s post on soda and water in plastic bottles I just had to put my own two cents in.  First of all Scott is absolutely right.  Buying individual bottles of soda, water, or juice is ridiculously expensive.  HUGE waste of money.  For example, at the local convenience store near me a 20 oz bottle of Diet Pepsi (yes, I’m a soda drinker too, baby steps people) cost $1.39 and a 2 Liter bottle of Diet Pepsi cost $1.17.  So as in most situations, buying in bulk saves you money.  I was under the impression that it was better for us and the environment if we drank out of aluminum.  However now I’ve been hearing that the plastic lining in aluminum cans and aluminum bottles may also contain the evil BPA that can leach into our beverages.  SIGG‘s plastic lining in their popular aluminum bottles appears to be safe.  I have a plastic water bottle that claims to be BPA free made by Thermos. I love it, it is the most functional water bottle I have ever owned.  No unscrewing, or pulling up anything, I simply push the little white button with my thumb.  One handed water bottle!!  Unfortunately it is made from plastic, which we all know takes more resources to create, but I already have it so it would be incredibly wasteful to throw it away.  I wish I would have heard about Kleen Kanteen before I purchased my mean green water bottle.  Kleen Kanteen is made from stainless steel, and has no plastic lining.   (Don’t tell him, but my little one is getting a Kleen Kanteen as part of his birthday present.) So far drinking out of stainless steel has yet to be discovered as something that  gives us cancer, or Alzheimer’s, or any other horrible disease. . .but hey, its early.  So what will I drink my water out of?  Instead of throwing away this perfectly good and supposedly BPA free.  I will continue to use this bottle until it wears out, then I will find a more Eco-friendly option.  Know what the best thing to drink out of is??? Glass.  You can even find cute glass bottles to carry around with you.  Honestly I don’t think I would trust my self with glass, but those of you who aren’t complete clutzes go for it.  As for drinking soda, I am trying to stop completely, but until I can actually quit completely, I will buy it in cans.  They are easier to recycle, better for the earth, and only possibly giving me Alzheimer’s.  One of my future changes to make will be to eliminate soda from my life, I just need to cut down before I take the plunge.  Today I am committing to no longer buying water, soda, or juice in plastic bottles! I can buy juice in glass, and until I can completely kick the habit, I will drink soda from aluminum cans.  As for all the Nalgene bottle I have collected over the years, you know. . . the BPA ones (I have 6), I have filled most of them most of the way up with water and froze them.  They are now reusable ice for my cooler.  Another is going to become a waterproof first aid kit for camping.  There are lots of other ideas to repurpose these old bottles, I really want to make one of those lanterns. . .   What did you do with all of your BPA bottles?

Update: My little one is now getting a Green Bottle for his birthday, as I couldn’t find a Kleen Kanteen in any of the little shops around here (I didn’t really want to order it online and pay shipping).  It is also all stainless steel and of course BPA free.