Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Coupons and Bubbles

I love a good deal. I started using coupons about a year ago and never looked back. I will admit that much of what can be bought with coupons isn't worth buying at all. But trust me, there are coupons for usable, healthful items if you know where to look. This month alone I used coupons for flour, olive oil, organic tomato paste, organic butter, canned beans, toothbrushes, natural cough drops and produce. That's not to say I haven't picked up a free can of Pringles here and there, but the point is that you can use coupons and still stock a reasonably healthy pantry.

In fact, I often use coupons to get things for free. I haven't paid for a toothbrush in who knows how long. Shampoo and conditioner, some of the last body care products I have yet to "green up" are often free as well. My local grocery store makes all coupons a dollar. When my Garnier Pure Clean Shampoo is on sale for a dollar, I take in my thirty cent coupon and BAM! Free shampoo.

Another common coupon freebie is hand soap.  We go through a LOT of hand soap. There are always muddy hands to be scrubbed, toy cars and engines to be "washed down" by my son, and ponies to be bathed by my daughter...the kid's bathroom dispenser always seems to be empty. And as stoked as I am to get hand soap for free, I can't help but feel that familiar twinge of guilt when I pick pocket over health and planet. For example, the last time I stocked up on hand soap, I got Soft Soap's Lavender & Chamomile. It ranks a 5 on the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Database meaning this particular product should be of moderate concern. But I was shocked to find out that it may have formaldehyde in it! The ingredient DMDM Hydantoin? Yeah. Usually contaminated with formaldehyde. Embalming fluid in my hand soap? I don't care if it was free! No thanks!

My son taking his cars to the "carwash"
So how do I buy a safe, natural product that won't break the bank? There are lots of lovely, chemical free hand soaps out there but at five dollars or more a bottle, they aren't exactly easy on the checking account. Luckily, there are lots of wonderful, like-minded bloggers out there, one of whom was experiencing exactly the same conundrum. Her solution is quite genius actually...make your own hand soap!

I don't need to rewrite her instructions here but I am so pleased with both the price and quality of my DIY hand soap. It was a little blobbier that I'm used to, even after I whipped it in my mixer, but it smells good and lathers well. One bar of natural soap (I used Shea Moisture's Organic Coconut and Hibiscus soap which was on sale and yes, I used a coupon!) made one gallon of hand soap. By combining a sale and a coupon, my $2.99 bar of organic soap will refill my soap dispensers many times over. Free? No. Cheap? Of course! Easier on my conscience? You betcha.

Thanks Robyn for your fantastic tutorial!

(This post is linked to the Green Resource. Visit every Thursday for great green tips!)


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Right Now

Right now, I am...

Smelling the potato soup on the stove and counting the hours until dinnertime.

Praying for my grandpa who has been in the hospital since Saturday.

Wishing all those people I requested updated addresses from would reply so I can get the Christmas cards in the mail.

Hoping the line at the post office isn't as bad as I think it will be. Note to self: bring bribes for J!

Debating on which cocktail to serve for Saturday's progressive dinner. Decisions, decisions!

Anticipating the first day of December so I can finally let the kids tear in to the advent calenders.

Worrying about my little kindergartener as she takes her first field trip without me.

Basking in the glow of the Christmas tree and the sparkle of the red wrapping paper my Mom used to wrap her gifts.

Trying to slow down and enjoy the magic of the season.

What are you up to these days?


Monday, November 28, 2011


The winner of Ani Daulter's Organic Family Cookbook is.....

Comment Number 10, Audrey!

Congratulations Audrey! I'll be contacting you soon with all the details. Happy Cooking!


Monday, November 21, 2011


My husband has been wanting a grow light for quite some time. In the few years that we have gardened, most of our plants came from starts we purchased at the nursery. This is fine and dandy but it can be expensive. Eventually, we would like to start our own seeds for transplants to cut down on costs and to have more variety in our garden.  In order to do this we need:

a)  an indoor space where a water or soil spill will  not be catastrophic
b) ample sun light
c) a protected area where children/pets can not destroy/eat/poop in the seedlings.

Unfortunatley for us, our biggest windows are smack dab in the middle of our carpeted living room. The thought of muddy little seedlings getting knocked on to the carpet as a wild child whizzes past is enough to make me want to scrap the garden all together. So, the next logical, out of the way place for seedlings is the guest room closet. I don't care about the carpet, the kids don't go in there,  and the little seedlings can grow undisturbed until they are ready to be transplanted.

So I googled grow light. Go ahead. Google "grow light." I'll wait. Go ahead. Open another window and do it. I don't know about you but "grow light for marajuana" was at the top of my search page. Great. So when I order a grow light I'm going to be on some list and the "the man" is going to think I'm growing Mary Jane in the sewing room when really I'm just trying to give my heirloom tomatoes a head start!
But I digress...

We did end up ordering a grow light. And after some closet reorganizing and a the removal of a useless organizational divider contraption, the closet in back bedroom will be glowing in no time. Let's just hope my kids don't slip up and let people know that Momma is growing stuff in the closet. Oy. The things I do for organic vegetables....

Don't forget to enter for a chance to win a copy of Ani Daulter's new cookbook The Organic Family Cookbook. There's only nine entries thus far....your chances are good!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Holiday Giveaway!

It's five o'clock or as I like to call it, "What the heck am I going to make for dinner" hour. I try to meal plan and am usually successful but there are weeks when I just don't get to it. And even when I do, staring at a blank calender, trying to figure out how NOT to have tacos for the 13th time this month can be overwhelming. I need fresh ideas; food that is wholesome, nourishing and inexpensive. We love tacos but something's gotta give!

Anni Daulter to the rescue again. You may remember a while back, Anni so graciously sent a copy of her book Ice Pop Joy for review. I was deeply impressed with all the good for you ingredients she managed to pack in to a popsicle so you can imagine my excitement when she sent me a copy of her newest publication, The Organic Family Cookbook. Not only is the book packed with delicious,family friendly recipes, Anni provides green living tips in the sidebars of its pages to guide you and your family toward a healthier, more involved relationship with your food and your community.

With Anni's help, our meal plans are looking a LOT more interesting. A couple of family favorites thus far are her Simple Quinoa with Peas and Corn ,Comforting Banana Nut Cinnamon French Toast and the Roasted Tomato Garden Tacos (See? I told you we love tacos!) And guess what? One of you has a chance to win your very own copy! It would make a great gift for someone you love or keep it for yourself and whip up a batch of Anni's Cinnamon Rolls for your holiday company.

All you have to do is leave me a comment telling me your family's favorite weeknight meal. Between your comments and Anni's cookbook, I hope to have lots of new dinner ideas!

A couple of things:

To enter, you MUST BE A FOLLOWER of Green's Going Green.

For an extra entry, post this giveway either to Facebook or to your own blog.

Comments will close on November 27th. Winner will be announced Monday, November 28th.

Good luck and happy eating!


This post is linked to Your Green Resource. Check it out every Thursday for great green living tips!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Restore and Repair

It is FINALLY cold enough here for quilts. Well....not really. But it's well under 100 degrees and I'll take what I can get. It is getting into the 40's at night though. The windows stay open all day to let that gloriously chilled air permeate through the house and I've been wearing cardigans while I go about my duties. But in the evenings when we settle in to read or watch yet another episode of Mad Men on Netflix (I'm in love with Joan Harris) the breeze proves to be a bit much for me and rather than close the windows, I snuggle under my most favorite quilt.

It is indeed a most special quilt. My great grandmother made it almost seventy years ago. It's not fancy; it was made to keep people warm, not to hang on a wall. It's a simple nine patch with crooked quilting and a hand sewn binding and I adore it. It's the perfect size and weight, and the seventy or so years of use have worn it buttery soft and snuggly. When the weather turns, it makes it's way from the linen closet to a more permanent spot on the back of the couch where it can pulled down for an impromptu reading session or a quick nap at a moments notice.

While my son and I were snuggling under said quilt the other day, I noticed his little toe thrust into a hole on the quilt top. I pulled it out, explaining that his toe would only make the hole bigger. He nodded and pulled the quilt over to expose another hole and wiggled his toe into it. "There Mama," he said. "I'll just use his hole instead."

Throughout its seventy year history, my well loved quilt is falling apart. The seams are separating, the thread is disintegrating, and snags are turning into holes. Though the "American" thing to do is to buy another, I feel there is simply no need. Yes, the quilt is sentimental to me but even if I would have bought it at a yard sale, it's still good and deserves to be saved. I cannot buy the softness and comfort this quilt possesses. And so, as unhappy as my son will be to lose his "toe warming holes" my poor quilt is in desperate need of repair if it to survive another season!

Most of the damage is on the seams of the nine patch. The thread has worn away to nothing and the cotton is thin and fraying. Eventually, I will have to patch it but for now I used no sew hem tape to close things up and keep wandering toes from making things worse. I also stitched a few of the smaller holes to keep  them from tearing further. Half an hour of work will hopefully keep my most favorite quilt in service for a few more years. Here's to hundreds more hours of snuggle time!


Sunday, November 13, 2011

But Daddy Said We Could!

Mud+Daddy's Permission=Good, simple, fun.
Hope you're all having a great weekend!


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dish Pan Hands

Like most of you, I wash an inordinate amount of dishes. My hands are in a sink full of soapy water at least three times a day, if not more. Combined with handwashing and the harsh desert air, my hands are looking mighty rough. My fingertips are sandpapery and my cuticles are embarassing. I keep a small bottle of lotion under the sink to slather on after each dunk in the drink, but it's just not doing it anymore. I have a full on case of (dun dun duuuuuun!) DISH PAN HANDS! EEEK!
While the ad above says I can solve my problems with Ivory Soap, I have a sneaking suspicion that probably won't work. So I broke out my fabulous new aqua pot and tried my hand at making my own moisturizing hand salve. It was easier than I imagined and everything in it is pure, natural and organic. Recipes like this are highly individualized. Use what you have or what you like. Here's how I made mine:

You will need...

-Four Tablespoons of beeswax grated (or pastilles)
-Two Tablespoons of organic raw shea butter
-Four Tablespoons of organic coconut oil
-Four Tablespoons of organic olive oil
-Organic Lavender Oil

Melt the wax and the butter on low heat. Just FYI...raw shea butter does NOT smell good. But don't worry! The yummy nutty coconut oil and lavender will cover it up!

Once melted, add the oil and stir until smooth. Remove from the heat and add 15 drops of lavender oil. Pour into tins to harden.

While the salve cools, label your lids. Because this is a natural product with zero preservatives it will not last as long as store bought lotions and creams. Typically, your salve will be good for six months. I wrote the date on the underside of the lid as reminder for myself and for those who receive these as gifts.

Once the salve is cooled and hardend it is ready to use. Mine is next to the sink, ready to combat my dish pan hands!

A couple of tips and tricks:

-This was my first go round with homemade salve. The smell of this particular recipe isn't what I hoped. It doesn't smell bad by any means, but the nuttiness of the coconut sort of overpowered the lavender. Next time I will add more lavender or use a different oil to get the scent I want.

-I really like the feel and consistency of this ratio. I scrape up a little of the hardened salve from the tin with my fingernail and rub it in. It's a little greasy at first but once it soaks in my hands are certainly happy. I think this would be great for dry, cracked feet as well. If you are looking for a softer salve, use less beeswax.

(This post is linked to the Green Resource. Check it out every Thursday for great green tips and ideas!)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Nifty and Thrifty

I needed a pot. Not a fancy pot. Just a pot. Something with which I can melt non-food substances for all the crafty thing I want to do but will probably never get to: candle making, lotions and creams, medicinals...stuff like that. You know what this means....thrift store shopping! Yeah! Who says you have to drop a wad of cash for the things you need? Buying used goods is not only economical, but it's a great way to keep things out of the landfill and keep our planet pristine.

This particular trip was quite a success...

-I found the perfect pot. It's just the right size and it's aqua. AQUA! I love aqua. And, that ridiculously fabulous color will keep my husband from accidentally mixing it up with our other cookware so we don't end up with beeswax in our rice and beans.

-A picture frame. Each year, I get my children's pictures made and make a collage for them to display in their rooms. J's collage frame fell victim to the energy of a three year old boy and needed replacing. I picked up a solid oak frame for a dollar that hopefully will stand up to my rambunctious ruffian better than it's plastic counterpart.

-Books. This year, I am starting a new Christmas tradition. I will wrap 24 Christmas themed books and place them in a basket under the tree. Each night in December, the children get to pick one, unwrap it and read it, sort of like an advent calender. Instead of buying all 24 books, I've been combing thrift store shelves for Christmas themed books.

Not sure why everything looks blue....let's just pretend I was trying to be artsy!

Have you picked up anything nifty and thrifty lately??