Friday, August 28, 2009

Green Renovate Friday

Man has it been busy around here I've gotten a few posts up this week but I haven't been able to do a lot of reading. Today is no different though I got up a little earlier so I'll be able to visit some of my favorite blogs. I can't wait till the kids go back to school.

Now lets talk Green Renovations. You've decided you want a new look, your going to redo your kitchen, bathroom or Whatever. Start by considering what you already have. Can it be remodeled with some paint or reused in a new quirky way? If your cabinets are still in good shape would just refacing them be ok? Are your appliances seriously outdated? These would be best to replace completely with the newer energy star appliances. Be creative, checkout yard sales and consignment stores for items to give your home a new look without buy more stuff.

If you do decide to gut your home then find a local Building Materials Reuse Association. They will help you tear apart your old stuff in a way that insures that it can be use again by someone else. It is also as you might have guessed a good place to start looking for building materials for your new look. There is even a website to help you find one near you. Check it out for your next remodel.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Shame on Me

I didn't something very environmentally unfriendly yesterday.
I'm so embarrassed.
My hubby was doing laundry on Monday but forgot to put the whites in the dryer. His white T-shirts were in there and he needed one for work. So I grabbed one out of the wash and through it into the dryer all by itself.

Oh the Shame of it all! The environmental horror!!!!!!

Hee Hee oh well nobody is perfect. I hate when I have to do things like that. I know it's such a waste to dry one shirt but he really needed it. What I really need to do is make sure I'm keeping up with the Laundry so we don't get anymore forgotten loads but like I said NOBODY is perfect.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Tomatoes Watermelon and..... Fungus ?!?

No more picture perfect round tastless Tomatoes for me! My tomatoes are ripe and OH So Juicy that they are putting those pretty supermarket tomatoes to shame.

I'm finally getting some watermelon this is the biggest one. There are a couple of tiny ones too. I hope they ripen before the weather gets too cold.

I'm getting a white powery fungus on my zuccini and my pumpkin plants

and the flowers keep falling off with out producing fruit.

According to I can use milk to help control the fungus by mixing one part milk to 9 parts water and spraying on the plants once a week. I did it this morning I'll let you know how it goes.

Find It Locally

I have been trying very hard to eat locally grown foods. I've even have a little container garden in the backyard to grow some of my own food. Eating locally grown food is not only more environmentally friendly, it's cheaper and healthier. The food doesn't need to travel as far to get to you. Sometimes its sold right on the farm or you can even pick your own and local Farmers Markets are a bounty of the freshest (except for home grown ;D ) fruits and veggies you could ask for.

I've have just the website to help you get started enjoying your local fruits and veggies. It's called Eat Well Guide. at Using keywords, city and state or zip code it can locate Local Farms, Farmers Markets, Community Supported Farms, Restaurants, Stores and Even Caterers that use locally grown foods. You can even use it to find Grass Raised Beef which is healthier then grain feed beef and more humanly raised and more environmentaly friendly. Thanks to this site I now know where to go here in Long Island to buy Local foods and I wish I had found it sooner because I love going to Farmers Markets.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Green Renovate Friday

Lets Talk the Bathroom.

Last week I mentioned the water limiting aerator as one way to help control the amount of water you consume. Lets continue in the water consumption area and finish off the bathroom.

Barry from An Explorer's View of Life ( a wonderful blog you should go check it out), left a comment last week about his low flow shower head. Did you know a that if you take a 10-minute shower you using a regular shower head then you are letting between 25 and 50 gallons of water head down the drain? Most normal high-flow shower heads use between 6 to 10 gpm. A low flow shower head have a flow of about 1.75 gpm and use 30 percent less water.

Now if you want to spend less money and still want to save water then try one of these:

This is an in line shower shutoff valve after you get yourself all wet you push the little button and it shuts the water off. Then you soap up, get all clean then push the little button to turn the water back on. These are great because there is no need to mess with the knobs while you have soap all over your face just one button to push.
Now of course the best water saving option would be to use a combination of both. Low flow to get wet turn it off when you soap up the low flow to rinse off, for Maximum water conservation.
Now onto the toilet. A regular toilet flushes about 3.5 gallons of water each time you hit the handle. There are several options when going for less water usage when you flush. If you upgrade to a water saving toilets you will only use about 1.6 gallons of water each time you flush saving a little more then half the normal water used. There is also the Dual Flush toilet which offers more or less water usage depending on... "ahem...." what you are doing. .8gal for liquid wastes and 1.6gal for the ....ummmm ..... poop.
There is also the low tech option for those who's situation warrants a less costly or less permanent option (like those who are renting their homes). Take a half gallon plastic milk jug or a clean brick and place it in the tank away from any moving parts. This will displace some of the water which will shut off the fill valve sooner helping you use less water.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Freezer Full Of Loaf Ends

If you look in my freezer right now you will find several bread bags ( I really should consolidate them) with the crusty end pieces in them. The kids stuff the bags in there after they have finished the rest of the loaf. (Yes I told them too) They don't like the end pieces and that's ok with me no one should have to eat something they don't like but I'm not going to waste perfectly good food.

So what do I do with them? I toss them into the oven after I have finished cooking dinner and turned the oven off. The residual heat drys out the bread so I can use it for other things. Mostly I grind them up to make bread crumbs instead of paying 2 or 3 dollars for a small box of crumbs. I also do this with bread that has gone stale. Though the stale bread has other uses too. (you can use the end pieces too but remember my kids don't like them )

Here are just a few ...

Croutons - Sauté stale bread cubes in olive oil with a little Parmesan cheese and garlic some very tasty croutons for your salad.

Soup - Use to top French Onion or other Soup then add the cheese and bake.

Bread Puddings

Feed The Birds

French Toast


Garlic Bread - mix up some olive oil and garlic and spread on stale bread and bake at 350 until just brown on the edges.

Use stale Hot Dog buns, Hamburger buns, bagels or English Muffins to make little Pizzas

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It's Already Started

As I flip through the newspaper this morning I noticed an article about Holiday spending. Then I remembered that just the other day I saw another article about the Holidays too. Now I'm assuming that they are talking about Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa that December trio of money gouging, advertisement blasting, debt creators. Yeah Go Ahead Call Me Scrooge.

How long before just after New Years the Holiday decorations just stay up and they start hocking more present ideas for next year. Give me a break!

I say go ahead start planning today and stick it to the greedy money grubbing companys by heading to your local library and check out some books on homemade gifts. It's time to take back the holidays. Make it more about the family you love then the overpriced gifts that advertisers try and convince you to give to "Prove" how much you love them.

Here is a few titles to get you started and if your Library don't have these they will have many others. You can also make a request to your Librarian to get the book you want.

Gifts With Heart: Inspiring Stories, Handmade Crafts and One-Of-A-Kind Ideas by Mary Beth Sammons

Food for Friends: Homemade Gifts for Every Season by Sally Pasley Vargas

The Perfect Basket: How to Make a Fabulous Gift Basket for Any Occasion by Diane Phillips

Great Gifts In a Jarby Ms Mimee

Tomato Blight

It appears here in Long Island we are in the grip of a tomato blight due to the massive amount of rain we have had this year. Its effecting large and small gardeners alike. Lucky for me it hasn't gotten a hold of my tomatoes yet but I'll have to keep an eye on them. Here is some information from the newspaper about Tomato Blight so you can keep an eye on your tomatoes too.

What to look for: White-mold encircled gray spots on leaves and gray or brown lesions on stems. Eventually the fruit exhibits dark, greasy-looking lesions (yuck) and the plants blacken, wilt and die. Since I don't have any (knock on wood) I looked around and found this picture on Illinois Fruit and Vegetable News Website. (click here) Itt

What to do: Affected plants must be tightly sealed in plastic bags and put in the trash. They should never be composted or allowed to linger on the ground.

Preventative: For organic gardens the paper suggests products with fixed copper but states it's the least effective against blight. for non organic it suggests looking for products that contain maneb, mancozeb or chlorothalonil.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Next Best Thing

I love the Library... you can go back through my post histories and find any number of comments on how much I love the Library. Where else can you get so much for free? Books, DVDs, CD, Magazines and the list goes on. If you are not using your local Library your paying too much!

But I know a place that is Second Best epically for an avid reader such as myself, and though you can't get CD's or Movies you can get books. Downloaded onto your computer or even your Palm Pilot or Smart Phone. Its Called Project Gutenberg.

You can download everything from Pride and Prejudice and Dracula to The History of the United States and Amusements in Mathematics. They have almost 30,000 free books to download for FREE according to their website plus another 70,000 through their partners and affiliates. Go check it out (click here) and don't forget to Book Mark it. I downloaded The Manual of Gardening by L. H. Bailey. Which has a couple sections I'm interested in... A small back yard and A city lot not to mention the Growing of Vegetables.

Happy Reading Everyone.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Green Renovate Friday

This weeks Green Renovate is going to be a simple and cheap way to help you save resources (and some cash). It's something that anyone can do in their home.

Add a Water Limiting Aerator to all your faucets. These cheap inexpensive devices restrict the water flow to as much as .5 gallons a minute but believe it or not you won't notice the difference and they are very inexpensive.
These are a couple that are sold on

This one restircts water to 1.5 gallons a minute and costs $0.99

This one restricts water to .5 gallons per minute and costs $3.47

By mixing air into the water as it flows this little up grade will stop gallons of water from pouring down your drain. You save money since you will be using less water and energy and help the environment at the same time in the same way using less.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Vegetable Container Garden Update

Ok time to post some more pictures of my Vegetable Container Garden. Here are how things are growing.

The tomatoes are growing well you can see plenty of the just waiting to ripen. You might notice I've intertwined the tomato plant into the fence for support. This helped to save money since I didn't have to build or buy a tomato cage.

The best growing plant is the Pumpkins. The funny thing is they aren't in a normal planter I had an empty storage bucket and just filled it with dirt. The only problem is there are plenty of flowers but no pumpkins. I think today after work I'm going to go out and hand pollinate them with a small paint brush.

The Watermelon is growing too slowly I don't think I'll get any good melons before it starts getting cold. I didn't have them in a spot that was getting enough sun. Something to remember for next year.
Remember that pepper plant I started last winter indoors .... Well it finally got a pepper. LOL

My zucchini is doing very well it looks nice and healthy and

look at the size of that zucchini. I think I'm going to have to dig up a good recipe for that one.

My broccoli isn't looking so well but it did start growing a couple more bunches.

Remember my Experiment... Well I'm marking it as a failure though I might try it again next year. The cherry tomato looks scraggly but it is still producing tomatoes. But the tomato plant that is hanging upside down hasn't produced any tomatoes.
Last a little money saving tip. If you don't know what a plant is don't buy it. I bought a "salad mix" six pack I saw when I was checking out the local garden store. I though how cool a mixed salad container garden. Even though I have used some of the lettuce there were three plants that I have no idea what they are. They are growing well but I haven't a clue what to do with them or when to harvest them. The two in the front are starting to get flower buds.

4 Day Work Week

Every now and then my Hubby will bring home a stray magazine. Usually something a co-worker has finished with and had an interesting article my Hubby wants to read. The other day he brought home a magazine called The Week. It's an interesting magazine with snippets of news usually a paragraph or two long with a few longer articles.
While I was checking it out I came across an article about Utah's State Government closing down on Fridays to save money. The workers work an extra 2 hours Monday - Thursday and have Friday off. The results.... 1.8 million in savings on their Electric bill, about 12,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide kept out of the air and a happier workforce.

What a wonderful idea! Give your employee less stress and more time with their families and save money ... Sounds good to me. Now granted this wouldn't work for every company. I don't think people would be to happy if you shut down the Mall. But parts of it could still work for everyone. If employers split their work force and gave half of them Friday off and Half of them Monday off they could still enjoy the benefits of a less stressed out, happier workforce. There would be less traffic twice a week which means safer roads and less carbon dioxide in the air. People would save money and use less gas.

Just a thought before I head out to work LOL.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Chicken Dreams

I want a chicken.... Not just any chicken I want a silkie Here are some pictures I borrowed:

Picture from

Picture From

I have actually wanted chickens for quite a while..... we're talking BC (before children). My hubby and I went to Colonial Williamsburg when they still had their heirloom animal lectures (now you have to pay for them separate). We talked to the lady taking care of the chickens for quite a while while watching the different breeds of chickens she kept. That's when I fell in love with the Silkies. These slightly odd looking birds with feathers so fine you would think it was fur.
You may wonder what brought all this up 13 years later.... while I was at the Library I was looking for a recipe book that has recipes from scratch. I'm looking for a good marshmallow recipe so the kids can make smores with out the blue dye that is in regular marshmallows. Anyway I happened across a book called Made From Scratch by Jenna Woginrich. I though perfect with out even opening it I checked it out and hustled home. Once home I realized my "recipe" book was actually a book about on women's journey into self sufficient living. In the very first chapter she talks about how she got chickens and the very first ones she chose to get were silkies. Ahhh I thought a kindred spirit. I read the book start to finish even the sad part where she had to put down one of her Angora Rabbits and I cried. It's one of the first books I've read in a long time that I want to add to my home library. It has a wonderful list of resources in the back including a couple for girls like me stuck in the city who want to be more self sufficient.
Now of course I have to go back to the Library to find that marshmallow recipe LOL!

Monday, August 10, 2009

5 Things To Do to Create A Backyard Wildlife Habitat

I joined the National Wildlife Federation a few months ago and they sent me a list of things you can do to create a wildlife habitat in you own backyard. I think its pretty good advice for anyone looking to help the environment so I'm going to pass them on to you.

1. Grow Native Plants: include trees, shrubs and other plants that offer food such as pollen, nectar, nuts, cones, berries and other seeds.

2. Provide water for Wildlife: with a small pond, birdbath or shallow dish... or care for a natural spring or stream on or near your habitat.

3. Create Protective Cover For Wildlife: Grow a meadow, prairie, densely branched shrubs and when appropriate, evergreens. Place hollow logs and rock piles in your yard.

4. Build Birdhouses and Other Places to Raise Young: attach to metal poles and monitor their use. Grow host plants for butterflys and moth caterpillars to eat and provide dense plantings to create safe areas for nesting wildlife.

5. Sustainable Gardening - For example: Use Mulch, compost, rain garden, and chemical-free fertilizer when needed.

When your done and want to tell your neighbors then (click here) to go to The National Wildlife Federations Website and get your backyard certified as a wildlife habitat.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Green Renovate

Stop Energy Draining Air Leaks and Drafts

This is probably one of the easiest ways to help make your home more environmentally friendly By fixing up drafty windows and other leaky spaces you can reduce your energy bill 5 to 30 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

You can do a general check for window drafts with a candle or incense stick by holding it up to each frame and watch to see if the flame or smoke waver. (Be sure to remove all curtains first to avoid a fire.) Use caulking, or weather-stripping to seal the cracks.

Check around pipe outlets and around the foundation for cracks and seal them. This is also a good way to help keep unwanted pests out of your home.

Check around outlet covers as well. we had one by our back door where you could actually feel the cold air creeping into the house in the winter.

Don't forget to block the draft at the bottom of doors you can buy a fancy "draft snake" or just roll up an old towel and put it at the bottom of your door.

Now if you want a more in depth check of your insulation the check the yellow pages for a company that will conduct an "energy audit". They can give you a written report detailing a home's problem areas and laying out cost-effective solutions with costs around $400. Which may sound expensive but think about that high energy bill and how much you can save each year.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Find An Alternative Route

You've heard all the ways to save gas... Everyone with a money saving or environmental blog has probably posted them Even I posted them Once (Click Here to Read Them) Though on that post I forgot to mention proper tire inflation but hey we are all not perfect.

Well now I'm going to add one to the list. Make sure you have at least One Alternative route to places you go frequently. Trust me on this one... Today as I was driving down the Meadow Brook Parkway to take the kids to summer camp I noticed that the other side was crawling at about 5 mph. I remember when Summer Camp started my Hubby mentioned another way to get home so I decided to take it.

There were plenty of traffic lights and the speed limit was only 35mph but it was definitely a faster way to go. I also avoided the head ache of the Dumb A**s driver who jam their car into any little space to get one car ahead. Since we've moved into a more populated area the ratio of DA Drivers has increased as well. Half the time they are the cause of the traffic becoming worse then it should be as they hit the on ramps, shoulders or stuff their car into a space making the guy they're cutting off have to stomp on his breaks to keep from hitting him. So being able to avoid such traffic jams saved me time, money and my good mood.

Use Google Maps to help you find your Alternatives without wasting Gas. I love how you can grab hold to the path and move it around.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I love a good contest don't you

No it's not one of my Crazy Green Contests..... Maybe later!

Head on over to Confessions of a Psychotic Housewife by Clicking Here or by typing in the web address:

Storm the Psychotic Housewife is having a fun contest and she is giving away some games to keep the kids (or yourself) busy. The games include BrainRush and Smatch

I can tell you from experience that Brain Rush is a lot of fun and has different challenge levels. I've never played S'Match so that is what I'm entering for LOL. I hope everyone has a great day.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Crazy Green Cheapskate Will Be Stopping By

Hi all I don't have much to talk about today so I'll be going around visiting all my favorite blogs and looking for some new ones to visit. If your stopping by today Thank You for coming please feel free to leave a Hello in the comments and If you want me to stop by your blog today then Go ahead and let me know. Have a great Day Everyone

Monday, August 3, 2009

Using Less Electricity Means More Green

I have been checking out a really interesting site this weekend. I am so in Green heaven.

The site is Lehmans
It has so much cool stuff I wish I could visit the store in Ohio. Want to go green and use less electricity check out their Hand Cranked items section. You can even get a butter churn that's right burn those calories before you eat them LOL and you have to check out the Two speed hand cranked mixer and old fashion juicer.
You can check out canning supplies and how to books, you can even get a wood burning cook stove. (make sure your planting trees to replace the ones you use)
Now I'm not saying go hog wild and buy buy buy (I wouldn't be a cheapskate then would I) But its a great place to get some ideas, maybe check out books that look interesting from the library. Now these are the kind of books I would actually buy because they are great to have around for reference but I always check them out from the library first so I know if it is something I'll find useful all the time or if it doesn't really apply to me. That way there is no cash lost and I get a book I can really use.

My First Dish From My Vegtable Container Garden

Here it is my first dish. Fried Eggplant

I wanted to do Baba Ghanoush which is an middle eastern dish. Kind of an eggplant dip. I've been having a little problem finding a recipe. You see there are two kinds of eggplants. Now I'm assuming the recipes are calling for the regular type of eggplant that looks like this:

I have Japanese Eggplant growing which looks like this.

You might notice that it is much thinner they the other eggplant. So that leaves me with the question how many of them should I use to equal one of the fatter eggplants. I'm thinking two which means I'll have to wait because only one of them was ready to be picked.

Anyway the Fried Eggplant was delicious. Here is what I did.

Take Eggplant and slice it into no more then 1/2 inch thick slices. Dip in egg and dredge through flour mixed with a little salt pepper and garlic powder. Fry in hot oil until tender.

I have to thank Shawie from A Grateful Heart for the idea. I hadn't considered frying it, but she mentioned it in her comment to me and it sounded tasty.