Showing posts with label go green. Show all posts
Showing posts with label go green. Show all posts

Monday, March 5, 2012

I'm "Norwexing" Everywhere!

So since I became an independent consultant for Norwex, I decided I needed to really get to know all of their products better. I'm not going to tell someone something is great and that it works unless I have reliable testimonials about it first--and what better testimonial is there than one's own?

It's been a productive time for me over the last few weeks, and the Norwex products I got have been put to the test over and over again. So far they're coming out way ahead. Yay! With all the cleaning up (damage control?) I've been doing, you'd think that my hands would be trashed (or you would if you knew my issue with "housewife's eczema" after a day of heavy-duty cleaning). But my hands have never been better, especially for it being the dry, cold months here--I'm not missing those chemicals at all!

Anyway, I've gotten purple sharpie (permanent marker for those who don't already know) out of my cream sofa, cleaned up my 4 year old's "art" off my kitchen hutch, gotten the rust and other build-up off the shower that wouldn't come off with the other cleaners I'd tried, cleaned my friend's son's "art" off her cabinets and sofa and the scuff marks off her door. I did it all while laughing about how easy it was coming off. Usually after incidents like this, I'd be as horrified as the next parent over our kiddies' art projects around the house, but this gave me lots of before and after pictures. My only regret is that I didn't think to take pictures until after the first few tests. I think I'm going to need a camera with me at all times now. Haha!

 I cleaned this door off using the micro hand pads. It's like a magic eraser, only it doesn't dull your paint finish, doesn't cause burns on the skin and it didn't crumble at all while I was using it.

 This sofa took only a minute to clean off using a damp envirocloth. That's also what I used to clean off the purple sharpie on my sofa (I soooooo wish I'd thought to take pictures of that one too!).

 My 4 year old claims my one year old drew this....hmmmmmmm......not buying it! In any case, it took literally seconds to clean it off with the micro hand pad :)

 Yeah, I'm not proud of the way this shower looks. I'd tried other products like scrubbing bubbles, Clorox and things of that nature.
 I'm so embarrassed! At least I can say it was great for a before picture, right?
 I used the Norwex bathroom scrub mitt, cleaning paste and some descaler. The cleaning paste took off most of it, but the descaler took off the little bit that was left behind. It was awesome to see that rust disappear!

There are other products I've fallen in love with, but I'll talk about those later. You can find out more about these environmentally friendly products on my website here. I'm no where near done testing all the products out though. I'm actually looking forward to doing more of these tests. For once, cleaning has been almost fun! ;-)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Big Things Are Happening!

Many of you know I've been been exploring money-making opportunities over the last few years. I've also talked about ways to save money and "Go Green." I've been wanting to talk about my latest endeavor for weeks, but made myself wait to see how things panned out first. I tend to be skeptical (though I prefer the term "realistic") about a lot of things, especially when it comes to making money. I don't believe in "Get Rich Quick" schemes and I tend to believe that if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

Well, a few weeks ago a friend of mine invited me to a party. Actually, she invited me to 3 parties total. I really didn't want to go. It was a home sales type thing and I just don't get into that. I've tried Avon and ended up spending more than I made (that and I had a really hard time pushing the cosmetics because I felt like I was telling people they needed those products because they weren't attractive they way they looked now! Hah!) Anyway, I avoided things like pampered chef, tupperware, the jewelry parties and all of that. I felt that people could easily get by without these things and couldn't bring myself to convince them they needed them, though I do believe that many of these companies do make good products overall.

These parties I was trying to avoid were for Norwex. I finally went to one after my friend called me several times on the day of the 3rd party. I told her that even if I went, not to expect anything because I just don't get into things like this. She said that was fine, and just hoped I would come and see what it was all about. Well, I did, and it changed my mind in a big way!

Norwex is all about earth-friendly, chemical free and effective products. They have a micro-fiber cloth infused with micro-silver (which never launders out of the cloth) that does incredible things. I had to see it with my own eyes to believe it. It does these things using the cloth and water. I watched butter being wiped off a mirror and within seconds that mirror was more streak-free than anything I've ever seen using various cleaners and many paper towels. I watched it wipe up all trace of a raw chicken breast in seconds and it doesn't transfer that nastiness over when you take that same cloth and clean another area. Incredible!

Anyway, I don't want to sound like an infomercial. Needless to say I was impressed. I saw myself getting rid of my sanitizing cleaners, using much fewer paper towels and getting my cleaning done much faster with less headache. I also saw myself being able to talk about these products with friends without feeling like I was pushing something unnecessary on them. I felt so good about what I learned of this company, that a few weeks after that party, I signed up to be a consultant with them.

This is a great opportunity for those looking to make extra money to supplement lost income, or even to become their main income. It's not without effort though. You have to put yourself out there to be successful. You have to be comfortable talking with people, or at least seem like you're comfortable ;-)

Norwex talks about honesty and integrity in their core values--something that impressed me. They're generous to work for, they're generous to their party hostesses too! They also back up what they sell, which is a huge deal for me.

So how has this worked out for me? Well, so far I've done very well and am already coming out ahead in the expense/profit aspect. I've got several avenues I can explore to take this further and I'm getting more and more excited the more I use the products I'm now selling. Win-win!

If you want more information on Norwex and their products, feel free to check out my website:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Get rid of Garden Pests Naturally

I've never really considered myself an environmentalist, though I do believe in being responsible. What we do today affects future generations, so I do agree it is important to think about that when making decisions that have an effect on our planet. I try to balance being green without pushing our family decisions on our friends and neighbors.

Anyway, this year we faced a few pests during our gardening ventures. Some of them were recognized and returning foes (such as squash bugs), some were newly recognized problems (like aphids) and some were new and terrible surprises (more on that in a moment).

The squash bugs are my sworn enemy. They feast on the juices of my zucchini and pumpkin plants, while at the same time poisoning them. They mate constantly too, causing their numbers to explode if you don't catch them quickly. Last year was the first time we encountered them and I scrambled for a way to get rid of them.

I nearly went the pesticide route, but a combination of not really wanting that on my fruits and veggies and  also considering that one of our neighbors has bees made me change my mind. Instead I squished any bug I found immediately (and tried to ignore the pungent odor that filled the air afterwards) and destroyed the eggs I found on the undersides of the leaves. I think the presence of a garden snake might've helped to push things in our favor too. Keeping ahead of these bugs was tedious, but eventually, the balance was restored and only one of our plants wasn't able to recover.

This year I only found a few squash bugs and killed them immediately, so it wasn't a big deal. Unfortunately, the aphids took their place. I first found those nasty little aphids on our plum tree, which I treated with a mixture of Dawn, canola oil and water to kill the buggers. We saved the tree, but didn't get any fruit from it this year. Next year, we'll know what to look for and nip them in the bud sooner. The aphids caused the leaves to shrivel and curl, and when I uncurled the leaves I found dozens of them hiding there.

Then the aphids made their way to my zucchini. Yes, that squash seems to be a favorite among pests. I actually noticed some lady bugs hanging about, along with some damsel flies and lacewings, so I decided to see what would happen. Those beneficial bugs won out and I finally got to harvest some squash without so much as a single drop of pesticide. Turns out you can order these beneficial bugs on the internet or they may even be carried at your local greenhouse if you find that they're in short supply in your yard.

I feel good about the way we handled these pests because I know we haven't harmed any of our pollinating friends, especially the honeybee! This is no small thing considering the current plight we're facing with the vanishing bee population due to Colony Collapse Disorder. The current data points to pesticides (especially systemics) as a possible culprit, and yet despite the compelling evidence, many of these pesticides are still being used liberally. Well, not by our family :)

If you want to know more about this, we recently watched an excellent documentary on the subject called Vanishing of the Bees and they have a great website where you can find more about it.

And finally, there is the nasty surprise we got in our corn crop this year. I kept finding knocked over stalks and partially eaten cobs of corn littering the ground each morning when I went out to the garden. I couldn't figure out what was causing this problem, so I decided to research it. Turns out it was raccoons. So not only did we have to be careful of them getting into our chicken coop, but we also had to keep them out of our garden. We were able to get rid of them successfully, so I decided to write an article about it on HubPages: How to Keep Raccoons out of a Garden. Hopefully it will help others who encounter the same problem. I never knew raccoons could be so troublesome until this last year. At least we figured out how to handle it without too much trouble.

Well, I just thought I'd share what we learned this year. Hopefully it will help some of you out there facing the same pests!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Saving with Knowledge and Waste Less

Are there days when you go through your kitchen cabinets and refrigerator and just shake your head at all the food you're throwing out? What a waste! You're not alone. There is, however, something you can do about it, all by changing the way you store your foods.

I found this great site that gives information on what foods should be stored where. Some of this stuff I already knew, but I did learn a few things I didn't know, like the fact that potatoes give off a gas that ripen onions faster. And did you know that honey is one of the only foods that doesn't go bad? I knew it had a long shelf life, and that I could heat it when it starts to crystallize to get it running smooth again, but I had no idea I never have to throw it out. Cool! Where did I get this information? I found it in the article How to Keep Foods Fresh Longer. Be sure to check it out and learn how you can keep your food longer and waste less.

On another note, we've learned a lesson about our gardening. We found that the fluorescent light we bought, coupled with our warm closet where we ended up growing our garden seeds, worked very well--in fact, a little too well. I think we really should've held off planting some of the seeds until this weekend. Here's what I've learned:

Tomatoes and bell peppers should be started early, so the end of March or Early April, when you're planning on doing your outside planting in Mid-May is a good time to start those seeds.

Cucumbers, carrots, watermelon and Cantaloupe can all be started the end of March too, but they grow faster, so can even be done in mid-to-late April for mid-to-late May planting.

Peas grow fast! They are cold hardy and so can be planted directly in the ground as soon the soil is workable. Lettuce is also in this category. Because of this you can plant them directly in the ground, or if you're wanting to do starters, don't start them too early. A few weeks is plenty of time for the peas especially.

Corn, I've read, doesn't much like to be transplanted. We've done some starters for them (before we did all the research) and they did very well at first. But they're growing so fast that the roots are going outside of the containers. Also, they don't much like their roots to be wet, and it will cause them to rot, so you don't want to over water. It's best to just plant corn directly in the ground after the danger of frost has passed--which is mid-May here.

We've learned a lot in our first experience starting seeds. We'll do even better next year, I'm sure. I'm happy with what we've got so far though, and am excited to get our little plants out in the garden.

As for the compost, if you remember, I told you we were considering two landfills and the local sewer district. I did my homework before making the choice, and though the sewer district was much cheaper, I wasn't convinced of the safeness of using it in our vegetable garden. Expert opinions on this is mixed, but one common consensus I found was that vegetable plants where the roots are eaten (like carrots, radishes and potatoes for example) should not be planted in biosolids. Makes sense to me! If you're needing compost for your ornamentals though, you may want to consider biosolid compost as a less expensive option.

So we got our compost from the Bountiful Landfill for $30/truck load. It looks great! I'm impressed with the quality of it and have high hopes for our garden this year. I know I'll be grinning when I bypass the produce department at the grocery store! Haha!

Anyway, read up on your perishables and lessen your waste. And if you haven't already, think about doing your own garden this year. It's the perfect time to get things started. For tips and resources, go to my other garden articles.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Saving with Your Newspaper Subscription

Today's blog was inspired by this morning's events. I received the renewal notice for one of our newspaper subscriptions, and cringed when I realized I have another check to write--small though it may be. Some may ask why I don't just let the newspaper subscription go, especially considering I have two of them. I'll tell you why, it's because those two subscriptions (both with the Sunday papers) save me a lot of money on groceries, and consequently, more than pay for themselves.

I'm guessing, with my Sunday and groceries clues, you know how I save money with these papers: I clip the coupons. I save money on toilet paper, granola bars, cereal, diapers, wipes, toiletries, pet food, produce, etc. I have even, on several occasions, gotten coupons for free items (ranging from salad dressing, gum, cough drops, frozen shrimp--you get the idea).

Because of this, I can justify the expense of both subscriptions, but with hubby's pay cut, money is very tight. I decided to call my subscription service (MediaOne of Utah) to test what I'd heard about most companies being willing to give existing customers the promotional rate if they call in and ask for it. Turns out, it was no myth. I got one year for the price of six months, all because I asked if they could offer me a better deal! So now my newspaper is even more valuable to me.

My green readers may be wondering what I do with all those papers after I'm done reading and clipping out of them. No worries! I take them to my children's school, put them in the recycling dumpster and they get money for the school! So it's a win-win.

So if you haven't done this already, I suggest you do. If you currently have a subscription, call to see if you can get a better rate. If you don't currently have one, get one! If you aren't clipping coupons for items you're already buying, that's the same thing as throwing away your money.

If you're not in my area, then you can find your local newspaper, or whichever paper you're looking to subscribe to online. I found a site that offers discounted newspaper subscriptions, and it's backed by the Better Business Bureau. It's called Discounted

None of these things take much time. Calling to lower your rate is easy, subscribing is even easier. Clipping coupons isn't much work either. You can get a coupon organizer for cheap, or you can even keep them in an envelope or sandwich bag (I did this for years). And Newspaper recycling sites are everywhere. You can usually find them on school grounds or even in some store parking lots. If you don't know where one is, check out Earth911.

Do what you have to and lower that budget. Saving money is always a good thing, especially in this hard economy.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Be More Self-Sufficient

Let's face it, if you don't have something you need, the easiest thing to do is to get it from someone who has it. When it comes to food, most of us get what we need by buying it from the grocery store. There are definitely times when that is unavoidable, and it's one of the biggest expenses here at our house. Okay, so we can't stop going to the store for a lot of our needs, but we can cut a big chunk out of what we spend there by having to buy less. How do we do that? No, we're not planning on booting out any of our kids--haha. But we are planning a garden.

Even if you think space is an issue that would exclude your from this option, keep reading, there is usually a way around this.

In our area, the general rule of thumb is to not plant anything until after Mother's Day--about the middle of May. We use to go and buy all of our tomatoes, squash, watermelon, pumpkin, cucumbers, cantaloupe, peppers and everything else at the garden centers. They were already started for us, and we just took those leafy greens out of their pots and transplanted them in our prepared soil.

We'd tried the seeds before, but the birds got them all, and we never got so much as a baby carrot. Instead of putting our thinking caps on, we gave up on them and would drop about $80 or so on the starters.

This year, we're planning ahead. My hubby got the idea to start our seeds inside. We didn't even come close to spending $80--It was $20 at the most, and with the seeds in each pack, we'll have so many more starters to transplant than our previous seasons that it's laughable.

We've done our homework. We're going to start them next weekend, giving them close to two months before we plant them outside (lessening the risk of freezing). We've saved up our cardboard egg cartons, have potting soil, are getting some florescent light bulbs and setting up shop on a big work table in our garage. For information on lights for your seedlings, you can go here. From what we've read, windowsill light is not always enough.

We've been enriching our soil with grass clippings and manure (fun stuff). And will also be picking up any extra soil or compost we need at the local landfill (saving quite a bit).

Another way to save with coupons, receiving email and postal mail offers, and also get gardening tips is to sign up for Home Depot's Garden Club, or Lowe's Learn2Grow Garden Club. You can even sign up for both and get double the offers and tips. We also have signed up at our local nurseries for offers and email tips. Look in your area to take advantage of those avenues.

We've already planted strawberry, raspberry and boysenberry bushes last year--along with several fruit trees. While the fruit trees won't produce much this year, the fruit bushes should do pretty well.

Not everyone has a lot of space for gardening, and in those cases you can look into container gardening, or even a garden box in your yard. It's a lot of fun, tastes so much better than store bought and gives you sense of accomplishment you can't get by going to the grocer's produce department.

So if you haven't considered doing this before now, you're not too late. If I can do it, anyone can. I didn't grow up doing this, but I wish I had! If you end up growing more than you can possibly use, then you can move on the the next step for self-sufficiency and start canning your harvest!

Happy Growing!

*The links in this post are not advertising, but will take you to more information on the topics that are highlighted.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Let's cut some more dollars out of that budget

It seems I've constantly got money on the brain: or at least how to spend less of it. I've found ways to cut my groceries (, a way to cut my satellite bill ( and I even cut my phone and internet bill ( I then canceled our dairy service (some would say we should've done that first, but I really loved their milk--which is saying something since I'm not a big milk drinker to begin with), and I now spend half as much for our milk at the store.

Since my husband's hours aren't looking like they're picking up anytime soon, I'm looking for more ways to cut our spending. We just knocked our thermostat down to 66 degrees for our heating. We were at 68, which was already saving us money over last year's gas bill, even with the rate hike Questar was granted.

You won't catch me without my long sleeves, even in the house. Haha! But really, it hasn't been too bad. It's not a real noticeable difference, and when I cook (which I do a lot of to save money), that warms up things a bit. We also turned our water heater down, which means we're using less gas to heat our water. Now we just add less cold water while filling the bath or sink. That's going surprisingly well for us (even with a family of six).

We're also on the budget plan, so we pay the same amount monthly, but I see that we have a good amount still left in the reserve they set for us, so that amount should be going down shortly with our lessened usage. I'm excited to see how much it will go down when they do our review!

If you haven't signed up for the budget plan (also known as the equal payment plan) for your utilities, I recommend doing so. It makes it sting less in the times you use more, though that also means you pay more in the times you use less. The companies that offer this feature generally review your account periodically to make sure you're not being over or under charged. Having this feature makes it easier to make up your household budget too, since you know what you're going to be billed each month.

Anyway, we've also switched out more of our light bulbs for the energy efficient ones. Of course, we're also making sure that we're all turning off the lights when we're not using a room, or opening the shades on a bright day to help us to cut our electric costs too. While the initial cost for the bulbs is more than the standard ones, they last much longer and cost less to use. They also have the added bonus of being the more environmentally friendly choice. We've actually been switching them out gradually (as our old bulbs burn out), so that we don't pay so much to switch them all out at once.

Once the weather gets warmer, we're going to make sure we don't crank up the central air too much, resulting in a high bill. We plan to open our windows in the morning when it's cool, and in the evening. During the day, when it's hot, we'll have our windows closed, and the ceiling fans going. With this, I think we'll be able to keep our air set at 80-83 degrees without feeling too much of the heat. I'll also keep the ice water handy.

I've made my loads of laundry larger, using less energy to run fewer loads. I've also made sure to not run the dishwasher unless it's full. I'm finding I'm also using less detergent, fabric softener and rinse aid by doing this. This also means I'm running up and down the stairs less, since I'm doing laundry less frequently. I still have to do laundry daily though, living in a house with four kids!

All of these money saving ideas also happen to be green, so that's a plus. For more ideas on going green in your home and saving money, check out this article by ethoslogos: I think it's great that his ideas are not only good for the environment, but they're also good for your pocket book.

Well, I wish you all well in your endeavors to save money. Please feel free to share any of your tips here as well.