Showing posts with label Simple Changes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Simple Changes. Show all posts

Abeego Food Wrap

Surely, by now, you've heard of the different forms of beeswax wraps for your food and other items. But, have you heard of Abeego? They have such cute designs and varieties and for a limited time they are offering a sample of their beeswax warps for free. It's a small size that will handle an avocado, half a lemon slice, or even a stack of crackers. I like to take the beeswax wrap and cut them into smaller squares and use them to wrap around our toothbrush heads, or cut them into strips and use them to coral pencils together, or silverware for a picnic. The possibilities are really endless with these beeswax wraps. The best part  about them, when they have reached their end of use lifecycle, you can add them to your compost, or use them as a makeshift lighting tool for a campfire or fire pit during a get together. You can use code (EVERYDAYECOABEEGO) to try the small size and then give feedback here on the blog, or on their site about what you think of their beeswax wraps. I guarantee you'll be wanting more. I have every size and shape of beeswax wraps and because of them we have completely cut out cling wrap, or any type of plastic wrap for over two years now. They really do work great and keep food fresh and safe just the same as plastic. We use them for our road trips and while traveling, too, and we just love them. Give them a try! And, right now they are offering free shipping on all US orders. Check out their giant Abeego for bagging breads and other large items.


1. Slice your avocado in half and wrap in Abeego with the pit still in place.
2. Place in the fridge, pit side up.
3. Wait three days, then unwrap. How does it look? Taste? Smell? Feel? How is it different than other halved avocados you've pulled out of the fridge? If you're keen to push the boundaries, wrap it back up and keep going.
4. Show off your avocado. Share your avocado results online and take @abeego and #BetterWithAbeego

AFTER 10 DAYS (with pit in):

Minimalism: End of Spring Cleaning

Time for end of spring cleaning, am I right? This past year has been intense and I'm starting to be a bit more selfish with my time and energy. I have some repairing and damage to fix to myself, as well and this spring to summer transition I am spending more time doing more selfcare and focusing on positive changes. I've been doing that for a few months now, but spring is really the time to do some cleaning and clearing. I've decided to spend this time ridding the house of germs, cleaning up our "make-shift" pantry, and boosting our immune systems and self worth. I decided now is the time to go through and get rid of many things in our possession that we are only keeping out of not hurting other's feelings. Emotional attachment is the worst kind of attachment to break, but now is the time. That means, cleaning a lot of areas that seem to get neglected in our day to day activities, donating gifts that we don't even like, and getting rid of clothing that no longer fits. Spring is the perfect time to do some spring cleaning, in more ways than one. Here's a list of things I am tackling this spring to get them cleaned and back to looking and feeling fresh.

*Window Cleaning: There's 12 windows, total in this rental house. Each one of them will be getting a through and well-deserved cleaning inside and a through washing outside, too. Plus, all of the curtains will be getting a good washing, as well as the curtain rods removed and cleaned.

*Microwave and Oven: A few drops of lemon juice and lemon essential oil in a glass bowl of water and placed inside the microwave for 20 seconds before wiping it out, helps with the smell and to help remove any stuck on food particles along the sides and on the top. For the oven, I use a squirt bottle with warm water and lemon essential oil, spray around the oven and hit the self cleaning cycle.

*Floors: The floors in this old house are a mix between, linoleum, carpet, carpeted stairs, carpet squares, fake wood vinyl, and chippy old linoleum in the laundry room. We've replaced the bathroom flooring a few years ago (a reveal of that will come soon), but overall this old house could use a bit of TLC with the floors. Unfortunately, renting you are limited on what you can do. The bathroom was a no brainer and after waiting five years for the "landlord" to do it, we finally just pulled the trigger and did it ourselves. It was either that, or fall through the floor. I will be using Dr. Bronner's soaps, vinegar, and some essential oils to get stubborn stains off the floors. It works great and their Sal Suds work amazingly well on all floor types. For the carpets, I use a carpet shampooer and go over the floors with a water/vinegar mix, and then again with the the vinegar/essential oil mixture with water. I've found it works the best, even in those machines, and doesn't leave a chemical smell for several days afterwards. I use peppermint essential oil on the hard floor surfaces. It seems to help keep spiders and ants at bay. I also use peppermint essential oils near doorways and windows. 
A good recipe I follow:
1. One part vinegar
2. Two parts water
3. 1-2 drops of Dr. Bronner's unscented castile soap
4. 8-10 drops lemongrass essential oil on open floors and bathroom
5. 8-10 drops peppermint essential oil for around doorways and windows

*Walls: Go old vinegar and hot water works the best. We don't have small children in this house, so it's not a huge cause for elbow grease on the walls, but there are a few areas that take a bit more scrubbing; door frames, garage entrance, bathroom wall, kitchen wall, etc. For those, straight vinegar and a bit of baking soda gets it right off. I am planning on repainting a few areas that seem to have heavier traffic throughout the year, too.

*Furniture: I vacuum and scrub with water/vinegar mix for stains. We don't have a lot of furniture that has cloth on it, so that part is pretty simple. We do have a lot of wood furniture and a simple mixture of vinegar and water gets those looking like new. 

*Refrigerator/Washer/Dryer/Oven: I like to pull these out once a spring and clean well under, behind, and even inside of them. I pull everything out of the refrigerator, wash the shelves, sides, and top, as well as the freezer, with a water/vinegar mix. Throw away old, or expired foods and reorganize to suit our needs. When I pull the refrigerator out, I clean the drip pan, and vacuum the coils and underneath. I hand wipe the underside of the refrigerator with a water/vinegar mix and wipe down any areas that seem to accumulate dust or debris. I run the washer with a hot load and vinegar and soap inside the washer. I clean the water pipes, water shut off knobs and around the sides and top of the machine. For the dryer, I do the same, clean the sides, and top and wipe the inside out with a water/vinegar mix. With the oven, I pull it out the oven completely (unplugging it) and clean the underside of the oven and wipe down the floor entirely where it sits. I like to clean the walls around all of these machines, too.

*Light Fixtures/Door Knobs/Locks/Light Switches: These should be cleaned at least once a week, if not once a month, anyway. The light fixtures and ceiling fans maybe every six months, depending on where you live and how much dust your house accumulates. This house seems to be a dust trap, as well as a place spiders like to hang out, for some reason. I've read it has a lot to do with drafts and this house is definitely drafty, even at the best of times. I like to wipe and clean everything with a vinegar/water mix and hit the dusty areas with a wet rag at least once a month, but spring is a good time to start a routine and get that dust, dead bugs, and other unwanted items that seem to find their way into and onto our fixtures. 

*Seasonal Bedding: Wash it, fold it, and put it away in the closet. Since the seasons are changing there's no need to have heavy bedding on your bed. Also, washing your mattress cover during this time is a great routine to get into. I tend to wash ours once a week with the other bedding, but some people only wash their mattress cover every six months, or once a year. It's really up to your lifestyle and preference. I prefer a clean bed at least once a week. Vacuuming your mattress during this time is a great way to cut down on dust mites and allergies, too. Also, popping your pillows into the dryer on low cycle with some wool dryer balls with a few drops of your favorite essential oil, too, will help with allergies and dust mites, as well. 

*Garage: I like to take everything out, sort through things one-by-one and donate things we haven't used in year. A year is enough time to determine whether you're going to use something again. With the exception of items that you don't use on a regular basis, air pump, tarps, car jack, anti-freeze, first aid kit, fire extinguisher, etc. Those items are needed, but may not be used in a year's time, so hang onto them. But, sort them and keep them in an area for extended keep. If now say, you haven't used something in three years, it's probably time to let it go. Fire extinguishers and first aid items should be used, or replaced in that amount of time anyway. After everything is removed from the garage, a good spray of the floor, or a moping is needed (depending on your flooring) and cleaned of debris, car tire marks, paint spills, oils spills, etc. Once your floor is dry, start bringing items back in. Never leave items on the floor of your garage. If needed purchase shelving, or build shelving. Items on the floor tend to make the area look cluttered. Wall hooks and racks are great for items, as well, consider installing what suits your needs and keeps your garage floor tidy.

*Repainting: I like to stand outside at the front of my house with a notebook and walk through the entire house all the way to the backyard and write down anything that needs a good coat of paint. Front door entrance, vestibule, hallway, stairs, walls, kitchen, backdoor trim, garage walls, and even possibly the outside deck or porch area. Writing it down you won't forget what you saw and won't see it later and get frustrated that you forgot. All of this is a good way to start the season fresh and feel like your home is well taken care of. There are other items that get added to that list, as well. Items such as, a new piece of wood on the window where the air conditioner sits, trim replacement for a piece missing by the stairs, or even maybe a new lock on the gate. Writing them down and walking through gives you the same eye as a guest and what they could see when visiting. 

I get a lot of my cleaning tips from Clean Mama. She posts some great schedules on her social media pages and I love to check in with her newest posts just to keep myself on task with everyday chores, as well as monthly, and yearly tasks. Her site also has printables and other items you can purchase to keep you accountable to your cleaning tasks. She was a huge help during our minimalism challenges on what to bring into the home and what to get rid of. It was nice to know that I wasn't alone in this desire to make my home more to our needs and wants, and keep it clean at the same time. 

I follow this rough draft of chores, but with a few additional things added that fit our lifestyle. I'm a Virgo and as a Virgo, "Cleanliness is instinctual for Virgos, so they will obsess about an item out of place or a surface stain until it's been properly taken care of." Remember, we are not looking for perfection. 

Snow day

Appreciating the world as it's covered in white is definitely a simple change.

Valley eagles

As I typed out the title for this blog post I realized it sounds more like a high school mascot than bald eagle spotting in the actual Willamette Valley. Nonetheless, there were bald eagles and they were spotted in the 'Valley'. The gather included adults, females and males, and juvenile bald eagles. We aren't quite sure why they were gathered, but they kept an eye on us while we were watching them.

Appreciating wild animals, especially bald eagles, in their natural habitat is definitely a good simple change.

Going waste free

We have gone down to a smaller trash can in our house in order to help reduce our wasteful habits. There is so many things that contribute to waste that all of us take for granted every day. I am having the hardest time cutting the habit of buying milk and cheeses in some sort of plastic. The local food co-op here sells milk in glass jars, but the cap on top is made of plastic. So either that goes into the recycle bin, or I find another way to reuse it. I hate plastic. It's one of the many things, including Styrofoam, that I honestly can't find a reason why it even exists. In the 1800s, and even the early 1900s, there wasn't plastic-there wasn't even tape. People will argue and say that plastic has helped a lot, but there has to be another way before depending on plastic. Plastic and Styrofoam are not for the environment. Period.

Our smaller trash can has been a change for us. The first week was embarrassing, to say the least. 
The poor can was stuffed to the brim with things that couldn't be recycled. Meaning, it was all waste headed straight for the landfill. I had a thought of, maybe some of that could go into the recycling: The plastic takeout container, the paper coffee cup, the plastic spoon from some random stop for ice cream. Unfortunately, that thought came as the big blue garbage truck was dropping the can back on our green-ish lawn. How upsetting. And how stupid we had been bringing those wasteful items into our home in the first place. So from that point on we have made it our mission. A pact, so to speak, to reduce our waste. 

I'd like to say we have another theme for the blog, like a Waste-free Wednesday, or something just as catching, but the thing is, I want to be waste-free every day of the week. Waste-free Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, etc. You get the point. My only issue is, in order to go completely waste-free there are certain things we have to make a decision on and we just aren't there yet. I love milk, and I love cheese. I love dairy anything, but until we can find a way to get around the plastics issue with buying those items we have to accept the fact that this isn't the 1800s, or even the 1900s and some plastic has to go to the recycle bin after we consume it. 

Here is a working list of items we've stopped using and their replacements. Maybe this list can help you go waste-free too:

1. Paper towels-Cloth napkins
2. Plastic-wrapped toilet paper-Paper wrapped version.(Cardboard rolls get used for seed starts in spring)
3. Paper cups-Say no to disposable and use your own. All you have to do is ask.
4. Take out containers-Bring our own reusable containers instead.
5. Plastic bottles, cans, glass bottles-We recycle everything, if it can't be recycled, we don't buy it, or use it.
*One more item that might get a nose snub is the reusable cloth pads. I've been using them for several years now while supplementing the cotton/plastic pads. This year I hope to be less dependent on the cotton/plastic ones and rely on the cloth ones more. The ones I like are from here.

It's no easy task going waste-free and those around you that aren't going waste-free might make it more challenging, but don't lose sight of what your goal is. It's so easy to get into a routine and lose track of what bad habits we've let ourselves get into. Start like we have and make five simple changes and when those become routine, add a few more. Making simple changes is what it's about. 

New year's resolutions

New Year's-the time for renewal, refresh, and restarting. The New Year also prompts us to want to get things done, and a few habits changed. It seems that everyone is always ready to go with changes when the New Year hits, but they soon die out once the spring is here. I always try to keep the best goals, and the easiest goals, so that I don't fall back on bad habits. We are working on keeping some of the resolutions we made New Year's night. Of course, it is still January and easy to keep those resolutions so far, but we are doing well so far and I feel these new resolutions are worth keeping in order to be better for us and the environment.

1. Buy a new calendar and keep track of goals. I'm liking these from Orange Circle Studios this year, or pick up the same one The Bean is using this year from Just Seeds.

2. Walk 10-30 minutes every day (stairs, mailbox, grocery store, library-we are within walking distance of them all).

3. Meditate 15 minutes, yoga 15 minutes, and weight resistance 15 minutes-three times a week.

4. Stop hate. Start by not saying the word.

5. Drink more filtered water and green tea.

6. Track calories in and calories out. Modify if needed. (Eat a big breakfast-8:00 a.m., a medium luncheon-12:00 p.m., and a small dinner-5:00 p.m.).

7. Eat more foods grown on plants and less foods manufactured in plants-good start: blueberries, broccoli, almonds, and walnuts.

8. Purge old habits: Leaving shoes in the doorway, glasses on the nightstand, dirty clothes on the floor, wet towels on the bed, getting upset over the past, snacking mindlessly, skipping exercise, comparing anything to anyone, eating dinner late, settling, etc.

9. Make bed every day.

10. Shop more frugal and cut waste. Plastic is the goal-find ways to cut the dependency on plastics. Buy in bulk, use glass instead, and recycle what can be recycled in plastics that do come through the door. And for crying out loud make more fruit leathers and freezer pops!

Things to purge in January:

In order to keep from having piles of anything it's best to purge a few things at the beginning of the new year. Here are the things we purge in January in the SNS house. If any of the items on this list raise a red flag to you, it's best to hang onto them until you are sure they can be thrown away.

• Insurance policies from the year before: Auto/Health/House/Renters' Insurance/etc. It's a good idea to update your insurance policies each year just to make sure you are getting the coverage you need and the savings you deserve. If something in your life, auto, or living situation has changed be sure to inform your insurer so they can get you the best rate possible. Never go without insurance on your car, your home/rent, or life. It's not worth the risk.

• Warranty papers: If the start of the new year means a warranty or contract has expired toss it. There's no need to keep expired paperwork laying around. If it can't be renewed, or updated, then get rid of it.

• Paid bills in paper form: Any bill that was paid, even monthly utilities, can be tosses in the trash at the start of the new year. Don't throw away current bills that are due for the month, and the best way to avoid paper with this is to go paperless and get your monthly bills emailed to you. Some companies even have a way to set up text reminders when your bill is due, or if you're late on a bill.

• Paycheck stubs: Once you file your taxes and see that your W-2 numbers are correct you can toss these in the trash each year. Keeping all of your pay stubs until you file taxes is a great way to check that the numbers match up and your defense when you receive your W-2 from your employer.

• Old to-do lists: If you are a list maker make January the month that you get caught up on all of our to-dos. If you have a lot of them, start with the biggest one and work your way down to the smallest to-do. Work through the entire list for the month and get it done. If it's something that isn't that important to do then mark it off.

• Clothes you haven't worn all last year: Trust me on this, if you didn't wear it in a year you aren't going to wear it in another year. Just donate it and let someone else enjoy the threads. Here's what we do in our house. We turn hangers around and face them backwards so the hook part of the hanger is facing you. We hang every piece of clothing we own, t-shirts, pants, etc. The only items not hanging in our closets are delicate sweaters, undies, socks, and sleeping wear. As far as the closet goes, once you wear something turn the hanger around the right way. At the end of the year you get to see what you've worn and what you haven't worn. Also, if you keep to a certain number of items, say 20 hanging clothes, if you purge five items in January that leaves you five spaces to fill with something new throughout the year. It's a pretty good method and works well in our home-still working on the hats with the boys though.

• Dishes, appliance, or utensils: If you didn't use the large platter the entire year, or a small crock pot, chances are you aren't going to use it again. Donate it. We have a lot of things we either get as gifts, or buy thinking we are going to use them regularly and we use them once then there they sit. I bought a small white crock pot, similar to this one, and I thought I would make small meals in it during the day for The Bean and me, but I didn't. I used it for corn at Thanksgiving, but that was it. It's a cute item and would work great with someone that does small meals, or entertains a lot, but that just isn't us. So I donated it and I don't miss it.

• Purge old habits: Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Invest our energy in the positive, the present moment, and the little things that make life wonderful. Spend your moments with people that build you up and less time with those that tear you down. And do the same for others. Remember, life isn't always fair, but it is good and most of us forget that we live a pretty privileged life. Don't waste your time hating anyone-life is too short for this. When you hate someone you give them control over you. Move past the hate, forgive and move on. You aren't so important that you have to win every argument. And don't take yourself so seriously, believe it or not, no one else does.

• A few more items: Donate these items!
-Board games you didn't play.
-Playing cards you didn't use.
-Sheets and pillow cases not used.
-Blankets not used.
-Makeup that's expired.
-Lotions/creams not used, or expired.
-Books not read.(unless you add them to this year's resolutions)
-Flower pots not filled.
-Gardening tools not used.
-Pet supplies not used.
-Coats and jackets not worn all year.
-Pens, pencils, markers, crayons not used all year.
-Household cleaners not used all year. (check with local laws to make sure you can dispose of these safety. The best way to avoid having chemicals like this on hand is to use greener cleaners-vinegar, baking soda, castile soaps, essential oils, etc.)
-Old paints. Donate to a local Habitat for Humanity, or other similar facility. If no facility is available in your area, allow the paint to dry with the lid off and dispose of in trash cans. (Which I find disturbing, so be sure to use water-based, nontoxic paints. White, flat paint goes a long way when giving a fresh coat to walls, or furniture. To avoid having excessive leftover paint, never buy more than you need for a project.)

Happy New Year!

Blue Friday-Blue Movement cleanup

Friday, November 24, 2017, was Blue Friday. To some it was Black Friday, but not in our house. We haven't participated in Black Friday for many, many years and the only time we went was twice, back-to-back years, and after a good kick in the leg from a lady with steel toed boots the last time we went I decided it just wasn't worth the effort, the money, or the time-or pain. The kick she gave me was on accident, but nonetheless it left a rather large hematoma on my leg for over a month.  So for a good alternative to the madness and the consumerism we decided to do something completely different and clean up a waterway around us by joining forces with United by Blue

The Willamette Valley has some of the most beautiful views with water or a snow capped mountain in the background, especially this time of year. This year, being our first year to participate, we decided to keep it small and clean up the local canal that runs through the city here. The Lebanon Santiam Canal has a stretch that is surrounded by a park-Ralston Park. There are a lot of homeless that congregate at the park during the day and into the evening. There is also a lot of foot traffic through the area too. Most people that visit the park are respectful, but once in awhile we get the few that don't seem to care and litter their trash, clothing, and cigarette butts. Tons of cigarette butts. We ended up clearing over 60 pounds of garbage. Most of it could be recycled, which made us sad to know that someone couldn't take the time to place the items in a recycle bin instead of the ground near water, or in the water. One of the cleanup crew member we had said the perfect explanation of why: It's because some people just don't care. heartbreaking, yet true. So to remedy that "don't care" attitude, help out year round and clean up after yourself and the ones that don't care. The more care you put into something the more it will offset the others. Here the highlights of our cleanup this year.

We received our kits and were really excited to get started with the cleanup. United by Blue included a Blue Movement bandanna with the kits this year and we wore them proudly. The kit also included a trash bag for waste, one for recycle, and some heavy duty rubber-tipped gloves.

We began the cleanup efforts at 2:00 p.m. west coast time and worked until 5:00 p.m. when the sun started to set.

We covered the entire length of the canal that the park surrounds. In between trash collecting and cigarette butt removal I took pictures of the cleanup.

Plastics are definitely not for the environment. 

A shoe.

The Bean removing rusted metal chicken wire.

The Bean found some unusual items in the canal. Here he found a broken, glass bong that someone had thrown off the bridge, but missed and it hit the bridge and broke into several large glass pieces.

Getting down and dirty with the cleanup.

Plastic bags, mylar balloons, cigarette butts, plastic container and bottle, chicken wire, glass, a marijuana container, needles, etc. It was absolutely shocking to see so much liter in our city's canal. Extremely disappointing.

United by Blue has great information on the Blue Movement on their website, Twitter, and Instagram. We will be setting a time and place each year where we live in order to participate. If you would like to get involved, you can do that right here. Or here!

Remember, every little bit helps and it does more good than you know! And I probably don't have to state this, but the best thing you can do to help out with the efforts is to not litter, pick up other's litter when you can, and always try to recycle items that can be recycled. My number one suggestion would be, don't bring waste into your home in the first place and stop using disposable items, especially plastics. Simple changes in your habits can have a big impact overtime.

-UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. -Dr. Seuss "The Lorax"