Be Green & Save Green!

Eco friendly finds for under $20!

Very Cool Giveaway! December 6, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Be Green & Save Green! @ 11:08 am
Tags: , ,

I am not hosting this giveaway, however you can enter here.


Kids At Play Table


I have WORMS! February 24, 2010

Filed under: Garden,Home — Be Green & Save Green! @ 8:00 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

I’ve had over 2,000 red wrigglers for over one month now.  They are very busy eating my veggie scraps and, well….pooping.  LOL  In the worm farming industry however, we call this “casting”.  😉

I made my worm composter last January.  After many-a-google search I finally found the plans for a very cheap and easy to make stackable bin system.  (I added a lot more holes and my holes were smaller.  I was paranoid about the worms escaping, since my vermi-compost bin is mostly indoors.)

Once the vermi-compost bin was complete, I purchased 2,000 little “red wrigglers” here.  They arrived quickly and in good shape despite the Chicago winter weather.  I followed the instructions supplied with the little fella’s and started shredding junk mail and chopping food scraps.  The worms turned out to be surprisingly finicky, but once I figured out their likes (banana peals, carrots, parsley stems) and dislikes (onions, red cabbage, oranges) I had enough black gold (castings) to fertilize my entire garden!

Around the end of the fall I had WAY more than the 2,000 worms I had originally ordered.  I had also moved the bin outside since the weather was suitable for them.  What I forgot to do was drain the water that had collected in the bins after 3 days of rain.  :0  Once the rain stopped I figured the worms had all drowned, so I dumped the bin’s contents (bedding, castings, and carcasses) in an area of dirt near the house that never grew anything very well.  I hoped the castings left in the soggy bin would be enough to improve the soil there for the next spring.  As the ground absorbed the rain water I realized the little troopers were still alive!  I had no intentions of digging through goopy castings to keep the worms, so I said good-bye and hoped they’d find new homes.

Quickly approaching the next spring I am very curious as to the condition of that soil now.  It’s got to be the highest quality dirt my yard has to offer!  We shall see in the next few months.  {fingers crossed}  With the anticipation of spring and all kinds of plans for an edible garden floating around in my head I knew I need to restart my worm farm.  I ordered another 2,000 worms from the same place and they are making themselves right at home.  Bring on S-P-R-I-N-G!

Worm Composting Myths:

  1. The compost bin smells- So not true!  As long as you don’t put food they aren’t suppose to eat (like:  meat, fish, oil, etc.) the bin should really be odor free.  AND make sure all scraps are buried (no exposure).
  2. It attracts mice or rats-  Again, not true!  As long as you don’t put food they aren’t supposed to eat…….notice a pattern yet?
  3. Composting Attracts House Flies-  Nope!  As long as you don’t put food they aren’t suppose to eat……..

Even with my bin outdoors not even a raccoon got into it.  Raccoons are very smart and if one really wanted to, I am sure it could have gotten in to my bin.  I do take pride however, in the fact that my bin doesn’t just have the snap on lid, it has hinged locks that close over the lid.  Fancy!



Movie Review: Food, Inc. February 23, 2010

Filed under: Garden,vegan — Be Green & Save Green! @ 8:00 am
Tags: ,



A few weeks ago I was watching Oprah.  (Yes, Oprah…so?!)  Her guest was Michael Pollan.  Michael Pollan is an author of many books about eating well.  Not dieting and not nutrition, but eating food.

“Now that I know how supermarket meat is made, I regard eating it as a somewhat risky proposition. I know how those animals live and what’s on their hides when they go to slaughter, so I don’t buy industrial meat.”  –  Michael Pollan

I have 3 of his books and love reading about where our food comes from, how it’s grown/raised, how it’s processed/manufactured/slaughtered, etc.  It’s a very interesting topic, and should be to everyone who…..well, EATS!  Michael Pollan was also featured in the incredible documentary:  Food, Inc.

“In Food, Inc. filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that’s been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government’s regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, insecticide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won’t go bad, but we also have new strains of e coli–the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually.  We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults.”  –  Food, Inc. synopsis
I LOVED this movie!!  I can’t tell you how much I have learned from it.  When will I ever get to visit a chicken farm for a big named chicken company personally?  Never, that’s when.  So to be able to see inside the chicken coop or slaughter-house is fascinating. 

 I’ve got to tell you, too, after seeing this movie I look at the grocery store shelves very different and I also look in YOUR cart.  Then I silently judge you.  For being fat, for your kids being fat, and then seeing all of the nacho flavored chips, 2 liters of pop, buckets of ice cream, powdered flavor packets with pasta, sugary cereals, etc.  I do judge.  Maybe I’m horrible, but that’s how open my eyes are now and I’m grateful for it.  Don’t get me wrong, I love chocolate ice cream.  But now it’s a special treat for birthdays and I get the little tubs that cost more but only have like 5 ingredients on the label or organic.  Rather than the giant drum of ice cream for only $3 with the laundry list of shit in it that I can’t even pronounce.  It’s just so obvious.  The movie makers do NOT make a point of judging over weight people, please don’t get me wrong.  

My point is, we can’t keep eating all of this CRAP that isn’t really food.  Yes, it’s edible, but it’s not food.  All while wondering why diabetes, obesity, and heart disease are out of control in this country.

 I hope you do invest the 90 minutes (or however long it was) into this movie.  It is MORE than worth it.


My Vegetarian Quest part 1 February 22, 2010

Filed under: My Green Journey,vegan — Be Green & Save Green! @ 3:13 pm
Tags: , , ,

I don’t think I can officially claim to be a vegetarian, yet, but I’ve heard a term that seems to fit with my current diet:  Pescetarian.  I eat fish or shrimp almost every night at dinner.  Due to the increase of sea food my hair and nails are growing like crazy.  Ladies:  how’s that for motivation?!

However, January was off to a rough start.  I celebrated New Years two hours away with my carnivore mother-in-law.  (It was wonderful!)  I decided not to beat myself up for failing, but rather enjoy the red meat good-bye feast.  😉

Ever since I returned home from her house, it’s been easy breezy!  Sure, I’ve slipped up here and there with little bits of chicken (Chicken Fried Rice is a weakness of mine) but I doubt I’ve eaten enough chicken in the last 2 months to constitute one serving.

I started out with simple fare like salads and basic pasta dishes.  As I grew more comfortable with my new menu items I have been able to increase the difficulty in my meal preparations.  Lately, I’m LOVING Asian dishes.  Ginger, garlic, onion…..mmmmmm. 

The Best Part:

I’ve lost weight without exercise!!!!  Within the first two weeks of quitting red meat my pants fit well.  I no longer have those red imprints on my belly, left behind by my size 8 jeans that I refuse to replace with 10’s.  LOL  I am sure a good portion of my belly was bloating due to the hard to digest meat, but whatever….  I really don’t need size 10’s!  (Love that!)

My husband said he was on board with this vegetarian plan, but then later said his plan was to be a vegetarian Monday – Friday.  Saturday & Sunday were going to be his carnivorous days.  (Don’t ask me, that is just what he said.  It still is a tremendous effort on his part.  For those of you that aren’t sure if you can go vegetarian this might be a good start for you.)  Well, he ended up really giving up red meat – for all seven days.  He’s lost even more weight than I have (probably because he ate more meat than I did), has increased energy, and has lowered his cholesterol.  Yay!  🙂

My favorite part about him going along with this vegetarian thing, is that I finally got him to try sushi.  Of course, he liked it…’s delicious!  In fact, just last night he mentioned he was craving it and couldn’t wait to go back!


Some Helpful Sites:

LiveStrong The Daily Plate


Food Network  (My FAVORITE!)


One of My Favorite Gifts December 14, 2009

Filed under: Baby,half the sky,Kids,Women — Be Green & Save Green! @ 11:28 pm
Tags: , ,

Recently for my birthday my best friend (It’s A Jaime Thing) gave me a very special present, one that I hold very dear:   

Knitter Critter-Zebra



“All products are made with home spun wool, dyed with natural plant dye, and knitted with love by a huge group of happy women in Kenya. Each piece is signed by the woman who knitted it.  

The Kenana Knitters group enables its workers to directly benefit from their efforts and create a self-sufficient community. With your purchases, we have been able to increase employment drastically in both Kenya and the United States, provide full physicals and ongoing medical treatment for each knitter and their families. We have even begun construction on a school located within the farm boundaries.  

Our products range from African animals to funky scarves and hats. We produce items to suit all occasions whether you need to find an original christening gift, or an accessory that will get you noticed on the top of Mount Kenya.” – Kenana Knitter Critters website  

If you follow the link on the picture you can order your own Knitter Critter from Starbucks for a special price or you may visit the Kenana USA web site for a variety of Critters, pillows, backpacks, dolls, and scarves.


Do Your Undies Help Stop Oppression?!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Be Green & Save Green! @ 6:52 pm


Follow the link above to Global Girlfriend.  An online store that specializes in fairly traded apparel and accessories handmade by women and communities in need.  


Make a difference — even in your underwear! Sublimely soft, certified organic cotton is used to make these superbly comfortable panties, offered in three classic colors. Produced in the Tamil Nadu region of India by a cooperative of Franciscan nuns — pioneers in the manufacturing of organic cotton garments. Our purchase helped their co-op employ and care for 120 women who are either handicapped or economically disadvantaged. Aside from employment, the seamstresses receive training, support, meals, and housing.

Created to help women worldwide gain economic security for themselves and their families by earning fair wages for their handiwork, Global Girlfriend sources women-made, fair-trade imported, eco-friendly products. By supporting long-term partnerships with the artisans, it fosters equal employment opportunities, healthy and safe working conditions, technical assistance, and development strategies to help reduce poverty, one community at a time. Become a “Global Girlfriend” and help build a brighter future for girlfriends around the globe!


With each pair of Organic Cotton Hip Hugger Panties purchased, Global Girlfriend will fund 1.0 percent of a microgrant for a woman in a rural community in Africa to launch a small business, through Camfed. 

I don’t normally share my undergarments with the general public, but you can bet I’ve got some on order right now!



Filed under: My Green Journey — Be Green & Save Green! @ 4:51 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Hi all!  It just occurred to me that I don’t have to just plug cheap eco finds…..this is my friggin’ blog and I can post about other green things too…right?!



So, get ready for more of “me”.  Hope that’s OK with everyone! 

I guess, before I can start on with my plans about how Green 2010 will be for myself and my family, it might be a good idea to reflect on our accomplishments in 2009.  I must say, I am quite proud of the changes we’ve all made so far and look forward to even more!  Without delay, here it goes:

  1. Worm Composting–  This was one of the first major projects we attempted at the beginning of the year.  I drilled small holes in a Rubbermaid type storage box for water drainage and in the lid for air circulation.  This bin was then set inside a second bin without holes (to collect said moisture!)  I purchased 2,000 red wrigglers from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm for $40.  My husband and I did a ton of research on indoor vermi-composting since we started this adventure in January (worms don’t like the Chicago winters).  We learned that bugs and odor are not an issue….when handled correctly.  With a few trials and errors we figured out how to keep our worms happy.  Surprisingly they are a little fickle with the foods they like/dislike, moisture levels, and bedding preferences.  However, once you figure it all out; happy worms make even more worms!  The more worms you have the more castings they create (aka worm poop).  The more castings you have to harvest the happier your garden is and so on!  It was a wonderful experience and the kids loved helping me feed the worms every Friday.  Sadly, I killed most of my worms this September when I moved the bin outdoors for the nicer weather months.  After 3 days of hard rain my worms were drowned in their bin.  (I know, I am a horrible person!)  But, I look forward to vermi-composting again this January!
  2. Rechargeable Batteries– With two young kids in the house I can’t begin to estimate the number of batteries we have in use.  Yikes!  I hope we are all aware of the consequences when our batteries meet the landfill.  If not, please click here.  Using rechargeable batteries can greatly reduce the number of batteries your family goes through in a year.  Please remember though, they aren’t really any safer and do still need to be recycled responsibly when no longer useable.  Check with your local waste management company for ways to recycle your own batteries.
  3. Water Conservation– We got a rain barrel!  While the barrel itself isn’t very pretty the idea is freaking awesome!  Water from our gutter is routed into the rain barrel.  The bottom of the barrel has a spout we can connect the hose to.  Then, we can water our garden with the stored rain water!  This entire idea rocks my world, I still get so excited about it!  Yay water conservation!  🙂
  4. Less Shopping– Seriously.  Here is what I do at the store when looking at non-essentials:  I ask myself do I NEED this?  If I do NEED it, then I ask:  Can I recycle this?  If either answer is “No.” then I don’t buy it.  (For the most part, this whole thing is still a process.)  I can’t begin to guess on how much money this has saved me.  I stopped buying paper towels and Ziploc type bags also, rather I use dish towels and storage containers.  (I’ve even washed and reused the Ziploc type bags.)
  5. Less Waste– Obviously, the less I bought the less I wasted.  There is more to it than that, though.  From June-October ALL of my produce was purchased from my local farmer’s market.  They would really just dump whatever I bought into my own tote bag, no packaging….no waste!  (Don’t forget the reduced carbon footprint from buying local.)  If there were food scraps left over it went to my worms….no waste!  Junk mail?  Shredded and used as worm bedding.  Newspaper type mail fliers?  Look on the back page, you will find and 800 number to call and cancel your subscription.  Can you imaging how many trees this could save if we ALL did that?!  BYOB-Bring Your Own Bag. 
  6. Made My Own– Talking about less waste, there is SO MUCH stuff you can make!  It’s super easy and kind of fun!  By making my own I was able to not only stop the amount of packaging that came into my home, but reuse a lot things, too.  The biggest one was laundry detergent!  I’d make my own batches and reuse old detergent bottles over and over.  This is the recipe I liked the best, although, the powder recipe is easiest.  I made:  counter cleaner, glass cleaner, toilet cleaner, wood polish, and various toiletries.  (Do I need to mention the money savings?!)
  7. Sought Out Items Made From Recycled ____- Items from toilet paper to pencils for back-to-school.  If you look for it, it’s there, and it’s been recycled.  My stepping stones in front of the house were once plastic bags.  My daughter’s tea party set used to be milk jugs.  My business cards were at one time office paper.  Etc.
  8. Then we also:  planted 4 trees (2 survived), organic backyard garden, switched to CFLs, recycled A LOT (seriously, we’d throw away 1 bag of actual garbage per week.  The rest was all recycled.), purchased an Energy Star water heater, joined and utilized Freecycle (for giving and receiving), and last but not least I created this blog!  🙂

With 2009 ending very soon I’ve put a lot of thought into my goals for 2010.  Here they are:  (Maybe we can do some of these together?  I’d love to know what you are planning on!)

  1. Going Vegan– Since labeling my faith as Buddhist this year, I am concentrating on not being the cause of suffering-a Buddhist Principle.  This will be very difficult for me and I know it will not be a flawless journey.  (I REALLY enjoy a thick medium rare filet mignon and leather shoes!)  But my husband is also on board and I have a good friend that is well on her way to achieving this.  My plan is to start out vegetarian so I can still eat eggs, milk, seafood, and cheese.  I will slowly phase out some of those items as I become more skilled at preparing their vegan counterparts.  Wish me luck!  How is this Green?  Click here to learn about he impact the meat industries have on the environment.
  2. Doing More– My life isn’t glamorous or overflowing with “things” yet I don’t consider myself a minimalist, either.  That being said I know we have everything we need and more.  Yes, I get excited about cool shiney things that catch my eye, but eventually I get over it.  This year I am putting my focus on the grassroots social movement to empower the oppressed women of this world.  I won’t go into the travesties here, but if you are interested in learning more follow the links on the top right of this blog (Half The Sky, Global Girlfriend, Women for Women International, & Heifer).
  3. Purchase Permanent Electro Static Air Filters– It’s a kind of big purchase (around $100 for our home).  But worth the savings in the end.  Right now we are spending $16-$20 every 3 months on disposable air filters (WASTEFUL).  After just over one year in use they will have paid for themselves in savings.
  4. Buy More Trees and Plant A BIGGER Garden!

GIVEAWAY: Shower Filter December 11, 2009

Filed under: Home,Utilities — Be Green & Save Green! @ 4:30 pm
Tags: , , ,

My very generous friends at New Wave Enviro have also allowed for me to review AND giveaway this Premium Shower Filter.  The filter is designed to remove the chlorine in our public water supplies.  Here is some more information taken from their web site:  (They can explain it much better than I can!)

What are the Effects of Chlorine in the Shower?

Chlorine is a toxic gas which attacks living cells. It was used during World War I as a chemical warfare agent. It is used today as a additive to drinking water to kill harmful micro-organisms. While this can be an important health benefit, chlorine itself is far from beneficial: it attacks organic material, such as the skin and skin oils, which dries out the skin and hair. Because chlorine vaporizes along with the hot water, it is inhaled into the lungs. It is also absorbed into the skin. According to some experts, five times more chlorine enters the body through the skin during a shower than enters through drinking 8 glasses of chlorinated tap water!

What are the Benefits of Using the Premium Shower Filter?

  •  Moister, smoother skin, less itching which requires less moisturizer
  •  Healthier hair – less brittle, fewer split ends, deeper, longer lasting color for dyed or highlighted hair
  •  Eliminates chlorine odor from skin and hair
  •  Prevents breathing chlorine gas or its absorption into skin
  •  Stops burning around the eyes of chlorine-sensitive people

Right away (after my first shower with the filter) I noticed that my hair stayed clean longer.  Meaning, the next day my hair didn’t feel oily.  I am thinking this has to be due to the lack of chlorine drying my hair out, so my scalp didn’t need to over compensate by creating extra oil.  (Kind of like how it is more important for acne prone people to moisturize.  So their face doesn’t compensate for the dryness by creating more oil and more acne.)

I also noticed right away the increase in suds with my shampoo and soap.  Instead of the soap having to clean my water and myself, it actually preformed better!  Over time I can see how this will save me a ton of money!  Especially, with organic soaps and shampoos….I’ve noticed they don’t tend to lather so well in unfiltered water.

The filter is very easy to install, basically you just twist it into place and it even came with some plumbers tape.  You can tell from the picture that after installation your shower head will be a little lower, but it wasnt’ and issue for myself (5’7″) or my husband (6′).  The only criticism I have for this product is that it did slow down the water flow a little….this will take some time to get used to since I’ve grown accustomed to blasting the conditioner out of my hair 🙂 but I’m guessing this too will save me money on my water bill.  It is not so much of an issue that I will remove the filter, though.

How to win:

  1. Follow “NewWaveEnviro” on Twitter and comment back here with your Twitter name to verify.
  2. Leave a comment on this post about your favorite New Wave Enviro products (yes, you must check their site and comment on something other than this giveaway item).

BONUS ENTRIES:  (1 & 2 need to be completed first before these will count.)

  • Follow beGsaveG (me) on Twitter and comment here with your Twitter name so I can verify.
  • Subscribe to my blog.
  • Tweet this post (once daily) and be sure to add: @begsaveg when you do so I can verify.

Good luck!

Winner will be chosen at random, notified by email, and will have 48 hours to respond with shipping information.  Contest ends at 5:00pm-central time on Tuesday December 22.


GIVEAWAY: Litter Free Lunch Kit December 9, 2009

Filed under: Home,Kids,Men,Women — Be Green & Save Green! @ 11:40 am
Tags: , , , , ,

UPDATE:  THE WINNER IS……..ROBERT from The Great Lakes Design Collaborative!

A big huge thanks to everyone that entered to win!


Thanks so much to my new friends at New Wave Enviro I’ve been able to review their (awesome) lunch kit and they have offered a giveaway for the Be Green & Save Green readers!

The Goods:


1 20 oz. Stainless Steel Water Bottle

Belt/Back Pack Clip

Durable, reusable, and recyclable

Easy to clean with a little baking soda and water or white vinegar.


1 Stainless Steel Food Container

6″ x 4.5″ x 2

Fits perfectly in Bamboo Lunch Bag.


 1 100% Bamboo Lunch Bag

Naturally Anti-bacterial/Hypoallergenic

Light as a feather.  Strong as steel.  Soft as silk.

Made from a very renewable resource.

The Review:

I’ve got to say, it is becoming a pet peeve of mine that eco companies use packing peanuts (styrofoam) for shipping.  However, in an industry that preaches reduce, reuse, and recycle I can not fault them for reusing.  The shame of it is, my village’s garbage service does not recycle styrofoam.  😦  OK, so my vent aside I would also like to commend the folks at New Wave Enviro for using shredded paper to fill the rest of my package as the styrofoam didn’t fill it.  Paper I can certainly recycle…..actually, I reuse it for bedding for my worms!  (That’s another post!)

Now for my actual product review!  The bamboo bag is my favorite!  They aren’t kidding when they boast: “Light as a feather.  Strong as steel.  Soft as silk.”  That’s a perfect description.  Now, since I am lucky enough to work from my home my husband is the one actually testing it.  He said the bag is easy to handle thanks to the straps, has plenty of room, and he too loves that it’s made from bamboo (a totally renewable resource).

The stainless steel food container was a bit smaller than I had expected, although I don’t know why I thought it would be bigger.  It is however the perfect size for snacks like carrot sticks, cheese and crackers, a bagel and cheese, any cold side dish, etc.  The hinges hold tight.  It is very easy to clean.  And again, REUSABLE!  I have recently taken to washing Ziploc bags rather than throwing them away (yes, it’s a pain).  This food container is the solution for that!  No more plastic snack bags, yay!

Finally, the water bottle.  What can I say.  I think we all are aware (I hope) of the “disposable” plastic water bottle issue.  These stainless steel bottles are a perfect long-term solution.  This particular bottle has a slightly different neck/lip than that of some other bottles I’ve seen.  It makes it a bit easier to drink out of because you are not sipping off of the lid-twisty-lines.  (Did that make sense to anyone?!  It makes perfect sense in my head. LOL)

How to win:

  1. Follow “NewWaveEnviro” on Twitter and comment back here with your Twitter name to verify.
  2. Leave a comment on this post about your favorite New Wave Enviro products (yes, you must check their site and comment on something other than these giveaway items).

BONUS ENTRIES:  (1 & 2 need to be completed first before these will count.)

  • Follow beGsaveG (me) on Twitter and comment here with your Twitter name so I can verify.
  • Subscribe to my blog
  • Tweet this post (once daily) and be sure to add: @begsaveg when you do so I can verify.


Good luck!

Winner will be chosen at random, notified by email, and will have 48 hours to respond with shipping information.  Contest ends at 5:00pm-central time on Sunday December 20th.

Eco Beauty Part 2 November 17, 2009

Filed under: Men,Women — Be Green & Save Green! @ 2:38 pm
Tags: ,

Facials on the cheap and easy!

  1. Epsom Salts– (Magnesium Sulfate)  Found in drug stores, generally on the bottom shelf.  Used widely for soaking feet in warm water to sooth “barking dogs”, it also can be absorbed by the skin reducing inflammation and puffiness(!).  I like to add a bit to my face wash to act partially as an exfoliater, too.  I also LOVE to get a handful of epsom salt and add some baby oil, then apply like a body scrub.  This is an awesome exfoliater and moisturizer all in one!
  2. Witch Hazel– Can be found in any drug store just like epsom salt.  Used as a facial toner in the treatment of acne.  The drug store variety does contain around 14% alcohol, so don’t forget to moisturize (especially if you are acne prone)!  I also like to add a few drops of Tea Tree Oil to my Witch Hazel.
  3. Tea Tree Oil– (Melaleuca Oil)  It’s a little harder to find, but I have gotten mine here in the past.  Tea Tree Oil is known to have antibiotic, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties.  It does have a “medicinal” scent, but it dissipates quickly (you won’t smell all day!).  We also keep a bottle in the first aid kit for treating scrapes, minor burns, and bug bites.
  4. Sugar–  My husband on occasion will exfoliate with a handful of sugar.  With my skin type I am too chicken to try it (acne prone), but he seems to like it.
  5. ReUse Old Green Tea Bags– Take your used tea bags (cool and damp) and gently place over your eyes for 10-20 minutes.  The caffeine and other stuff  ( 🙂 )found in the green tea will reduce puffiness AND dark circles!  Plus, the antioxidants found in green tea can’t hurt either. 

Bonus Tip:  Epsom salt & green tea + the bags can be used to fertilize your house plants!


Fair Trade Gift Guide 2009 November 16, 2009

Filed under: Baby,Home,Kids,Men,Women — Be Green & Save Green! @ 3:11 pm
Tags: , ,

You NEED to see what the awesome folks at Fair Trade The White House put together!  They created an 32 page Holiday Gift Guide!  It is loaded with 80+ fair trade (and fabulous) gift ideas for everyone!  (Mom, Dad, baby, friends, hostess, etc.)  Some of the items even come with exclusive discounts!!  Can you tell I’m a bit excited about this?!   

Fair trade is an alternative way of doing trade,where the people producing a product aretreated fairly, paid fairly, and are being fairto the environment.
What was started in America by one woman with a vision has become a global movement involving over 60 countries and 1.5 million workers. In America, over 1,500 companies and retailers offer fair trade goods, and the U.S. is home to 13 Fair Trade Towns, and over 300 college campuses that support fair trade. 
By choosing to purchase Fair Trade gifts for your family, friends and co-workers, you are directly combating poverty and bringing positive change to people’s lives around the world.  All of the companies, retailers and organizations featured in this Holiday Gift Guide are part of the Fair Trade the White House coalition, which is inviting the First Lady to join the fair trade movement and make the White House a “Fair Trade Home.” 
 Enjoy making your home, and those of your loved ones, a “Fair Trade Home” this holiday season. 
 May you have a wonderful Holiday season!
The Fair Trade the White House Team

Silver Polish November 15, 2009

Filed under: Home — Be Green & Save Green! @ 3:48 pm
Tags: , ,

I recently had a garage sale and wanted to get some money for 2 silver pillar holders I’ve had lying around.  My main motivation for going green with the polish was simple economics.  I had no intentions of buying any thing for the sole purpose of selling it on the cheap. 

After some time spent on google, I finally found a recipe worth trying:

Homemade Silver Polish

a pan
aluminum foil
4 teaspoons of baking soda
4 cups of boiling water
a large glass bowl
a drop of liquid soap
100% cotton soft cloth

Place foil on the bottom of pan. Lay your silver pieces on the bottom. Fill pan with water until silver is fully submerged. Sprinkle baking soda over it. Soak silver for 5 to 10 minutes. Mix remaining hot water and a drop of liquid soap into a glass bowl. Place your silver in the soapy water and wash. Rinse with clean water and polish dry your pieces with a soft cotton cloth.

 Now, I don’t know any of the science behind it, just assuming the baking soda causes some kind of reaction with the foil…..and now my head hurts!  🙂  Any who, with a bit of elbow grease it totally worked!  The best part, is I decided to keep my shiny new pillar holders!


Green Reading August 11, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Be Green & Save Green! @ 1:07 pm

A friend of mine let me borrow a book she just picked up called:

365 Ways to Live Green by Diane Gow McDilda

365 Ways to Live Green


At first glance I fell in love with it simply because it was printed on 100% recycled paper!  😀  It also qualifies for BGSG find because it is relatively cheap, on Amazon it’s listed for $7.95 and on Overstock it’s going for $6.65.

The next day I was able to sit down and read it.  It is a very quick read.  (Keep in mind, I’m not an avid reader.  So if I can get through a book in one afternoon anyone can!)  She (Diane Gow McDilda) doesn’t overload the book with crazy eco-lingo that “regular” people won’t understand and the book is filled with very simple and quick changes a person can make right now to start living green!

For example:  Did you know that a car idling for more than a minute or two uses more gas than the act of starting a car?

The book covers everything from your thought processes to at work, from in the yard to driving your car, from eating to pet care, etc.

I definitely recommend this book to all newly green peeps or anyone who doesn’t know where to start!


Product Review: Natural Baby Organics August 10, 2009

Filed under: Baby,Kids — Be Green & Save Green! @ 3:28 pm
Tags: , , ,

A great little company called Natural Baby Organics found me through my sister (and blogger) So Much More Than A Mom, and allowed me to do a product review for them.  Anyone can find their organic baby products in Target stores around the country and on line, now!  🙂


Not only was I excited about this chance….but my two rugrats were too!  My 5 year old son and 3 year old daughter LOVE taking baths and even more than the bath itself, they love the introduction of new and yummy smelling bath items!



I was able to pick my product for this review and decided on the Vanilla & Tangerine body & hair wash.  I’ve got to tell you….it smells great!  I want to taste it!  (But, I won’t.)  🙂


Any who, delivery day comes and I run frantically to the door as always (I LOVE packages!).  My kids are following behind me, desperately trying to guess what may have been delivered.  I didn’t tell them that we had fun bath wash coming.  Not only to help the surprise…..but mostly to help me avoid the constant:  “When’s it coming?  Did it come yet?  When do we get the new bath stuff?”  If you have kids, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about!


So, I open the door and there I see my cute little present package and we all run into the kitchen so I can get a knife to cut through the tape…….we open the box and there we see………….Styrofoam peanuts?!




Polystyrene or Styrofoam is found in egg cartons, carry out containers, disposable plates/cups/bowls, craft supplies, some toys, and foam insulation.  It does not biodegrade.  It does however chemically react with heat and some liquids in the landfill, leaching it’s toxins into the ground and water.  This water ends up in streams, rivers, oceans, etc.  It gets fed to our cattle, pigs, fish, etc.  Yummy!  Styrofoam is bad! 


Some places can recycle it but it is not very common due to the foam/air aspect.  When it is recycled very little is recoverable.  I found out today that my area does not recycle plastic #6/polystyrene.


So, for my product review…….the soap is great!  The bottle used for keeping it in is #2 (a “good” plastic that can easily be recycled and has no known human health impacts).   But I can’t help but feel disappointed.  Here is a great company on the surface, using natural and organic ingredients that consumers buy for the health of their children and impact on the Earth…..and their efforts are almost pointless, when they ship their great product with possibly the worst option in terms of eco-health.  They couldn’t have used old newspaper for shipping?  Overall, I give them a 6 out of 10 because of the packaging.  Otherwise, they would have had a full 10.


I did ask about their decision to use Styrofoam and this is what they said:

“We use recycled peanuts and when we receive peanuts from other companies that are sending us supplies we re-use those as well as the boxes. If we do not have any boxes to use then we are forced to use new ones.”

The good folks over at Natural Baby Organics are open to new ideas for packaging… you have any suggestions?


Organic Baby Giveaway!- Contest Closed July 8, 2009

 UPDATE:  Thank you all so much for your interest in the contest and all of your entries!  The winner is………….



My very generous friends over at Affordable Baby Organics have allowed me to host a giveaway for TWO of their very cool products!


The Prizes:

Super soft 100% certified organic cotton short sleeve onesie in white. Features a lap shoulder neckline for easy dressing, a 3 snap closure, and low-impact dyes.

Super soft 100% certified organic cotton short sleeve onesie in white. Features a lap shoulder neckline for easy dressing, a 3 snap closure, and low-impact dyes.


Simple black, grey, and white stripes make these Stone Organic BabyLegs a must have. Your sense of style will be etched in stone with these versatile organic BabyLegs in Stone.

Simple black, grey, and white stripes make these Stone Organic BabyLegs a must have. Your sense of style will be etched in stone with these versatile organic BabyLegs in Stone.









The lucky winner will receive one white organic cotton onesie and one pair of organic baby legs in stone, making a complete outfit for your organic baby!  (Winner will need to specify size 6-12 months or 12-18 months.)


What are “baby legs”?

A must have for busy moms, BabyLegs are multi-purpose! They protect knees while crawling, make diaper changes easy, and keep legs warm while diapers are off. They are fashionable under skirts, shorts, or just with a bodysuit. They are also a fun addition to dance and sports uniforms or costumes. They have a variety of uses. – Affordable Baby Organics


Why I love Affordable Baby Organics?

  1.  Because they are AFFORDABLE ORGANIC clothing for babies!  Finally! 
  2. They also ship their orders the same or next day via USPS First Class for a speedy delivery.
  3. I have had nothing but wonderful communications with them!
  5. As a gift to my readers…….a 10% discount!  Enter this code at check out:  BeGreenSaveGreenBlog

Here’s how to WIN:

  • Leave a (brief) comment to this post about why organics are important to you & your baby.

  • Bonus Entry if you leave a link on your twitter page sharing this contest.  Then post permalink back here.

  • Bonus Entry if you post a link on your blog sharing this contest.  Then post the link back here.

Contest Details:

  • This contest starts on 7/8/09 and will run until 11:59pm on 7/22/09.   All entries must be received by then. 
  • The winner will be chosen at random, notified on 7/23/09,  and will then need to provide shipping information.  
  • Prizes will be shipped by Affordable Baby Organics directly.
  • US residents only.


    Affordable Baby Organics LOGO   Baby Organics at Affordable Prices!


Is Clean Energy Available To You? July 7, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Be Green & Save Green! @ 4:18 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Well, if you live in Illinois, Maryland, or the District of Columbia it is!  Through Blue Star Energy

blue star logo

I personally compared the quote I received to my current Com Ed charges and they are a match!  On top of that Blue Star Energy offers a 5% discount to new customers for the first year.  AND Blue Star uses the existing Com Ed lines to deliver the energy to your home.  Did I forget to mention where they get their energy from?  THE FREAKING WIND!!

How awesome is that?!

How does it work?

The wind energy is not actually sent to your home per say, however it is routed into “the grid”.  This in turn, lessons your community’s dependence on nuclear and coal energy.

What is “the grid”?

Grid energy storage is used to manage the flow of electricity in a power grid. For large-scale load levelling on an interconnected electrical system, electric energy producers send low value off-peak excess electricity over the electricity transmission grid to temporary energy storage sites that become energy producers when electricity demand is greater. This reduces the cost of peak demand electricity by making off-peak energy available for use during peak demand without having to provide excess generation capacity that would not be used most of the day.

In addition, grid-connected intermittent energy sources such as photovoltaicand wind turbine users can use the electric power network to absorb surplus produced and meet needs during periods when the intermittent source is not available through the use of net metering. Effectively the intermittent source displaces energy that would have been produced by other sources. The grid connected system does not store energy on behalf of the intermittent source, instead it relies on the load following capability of other generating units. That works fine at low penetration levels (i.e., when intermittent sources provide only a small fraction of total electricity on the grid), because the grid had already handled a similar variability in electricity demand. At high penetration levels, however, grid energy storage becomes necessary to absorb the peak solar and wind outputs, when they exceed load demand. Solar and wind are non-dispatchable; they need the grid to accept them whenever they are available.


Click here to find your clean energy provider:  The US Department of Energy


Jet Dry

Filed under: Home — Be Green & Save Green! @ 11:31 am
Tags: , , , , ,

I was talking with my very dear friend over at and we had a little green discussion about Jet-Dry.  It does what it is supposed to do, that is rinses your dishes “clean”.  But, is it safe? 

First thing I did this morning was research this popular product and asjet dry usual I started with the Jet-Dry MSDS sheet.  It doesn’t take long to read and please make your own conclusions about the information listed.

Personally I found it interesting that the handling precautions include wearing non-permeable gloves and goggles.  Really?!  Yes.  Do you put on safety gear when loading your dishwasher?  I would love to know how many of you think it’s strange that the manufacturer of a product that “cleans” the things we EAT off of, suggest that we actually wear gloves and goggles!  This is insane to me.  Let me say it again, gloves & goggles!  This stuff goes on our spoons, plates, glasses, forks, sippy cups, etc.  and then those things go into our mouths!  Are ya with me?!

Furthermore, I was a bit alarmed at two other things.  One, there is no “data/information available” regarding it’s eco-toxicity or aquatic toxicity.  But it does say, “Do not allow material to contaminate ground water system.”  Strange.  Two, it doesn’t say specifically if any of it’s contents are carcinogens or not.  The MSDS sheet simply says, “Not listed as carcinogenic by OSHA, NTP, or IARC.”  Interesting, but  I guess it is still better than had they said it is listed as a carcinogen. 

So, what are our options for a spot free rinse that won’t make us sick or burn our eyes or kill all the fish with our contaminated water, you ask?  I’ll give you one guess! 


Simply pour white vinegar directly into the same opening you would use for Jet-Dry.  That’s it!  Not only can you get one gallon of white vinegar for under $3 but you are actually eliminating the spots with a natural sanitizer (free of chlorine)!  The vinegar over time will also get rid of any hard water build up in the dishwasher itself.  Gotta love it!  😀  Finally, your dishes won’t smell anymore.  Have you ever noticed the chemically (yes I just made up that word) smell on your plates and glasses?  It’s there.


Happy Birthday America! July 2, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Be Green & Save Green! @ 4:04 pm


Got Nuts?! June 30, 2009

Filed under: Garden,Home — Be Green & Save Green! @ 2:52 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Soap nuts contain saponins, a natural surfactant. They have been used for washing for thousands of year by various peoples, such as the Native Americans.  Today, soap berries are being considered for commercial use in cosmetics and detergents, among many other products.  Soap nuts, especially are used medically as an expectorant, emetic, contraceptive, and for treatment of excessive salivation, epilepsy, chlorosis, migraines, and diabetes.  Studies show that saponin from soap nuts inhibits tumor cell growth and the progression of AIDS.

Soap nuts are among the list of herbs and minerals in Ayurveda.  They are a popular ingredient in Ayurvedic shampoos and cleansers. They are used in Ayurvedic medicine as a treatment for eczema, psoriasis, and for removing freckles. Soap nuts have gentle insecticidal properties and are traditionally used for removing lice from the scalp.

Soap nuts are antimicrobial and are beneficial for septic systems and greywater.  Soap nuts are used in the remediation of contaminated soil. They are used by jewelers, especially in India and Indonesia, to remove the tarnish from silver and other precious metals.

– Wikipedia

I recently discovered a vendor at my local farmers market selling “soap nuts”.  On my first visit, I thought:  “Wow, that’s weird.”  But the following weekend I thought I’d give them a try.  To my surprise they worked just as well as store bough detergent but without all the extra smelly suds and build up on my clothes.

Simply put 3-5 soap nuts in a fabric bag and toss in the washing machine with your dirty laundry.  This will act as your detergent and fabric softener, saving you tons of cash!  Three to five nuts will work for 4-6 loads of laundry.  When they can’t be used any more simply toss them in your composter!  Yay!  Very little environmental impact especially when grown organically. 

(They still are shipped to the states from other countries.  Leaving a carbon footprint behind.  The good thing is though, by purchasing organic soap nuts or soap berries we are helping to support third world countries like Nepal where some of the nuts/berries come from!)

yoreganicsIf you get a second, please check out and help support a small local business at the same time!


Bleach Alternatives June 29, 2009

Filed under: Home,Indoor Air — Be Green & Save Green! @ 8:09 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Bleach and Bleach Alternatives

Chlorine bleach is highly caustic (it can burn the skin and eyes), and it can be fatal if swallowed. After it leaves your drain, it can release organochlorines into the environment. Organochlorines are suspected carcinogens as well as neurological, reproductive, and immune system toxins.

Keep in mind that there are safe, effective alternatives to chlorine bleach. Healthier options are peroxide-based bleach or quaternary ammonia. Borax is also a great alternative to bleach. See the cleaning recipes below for ways to use borax.

Try out these alternative homemade cleaning recipes!


All Purpose Cleaner

  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tsp. borax
  • 3 1/2 cups hot water
  • 20 drops of antibacterial essential oil (lemon, rose, mint)
  • 1/4 cup liquid dish soap
  • Mix ingredients in a 32 oz. spray bottle (add dish soap last!). The vinegar smell will dissipate.

Window Cleaner

  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. liquid soap or detergent
  • 2 cups water

Mold & Mildew Cleaner

  • Mix equal parts vinegar and water.
  • Spray and wipe clean.

Carpet Spot Remover

  • Blot spot immediately with water.
  • Sprinkle with baking soda, cornstarch, or borax and let dry.
  • Wash with club soda and vacuum.
  • Or, combine ingredients in a spray bottle and shake to mix.

See full size image


*All information posted here is courtesy of the Oregon Environmental Council.  Thanks OEC!!


Help Your Freezer Run Efficiently June 26, 2009

Filed under: Home,Utilities — Be Green & Save Green! @ 6:13 pm
Tags: , , , ,


Recycle your own milk jugs to help your freezer & fridge run more efficiently!  A stocked fridge/freezer runs better than an empty or over stocked one.  If you have some empty space, fill it with a milk jug 3/4 full of water.  It basically serves as a giant ice pack once frozen.  Then you can move it into the fridge (or rotate a couple of them) to fill any gaps in there.

As an added bonus to not running your appliance so hard you will save some cash on your electric bill.  This will also help buy you some extra time in the event of a power outage!


I have my own store!!! June 11, 2009

Filed under: Kids,Men,Women — Be Green & Save Green! @ 9:37 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Wahoo!!  It took a while for me to figure out how to download Adobe Flashplayer…..long boring story.  But, I did it!  And now…..drum roll please:

testThis is my “Tree Lover Messenger Bag”

Follow the link to see more!!!!

Thanks for checking it out!  🙂


How To Buy Essential Oils May 27, 2009

Filed under: Car,Home,Indoor Air — Be Green & Save Green! @ 2:33 pm
Tags: , , , ,
Thanks so much to Gabrielle over at I can now share with you some tips for purchasing your own essential oils.
Grading of essential oils
There isn’t a lot of regulation in the essential oil industry.  For that reason, labeling can be confusing.   In general, however, there are 5 grades of essential oils you should be aware of. 

1. “Perfume quality” – are the lowest quality oils.  These are over processed, chemical laden and highly adulterated oils.   Often they appear as “fragrance” on labels.  Note:  when you read a label and see “fragrance” you can be sure that the scent is synthetically made – even “natural fragrance.”

2. “Pure” – this means the oil was not diluted with a lesser quality oil.  For example lavender oilis often cut with lavandin, a hybrid plant that has much less therapeutic value.   Pure does not mean that that the oil has no chemicals added.  It also could be 75% vegetable and 25% essential oil and still be labeled “Pure.”

3. “Natural” – this means that the oil was not adulterated with vegetable oil or chemicals like propylene glycol or alcohol.  It also indicates that the oil comes from the plant’s first distillation.

4. “Complete” – this means this is an essential oil product with nothing removed or added.  It also means that the oil was distilled at low heat and pressure, to conserve all therapeutic properties.   These oils have not been stripped or re-distilled.

5. “Genuine,” “Grade A” – these are the best oils.  Great care is taken at every step of the process, from growing the plants to distillation.  See more below.

6.  Therapeutic-grade essential oils Even beyond “Genuine” or “Grade A” oils are Therapeutic-grade” essential oils. Therapeutic-grade oils are simply the highest quality oils available.  They are produced from plants that are organically grown and harvested at exactly the right time of their flowering and at precisely the right time of the day. The fresh plant material is then immediately distilled using pure water with low heat and low pressure in stainless steel distillation chambers. 

Make sense?  Good, now go out and experiment with some of your favorite scents!  (And, if you can’t afford the highest quality oil…that’s fine.  I imagine most of us just want fun scents.)  If you are purchasing these oils, however, for anti-microbial properties or for the effects of the aromas (uplifting, energizing, relaxing, calming, etc.) then I would put a little extra money into those.

Jumeau Bag Giveaway!! May 26, 2009

Filed under: Women — Be Green & Save Green! @ 2:08 pm
Tags: , , ,

Take a second to go on over to my sister’s blog and enter her contest for a $75 gift card towards a Jumeau bag!

Why do I like Jumeau?  They have an entire line of GREEN bags and the best part is……they look good!

About Jumeau
From the beginning Jumeau was designed differently.  Our focus has always been on premium function with exceptional materials.  Everything we design complements your body.  While creating products that work with your contours we also use exclusive materials more commonly found in the most expensive technical bags and packs.  This combination of premium materials, premium design, and premium craftsmanship creates a distinct product.Jumeau also uses sustainable materials and sources recycled materials when possible to aid our vision of being Green friendly.  We stand by our products 100% that’s why we offer a 45 day no questions asked satisfaction guarantee and a 5 year replacement warranty.  You won’t need another bag; so go ahead and feel good about owning a Jumeau.-Jumeau web site



The bag pictured here……is only $55!!!!  (Technically, not a BGSG cheap find….but a girls gotta have exceptions for responsible fashion, right!)



Eco Beauty

Filed under: Women — Be Green & Save Green! @ 9:46 am
Tags: , , ,

Have you ever thought of what’s in your beauty products?  We all are concerned about what goes into our bodies, why not be concerned for what we put on our bodies?  The average woman uses 10 different products on her face daily.  (Think about it…..cleanser, exfoliating scrub, mask, toner, moisturizer, eye cream, foundation, power, eye make-up, lip stick,  etc.)  What’s in all of this stuff?  Right off the bat, I can tell you without any research they all (or most of them) have water, alcohol, preservatives (usually a chemical close to formaldehyde, yes formaldehyde!), dyes, and perfumes.  Mmmmm.

Why not try something that is natural?  Something that is good for your skin and won’t hurt our water supply or the eco systems the water drains into.  A mask that will improve the quality of your skin with vitamins and minerals rather than chemicals and toxins.  The best part is…’s CHEAP!!

Here are two recipes I found for avocado masks:

Santa Barbara’s Dry Skin Masque

Beat the yolk of an egg until it is light and frothy, then add the mashed pulp of a half avocado, blending it well (you may use a blender at this point). Cleanse your face thoroughly before using this masque (or any masque). Spread the avocado mixture over the face and neck evenly; relax on a slant board or bed for about 20 minutes. Remove with clear tepid water and a face cloth, followed by a rinse of cold water or a mild skin lotion. The result should be a marked improvement in skin texture, and all-around revitalizing.

Santa Monica’s Oily Skin Masque

Put the white of an egg, a teaspoon of lemon juice, and the mashed pulp of a half avocado into a blender. In seconds, you should have a lovely green mixture. Wash your face and neck thoroughly, then apply masque evenly on those areas. Relax for 20 minutes; remove with tepid water and a face cloth. Follow with cold astringent or skin tonic.

Pioneer Thinking

For best results try using organic avocados and eggs.  (Free of pesticides, antibiotics, steroids, growth hormones, etc.)  You can keep these masks tightly sealed in the fridge for up to 48 hours.  Have fun and try to experiment with other ingredients like, tea tree oil or lavender oil for antimicrobial properties and a great scent!  Or add honey* for moisture.

*Note:  There is no such thing as “organic honey”.  Honey bees can fly for miles exposing themselves to pesticides and insecticides before returning home to the hive.  The bee keepers have very little (if any) control over this.


Baby Wipes May 25, 2009

Filed under: Baby,Kids — Be Green & Save Green! @ 3:32 pm
Tags: , , ,

diaper babyDid you know the average child will have around 5,000 diaper changes before they are potty trained?  Let’s say a #1 diaper will use 1 wipe and a #2 diaper will use 4-8 wipes (depending on the ick-factor).  Not to mention all the other uses for baby wipes… hand & face cleaning, small mess clean up, impromptu “wipe bath” on hot days, etc.  (Any mother will know what that means!)  That’s a whole lot of wipes in the garbage!

In fact, I found a quote from someone who did the research/math:

Karen Klages of The Chicago Tribune wrote:“If someone were to load all of the disposable wipes purchased by consumers in North America last year onto 18-wheel semis, the caravan would number 9,000 trucks and stretch for 68 miles. And it would be carrying 83,000 tons of these seemingly ephemeral cloths which are anything but fleeting.”

Holy crap!  (Did you get the pun?!)  Furthermore, wipes are NOT flush-able and do not disintegrate like toilet paper does.  They are made from non-woven fabrics like cotton, wool, silk, and polyester.  Then prepared with water, alcohol, preservatives, and fragrance.  And finally, stored in plastic containers to prevent dry out.  Think this has an impact on landfills, air quality, and the water treatment facilities?  I do.

So, what do we do?  Make your own!!! 


Here’s the recipe:

 2 c water

2 Tbls organic baby wash

2 Tbls baby oil

You can store this mix for up to 2 weeks in a recycled wipe container.  To use the mix soak cut-up flannel fabric, wash cloths, or fabric wipes.  If you have a sensitive stomach (like me!) and don’t want to reuse/wash poopy wipes, you can cut a roll in half of strong paper towels (preferably recycled paper towels) and let that soak up the mix for an hour.  If you do this, first remove the center core.  The roll should be able to almost “pop-up” for you, too.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with this recipe either.  Try 2 drops of tea tree or chamomile oil, 1/4 cup of aloe-vera gel, or substitute olive oil for the baby oil.


Make Your Own Non-Toxic Eco Friendly Cleaners

I have been doing this for months now and not only have I saved A TON of $ but I am so proud of the fact that by eliminating the toxins in my home I have improved the air quality and safety for my family!  Some may find this to be extreme, but I look at it as responsible.  Extreme is paying nearly $10 for some smelly stuff in a fun plastic bottle just for the sake of making your mid-western home smell like the ocean at the cost of your families health.

Here are some of my favorite recipes:


Fabric Softener

Large bucket for mixing


1c baking soda

6c white vinegar

6c + 1c water

Your choice of clear essential oil

Add baking soda and 1 cup of water to bucket (don’t worry about dissolving). 

Next, add in 6 cups of white vinegar* to dissolve the baking soda-it will bubble, this is why you need the large bucket for mixing.

When the bubbles have mostly stopped add in the remaining 6 cups of water and finish with 15-20 drops of  your favorite clear essential oil.  (You need clear to prevent any staining of your laundry.)

Pour your fabric softener into a clean bottle (you can recycle your old fabric softener bottle for this).  Add 1 cup to each load of laundry the same way you would if it was store bought.

* Don’t worry about the odor of the vinegar, it will not stick to your clothing!


Toilet Cleaner

1/4c baking soda

1c white vinegar

2tsp water

2tsp tea tree (Melaleuca) oil

Mix in a bowl and pour into toilet bowl.  Use toilet brush to scrub clean.


Wood Polish

1tsp lemon juice

1/4c olive or vegetable oil

Apply to rag or spray on wood surface.  Wipe off.  (May be good on a salad too!)


All Purpose Cleaner

1/2c vinegar

1/4 baking soda

2 litters of water

Mix and store in a clean bottle.  Spray on most surfaces from the kitchen to the bath and in between!  (DO NOT use on marble, granite, or grout.)  Feel free to add any essential oil you like.  Again, don’t worry about the vinegar smell; it dissipates quickly!


Have fun and experiment with your own recipes.  You can also be proud of the nontoxic contribution to our water supply.