Mental Clarity – Simple Living

Part of living your life on purpose is mental clarity. I know I mention simplifying in a way that is material things, saving money, DIY Natural Remedies etc. This is all for nothing if you are a mess mentally. I can tell you this is SUCH A STRUGGLE for me. I must credit blogger Erica Layne for some of these common sense ideas. I am working on or should I say a work in progress of focusing on things that matter and living simply. Giving up control for our type AAA personalities is always going to be a work in progress. I hope you enjoy the read.

MENTAL CLARITY

  • Have a “do nothing” day. (Regularly.) We call this a PJ day in our house.
  • Design a morning routine that helps you start each day peacefully and efficiently. I can testify that my beginning of my capsule wardrobe has helped immensely with this.
  • Choose an intention or a mantra for the week. For example,

Less is more.

Live Simply

May I practice with what I’m given—rather than wish for something else.

  • Institute one hour to hammer out all the tasks you’ve been procrastinating.
  • Single-task. Focus on one thing at a time rather than multitasking and doing half a job.
  • Set timers to help you work with more focus and produce results you’re proud of.
  • Plan a trip. Whether it’s a day-trip, a weekend road trip, or an exotic vacation, nothing reminds you to value experiences over things like travel does.
  • Take a good look at your to-do list and cross one thing off that just doesn’t REALLY need done.
  • Double the time you spend outside.
  • Drink a Tea and listen to rain.
  • Pet your fur animals.
  • Take a deep breath. Take another.
  • Take your shoes off and put your feet in the grass. This always reminds me of the “pop a squat” scene in Pretty Woman.

Let me know what you practice for Mental Clarity. Comment below.

 

DIY Makeup Remover Pads

DIY Homemade Makeup Remover Pads

As you know, in our house we have teenage girls. When we were really looking at tracking our grocery budget it was around the same time cat eyes were in style. Well, makeup wipes are about $4-$8 depending on the brand. This was a ridiculous waste of money. When ever I feel like something is a waste of money, I think…Can I do this myself?

What you will need:

  • 1 quart wide mouth jar
  • 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 2 squirts of tear-free baby wash
  • 2 cups of purified water
  • 2 packages of cotton pads
  • Microwaveable bowl
  • Instructions: 

    1. Mix 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, 2 squirts of tear-free baby wash and 2 cups of purified water.

    2. Microwave in 10-20 second increments until melted and well blended.

    3. Place about 50 cotton pads in you quart jar.

    4. Pour your liquid mixture over your pads in the jar. Press pads down to help soak up the liquid. Add more pads to fit, pressing down.

    5. Secure lid tight and keep in a dry, cool place.

    6. Use your pads to remove your makeup daily.

    Enjoy!

Non Paper Towels

To make one ton of paper towels 17 trees are used and 20,000 gallons of water are polluted. In the U.S. we currently use more than 13 billion pounds of paper towels each year and that number is growing steadily. This equals more than 3,000 tons of paper towel waste in the U.S. alone. Decomposing paper towels produce methane gas. Methane gas is a leading cause of global warming.

The Problem with Paper Towels

Paper towels are not recyclable. They don’t contain much fiber, so the cost of recycling them is not financially beneficial. Also, because they are often dirty and wet after use, the fibers are further degraded. Since paper towels aren’t recyclable, they’re purely a waste product.

Our house has paper towels on the Subscribe and Save list.  Last year when we moved to using only cloth napkins, Mr. Maker swore he would not get on board if I moved to eliminate paper towels. We use paper towels for everything from clean ups to drying dishes to window washing.  As long as your paper towels are unbleached and chlorine-free, they are safe to toss into your compost bin, not the trash. Since our HOA says no to compost bins, we needed to find an alternative.

To make this experiment easier I left the paper towels. I left them hanging right above where I put the basket with flour sack towels.  You can see from the picture.

The nice thing about flour sack towels is they hold up to stains, they fold nicely, they absorb spills and liquid, and they clean without leaving residue. (this was an issue with our first try of using shop cloths) They also cost about $12 for 15.

Pre flour sack days ( June 2017)  we were using about 1-2 rolls of the XL rolls of paper towels a week at $1.64 per roll.  This is 140-280 sheets.  Since offering the option of flour sack towels, we are still on our 2nd roll for two months. So this will mean about 12 rolls a year for The Maker family.

These numbers were enough to make me think twice about grabbing the next roll of unnecessarily wasteful paper towels. But understanding exactly how to lessen my personal impact made all the difference. Below is the link to a five minute TED talk where Joe Smith shows us how to use just one paper towel, no matter the type, when washing our hands. This demonstration presents a powerful lesson that even if you don’t go completely paper towel-less, you can reduce your use.

VIDEO: How to Use One Paper Towel

Now let’s talk about the cost savings.

Cloth use equals bigger savings in the long run. In ten years we plan to  rarely buy new towels of any sort so if you’re an excessive paper towel user and you switch to cloth not only will you save $1,299 in five years but you’ll save about $2,500 in ten years – the savings will continually edge up the scale with time.

Also, at the regular grocery store I often see people with 8-packs of paper towels. Not everyone buys in bulk. If you don’t buy in bulk and are an excessive user it can cost you a lot more ($2.50 per roll is a typical mid-range cost at my grocery store). That’s about $1,800 in five years.

Saving the planet and saving money, by one simple change.

This is still a work in progress for us, and when we host people at our house, we do put the basket of flour sacks away in the cabinet.

I would love to know if you have tried this or something similar in your home.

Back to School Bummer

Hi Mrs. Maker again, I wanted to share with you a weird obsession I have. I love anything in small individual packages or sample size. Ever since I was little, I am obsessed with snakc food that come in interesting packages and prefer a single serving anything over a family size. With that being said, it should come as no surprise to you that I am or was obsessed with GoGo Squeeze Applesauce and Yogurts. I also love the Shine, Chobani, and Motts versions.  If these handy squeeze pouches were a thing when my daughter was a baby, believe me that she would have had them Ella, Gerber, Happy Baby, Plum…the list goes on and on, they even make squeeze pouch dog food?

I was obsessed with this until doing research for a back-to school post when I realized that they are so wasteful and can not be recycled.

A flexible plastic juice pouch is multi-compositional in nature and not recyclable in the current waste management infrastructure. The multi-layer films from which most pouches are comprised are often made up of several different plastics, which are difficult to recycle because these components require separating. Same goes for baby food pouches, performance nutrition packaging pouches and snack bags. TerraCycle offered a program to mail in the pouches, but the complication of cleaning, having 200 participants, and shipping was too cumbersome for me to even tackle and the program is currently full.

I am heart broken….my tiny applesauce pouches, no mess no fuss. I can not use them…….EXCEPT I can.

Reusable Food Pouches, Yes please. I have included a picture so you can see the actual pouch I ordered and my applesauce recipe will be included after we go apple picking this fall. 

So easy to fill, and as long as you can blend it you can use it. Yogurt, Pudding, Applesauce, Smoothies, Pureed Veggies. The options are endless.

They zip open so top rack dishwasher safe.

My kids love them, and I absolutely love them. If you have used, or figured out a way to recycle the store bought, would love to hear about it in the comments!!

 

 

Quick DIY Weed Killer

Quick and Easy! The Hubby is mowing the grass and says “hey can you whip up some of that weed killer for the rocks around the fire pit?”

1 Cup Vingar

1 TBSP of salt

1 Squirt of Dawn dish soap!

Done and done!  It took me longer to type this post!

Now back to my beverage on the patio!

TGIF! Saving Money the Old Fashioned Way

Well it is Friday, and you know what that means….time to either show you how to make or save some money!! The other day, as a standard courtesy, we got our annual electric use audit. Basically, the electric company says your household use is better or worse than many of your neighbors. As you know, Mr. Maker works from home, and works on computers, so there is some accountability for all that electric use. There was no where near the justification for the use though. With that one simple notice in the mail, we have been focused on making some money saving tweaks. I will get to more of those later, but for now an oldie but goodie.

From the beginning, I have said that you won’t have to give up your lattes and pedicures, that we are just going to show you other options. I stand by that. We are a family of 4 and one of the things we do a lot of in our house with runners and teenagers is laundry. I am talking like 9-10 loads per week. We have long since made the teenagers do their own laundry.  To me 9-10 loads seems like a ridiculously large amount. Here’s the thing, we only dry about 4 loads.

The laundry drying rack. A few years back, I got turned on to a blog called Mr. Money Mustache. The whole concept of not wasting, investing, and retiring early came to me at a time in my life when I hated my job, was reckless with spending, and even more reckless with my eco footprint. The blog is still very appealing to me and I practice or modify a lot of the tips and tricks on the site. The coolest part about the drying rack since we live in the suburbs, with strict homeowner association rules,  is that it is indoors and can set up in the laundry room.

This drying rack concept tackles TWO of our main goals- Saving money and Doing something good for the planet.

  • Save energy and curb emissions
    In many households, the dryer is the third-most energy-hungry appliance, after the refrigerator and washer. Air-drying your clothes can reduce the average household’s carbon footprint by a whopping 2,400 pounds a year.
  • Save Money
    Not many people can afford to spend any more than necessary on energy bills, and many households pay more than $100 a year on the electricity claimed by their dryer. Most households will likely have less than a year of payback time for purchases that enable air drying.
  • Save your clothes
    The lint you find in your dryer is evidence of your wardrobe literally wearing away. When you stop using your dryer, you’re conserving your favorite clothes longer and saving the cost of replacing them before their time.
  • It’s safer
    It eliminates the risk that your dryer could ever start a dangerous fire. According to a report by FEMA, clothes dryer vents can become clogged with lint, causing more than 15,000 house fires every year. Not to mention NO dryer sheet use required. Dryer Sheets can put a lot of carcinogens into the air. With a family that is concerned about anything that could be cancer causing, this is HUGE for us.

I still dry towels, sheets, and underwear. I use fabric softener but NO dryer sheets for this.  The rest is hung up on the rack to dry, usually in 12-24 hours.

I encourage you to look at your own household energy consumption. What can you do to save a few bucks? The savings of $100 a year is enough with Swagbucks to pay for two months of our SUBSCRIBE and SAVE order.  Essentially paying for two months of our Non-Grocery Essentials for the cost of a drying rack.

Have you done anything to cut down or eliminate the use of an energy sucker like the dryer? We would love the details.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Preserve Tooth Brush

Hi Mrs. Maker here, after yesterday’s post on Recycling, I thought it only perfection to follow up with what I will call the BEST TOOTH BRUSH EVER!!!

Preserve has made a wonderful toothbrush.

Why We Love This Product

  • Ultra soft nylon bristles that are gentle on gums
  • All plastic is 100% recycled from yogurt cups
  • Curved handle for an easy grip

You heard right! It is made from recycled yogurt cups!!! As if that wasn’t enough of a HOMESPUN motivator… The toothbrush is completely recyclable in the Preserve mail back system. The lightweight package doubles as a return envelope for recycling the toothbrush. To send your Preserve toothbrushes to us for recycling, you will need to pay for the postage.

Please send your Preserve toothbrush recycling shipments to:

Preserve Gimme 5
823 State Route 13
Cortland, NY 13045-6574

OR

I looked online and there is a bin to recycle at all of our local Whole Foods stores.

So great you are doing something great for the planet, but what about for your teeth. My toothbrush just came yesterday and I LOVE IT already! I was previously using a Crest Spin Brush, no more. The bristles and the movement were hurting my teeth. This toothbrush had the reach, the softness, and just overall my mouth feels cleaner.  I ordered mine through Grove Collaborative to try to get to my $10 to get free shipping, but this will become my new toothbrush of choice. I can do something good for me and good for the planet, not a bad way to start a Wednesday!

 

RECYCLE

Without exception, recycling is the top action society can do to simultaneously improve: the environment, the economy, sustainable manufacturing and to prevent waste from going into oceans.

Good morning, today is trash day, the reason The Maker family is so excited about trash day is because for two weeks in a row, we have filled our recycling bin and used less than 2 bags of regular trash!! For a family of 4, that’s pretty great.

So how did this start?

Mrs. Maker was going through the bills and looking for ways to cut cost and save money. We were paying $6 a quarter for our recycling trash can, which up until recent was used for boxes from Amazon and maybe something that could be recycled but was too big for the other trash can. We were not good at making any sort of effort to recycle. We were paying for something that we weren’t using, and we were wasting so many things. This goes against everything we have been trying to do over the past few years.

You may have noticed, we like a challenge in our house.  The great thing about our local trash service is that they show you right on the can what you can recycle and how to recycle it. Things like removing the lids on plastic bottles or breaking down boxes. Our city offers free recycling bins but they are small and do not have a lid, so we opted to pay $2/month for what we have. Check out your own  cities recycling bin options if you aren’t already aware.

The first few days, I wore rubber gloves and dug through the bag each night to pull out anything overlooked that could go into the green bin. We talked as a family about things that can be recycled. For instance, you can recycle a pizza box, but not the greasy cardboard circle inside of it or Kcup recycling which we found out a lot of information about.  Everyone in our house was on board.

If you need to know exactly how this impacts our world here are some facts for you: *Facts are from conserve energy future.com 

  • Most people produce 4.4 pounds of trash per day that results in about 1.5 tons of solid waste per year.
  • Recycling one glass bottle saves enough energy to power a 100-watt bulb for four hours.
  • Recycling an aluminium can help to save a great deal of energy, in fact, enough to run your home television for about three hours!
  •  Aluminium cans can actually be recycled and put back onto the shelf at your local grocery store in just about 2 months.

Well I am happy to say that our household was down to one bag the first week and two bags this past week.  Both weeks our green bin was full to the brim.  Later post will show more about ways to reduce waste or make a greener version of something but for now, where we are and how we live this is a HUGE deal. The Maker family is changed for good.

What can you do in your house to get better or get started on recycling? We would love to hear your stories and insights below.

 

 

A Shot Of Wonderful

Last year sometime in August, we had a plan to take the girls out back to school shopping. The thing about Fibromyalgia or any chronic pain is that it never flares at the right time, as if there would ever be a right time. Here I am barely able to walk with two teenagers who want to go go go.

While getting shoes, we decided to stop into Whole Foods for lunch.  In the center isle by the checkouts, there it was. KOR Turmeric Shots, know now in my house as the “shot of wonderful.”

We forked over the $2.50 and within 10 minutes I was able to tackle the mall, carrying bags, and feeling like my normal self.  No more sitting on the bench and hoping that the day would end soon.

With that, I did what anyone would do and went back in and bought a weeks worth. Almost $20.  Now, I am not saying that my health isn’t worth $20 a week, but like everything in my life, there had to be a way I could do this myself.

So with a little trial and error and the help of the smoothie counter clerk at Whole Foods, I created my own DIY Turmeric Shot….renamed A Shot Of Wonderful.

If you suffer or know someone who suffers with chronic pain, try it.

Recipe:

  • Grated Turmeric Root, approx 1 TBSP (if not available in produce section you can buy at most organic smoothie stores or use turmeric powder which is very similar.
  • 1 Whole Carrot Grated
  • 16oz of Coconut Water 
  • 1 Squirt of Honey
  • Strain to remove pulp

*optional orange or tangerine slices. (We used cucumber)

Blend until drinkable. I used our Nutribullet 

Makes enough Juice to fill 6 of the dressing sized Tupperware containers.

I will say it stains, so put something down on your counters and do not use the “guest towels” to clean up.

HomeSpun Food Wrap

Good morning Mrs. Maker again…by now you’ve probably learned or assumed that I love a project and a challenge. This next piece was a bit of both. The project itself was super easy, but making a video…that is a work in progress. We went for it, more to show a different spin on how to do this, but being a work in progress I would appreciate feedback.

Now, onto the good stuff.

Between BBQ s, Meal-prep, and Leftovers we use a lot of plastic wrap. If you’re like me, there’s probably no love lost between you and plastic. Most food-related plastics – including cling wrap and so-called “BPA-free” containers – can release chemicals that act like the sex hormone estrogen. Plastic wrap can take up to 500 years to decompose!

In our effort to create less waste and do better at green living, this HomeSpun idea was perfect for this.

Bees Wrap is the BEES KNEES!

Bees Wrap is an eco-friendly, reusable alternative to plastic wrap that hugs bowls and pans with just the right amount of cling. You can buy ready made or Homespin it yourself.

It’s perfect for wrapping snacks, fruit, veggies, cheese, bread and even bowls.

To use, just place over a bowl or container, wrap around food like cheese, or fold into a snack bag. The warmth from your hands will mold the wrap into the desired shape.

They can be washed with cold water and a mild soap

*Since they cannot be washed with hot water they are not recommended for meat or the dishwasher.

Depending on how frequently they’re used, they can last for up to a year. After that all you need to do is re-wax them in order to keep using them.

Let’s get this party started!!

Stuff you will need.

Step 1

Using scissors to reduce fraying, cut several squares from your cotton material.  I cut several different sizes you just need enough to have a bit of overhang on your bowl or pan.

Step 2

Choose a large flat work surface and make sure to cover it with something that can withstand heat. (I used an old giant cutting board.) Tear off two square sheets of parchment paper, both bigger than your largest pre-cut cloth square.

Step 3

Place one pre-cut cloth square on top of your  parchment paper. Sprinkle beeswax beads evenly over cloth square, making sure to cover all the way to edges.

Step 4

Place second sheet of parchment paper over the top. With a hot iron on the “cotton” setting, gently iron over the top of the parchment paper, going back and forth a few times.

Step 5

Remove the top sheet of parchment paper and take a look at the fabric. Areas that did not get enough beeswax will be lighter in color. Simply sprinkle a small amount of wax on those areas, cover with parchment paper, and iron again.

Step 6

Carefully remove the hot fabric from your work surface and hang to dry. Fabric will stiffen as it dries.

Viola’ you are making a difference and creating less waste. 

This project worked out very well for me, but I am curious to see how it went for you. Let me know in the comments. Please include pictures if you would like.