Gift Exchange Idea – Misto

  • Misto is the #1 Selling Oil Mister Brand in the U.S (Source: The NPD Group, Inc./Retail Tracking Service. 52 weeks ending April 2016)
  • Reusable oil spray and mister bottle gives you the convenience and health benefits of an aerosol sprayer in a more economical and environmental form
  • Fill MISTO with your favorite oils, vinegars, lemon and lime juice, sherry, or marsala wine. Great for salads, breads, or cooking
  • Easy-to-use pump style cap features a 2-step operation: simply pump the container, then and press the valve on the pressurized sprayer for an even mist.
  • Environmentally friendly: The non-aerosol sprayer doesn’t use chemical propellants, and it’s refillable, so no more throwing cans away to end up in landfills. MISTO is BPA-free. Threading the cap on incorrectly allows air to escape and in turn does not allow the bottle to build up pressure to spray.

Well in my effort again to be the most environmentally conscience that I can be without being weird, I would like to offer my recommendation for the Misto.

We have used PAM or knock off store version of PAM for years, the spraying seemed wasteful and also full of chemicals, that while we were buying organic foods and worried about what we ate, we put chemicals on the pans to cook with? This seems counter intuitive.  My friend recommended the Misto. I read up on it and realized that a lot of people give this as a gift exchange present. It is perfect to give the gift of something you know they will use, but also something that is good for them.

It’s not just for oil, this can me used for salad dressing, breads and endless other options. It’s healthier because you can control the amount of oil or seasoning.

I have been using mine for about a month and I LOVE IT. This was by far the best $10 purchase, which I used my Amazon Rewards points to buy. My MISTO was actually free.

Last night we made roasted asparagus and I simply did a few pumps of the Misto rather than tossing in olive oil.

With the holidays around the corner, I would recommend this for a Favorite Things or any under $10 exchange. They will be thanking you.

Burt’s Bees Makeup- I am in Love

Well over the weekend, I bit the bullet, by bullet I mean under $40 for ALL NATURAL BURTS BEES MAKE-UP.

I saw an ad on my Facebook timeline that Burt’s Bees now offers a makeup line, made up natural ingredients.  I was already hooked on their lip balm, due to the healing nature of my overly dry lips, so I thought, why not give it a go.

Today is day One with my new minimalist make-up routine. I bought the press powder foundation because I love the look of powder over liquid.

I have been in my office for about 4 hours and so far I have received 3 compliments on my skin!

The mascara comes with a an easy to use silicone or rubber brush- not sure which, but if you have seen me in person recently and noticed the hard times I have been having with my eyes this mascara in combination with the eye pencil is the answer to my prayers. No flaking and no clumping. I am still waiting for a good cry or a rain storm but for me this mascara is standing the test of time.

The blush was so smooth and silky, loved it.

The eye shadow was easy to use, and I am always a fan of anything natural around my eyes.

Of course you know I love the lip balm already but the tinted lip shimmer added the pop of color I needed. I ordered the holiday 4-pack already to sample the plum, fig…etc.

I will update more as I wear more, but so far today, this is an excellent choice for my sensitive skin, eyes and me.

A few things about Burt’s Bees to know in case you haven’t already tried their other products.

Their products are not formulated with parabens, phthalates, SLS, petrolatum, talc, synthetic fragrances, or silicones.

  Our products are not tested on animals.

They believe that what they keep out of their products is just as important as what they put in.

Read more

DIY Drain Unclogger

Drain Unclogger, that is the official name I have selected, sounds fancy doesn’t it.  Who else has super long thick hair and/or a household of teenagers? Welcome to Mr. Maker’s least favorite chore, unclogging the drain.

You and I have probably all used a  type of clog-reducing chemical found in stores to  to flush out drains. You may have even thought of yourself as a Handyman or woman because you tackled that drain clog.   I am here to explain why there is an Easier, Better, Greener, HOMESPUN option.

Consider these four issues or concerns with regard to the use of  store bought or  similar drain cleaner products. You know what they are called.

1. Environmentally unsafe ingredients

Many commercial drain cleaners contain unsafe ingredients that can be detrimental to residential and water environments. Some contain lye and other highly toxic materials. Liquid waste that has high levels of such toxins can make its way into the sewage system and out to rivers, streams, and the ocean, and take its toll on plants and wildlife, possibly even contaminate food and water supplies.

2. Risks to children

Many cleaning agents, sport warning labels to inform consumers about physical threats the ingredients may pose. Unfortunately, children often cannot or do not read labels when they are playing and exploring. Practice good home safety tactics by removing these harmful chemicals from use altogether and replacing them with less toxic alternatives.

3. Further pipe damage

The chemicals in some of the other uncloggers may not solve all clogs, and they can lead to a worsening of pipe issues. They can build up in a clogged area, and corrode the pipe. With repeated use, these chemicals may eat their way through a pipe, and cause a leak or a collapse of the system.

4. A danger to pets

Like children, pets are susceptible to accidental poisoning by household chemicals. They are not able to read cautionary labels and cannot ask for help when they encounter and ingest harmful materials. Caring for pets should include taking proper safety precautions, such as moving cleaners to higher shelves where furry critters cannot reach the containers.

Animals can also track harmful substances around the house. Avoid pouring or spraying cleaners on surfaces over which a pet may soon walk. Otherwise, your four-legged housemates may track harmful chemicals around the house, develop irritated paws, and end up ingesting toxic substances by trying to clean themselves.

Now that I have explained all the reasons why  you should try to DIY, take a gander at how easy this recipe is. You probably have this in your house already.

Instructions:
  1. Pour a pot of boiling hot water down your drain.
  2. Dump in about 1/2 c. baking soda.
  3. Then, pour a mixture of 1 c. vinegar and cover the drain or plug the drain.
  4. Cover with a drain plug (to keep the reaction down below the drain surface) if you have one and let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Flush one more time with a pot of boiling water.

Why this works: The baking soda and hot water treatment will loosen up any grimy sludge that’s hanging out at the bottom of your drain, and the explosive chemical reaction with the vinegar will jolt it all loose. Then one final super hot-water rinse will make all the bad stuff go bye-bye.

 

DIY Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer

For those of you who know me in real life and not just blog life, you know I HATE STORE BOUGHT COFFEE CREAMER. Recently while listen to an Adam Corolla pod cast, he shared my disdain for coffee creamer, this got me thinking…..How many others share the HATE for store brand coffee creamer, and how many people don’t really know how BAD it is for you?

There are new brands and lines of coffee creamer on the market nowadays touting “natural flavors” and whatnot, but my stance hasn’t changed.

Honestly, my internal red flags go up when I buy Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer and neither pumpkin nor spice is listed as ingredients.

Besides natural flavors, there are other ingredients you should be leery of too in your coffee creamer. Specifically, hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup.

Hydrogenated oils are also known as trans fat, and for awhile now the FDA has known trans fat is not healthy for the human body. It wasn’t until 2015 though, when the FDA finally made the decision that partially hydrogenated oils are no longer generally recognized as safe either.

Despite these rulings, there are loopholes that allow hydrogenated oils to be in your food, including your coffee creamer.

High fructose corn syrup is created in a factory using a 7-step process to convert corn into a sweetener. In the conversion process, strains of bacteria known to cause anthrax, food poisoning and used as a pesticide are added to the starch. The end results is a 90% concentration of fructose.

For comparison purposes, honey is roughly 37% fructose.

Even if you find a coffee creamer that doesn’t contain either of these two ingredients, it probably contains one of these:

  • Corn syrup
  • Sugar
  • Artificial flavor (which could be anything)
  • Artificial color (again, which could be anything)

AND STILL if your coffee creamer doesn’t contain these, I’m guessing it cost an arm and a leg.

HOMESPUN PUMPKIN SPICE COFFEE CREAMER

Warning- his recipe actually contains REAL pumpkin and REAL spices. 

 The key to making that happen is the combination of whole milk and cream.

Note – I did not say skim milk or half-and-half or 2% milk or all cream or anything else.

Print
HOMSPUN PUMPKIN SPICE COFFEE CREAMER
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin puree this can be real or from a can
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and immediately remove from the heat, stirring often with a flat whisk as it cools to prevent scalding of the milk and burning of the sugars.

 

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!