Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Food Banks

I just want to post this earlier than you normally start hearing about it, and I’m talking about Food Banks.  They all need your help now and every day.  Don’t let the holidays put a guilt trip on you.  People need help every day, maybe even someone you know.
Fires, floods, natural disasters and unemployment from lay-off and companies closing happen throughout the year, just not on the holidays.
The United States is one of the largest growers and produces of food, but we cannot feed our own people.  This is shameful. 
So come on everyone go through your pantry and cabinets and get rid of anything that you don’t want or put up one extra item at the store.  You do not have to spend a lot; it’ll be less than a dollar or even just 50 cents.
You can take the items to food banks, community centers, libraries and churches.
Let’s make a difference every day for someone.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Good Soup

I just had some amazing soup.  I have never liked canned or store bought soups at all.  They just seemed too salty or too runny or just bland.  I’ve tried all of the major brands and store brands.  I still did not really like them.  I have always just made all of my soups from scratch.  I make great soups, so why buy them.
A few weeks ago, I was grocery shopping.  I had always seen these carton soups in the natural foods section of the store, so I saw that they were on sale and I bought two of them.  I had one of them tonight.  It was so good.  The company is Imagine.  I had the butternut squash.  Now these are pureed soups, but they are creamy and a smooth.  You have got to try these.  For the most part, all of the soups are organic (USDA) all natural, vegetarian, non-dairy, no msg with no artificial ingredients or preservatives.  I love these.
Also try another company called Pacific.  They have soups and broths the same.  Their soups are great as well.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Green Lighting

Here is some information I found about green lighting.  It can make a difference, if you haven’t done it already.

Green Lighting: By the Numbers
·  10 percent: The percentage of global electricity saved by switching to entirely efficient lighting systems, according to a report published by the International Energy Agency (IEA). The carbon dioxide emissions saved by such a switch would dwarf cuts so far achieved by adopting wind and solar power.

·  19 percent: The percentage of global electricity generation taken for lighting-- that's more than is produced by hydro or nuclear stations and about the same that's produced from natural gas."

·  40 percent: the increase in sales in stores with good natural light. (the Heschong Mahone Group)

·  25-33 percent: The percentage of total requirements to receive a LEED Silver rating, that builder can achieve through the use of day lighting in their design.
·  2.5 million: The number of homes that could be lit from the energy saved if every American replacing one light bulb with an Energy Star rated one; this action would also prevent emissions of greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of nearly 800,000 cars.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

High fructose corn syrup

Has everyone been seeing these commercials for high fructose corn syrup?  The commercial claims that there is no difference between corn sugar and table sugar.  Sugar is sugar, not true.  All natural foods have sugar: fruits, vegetables, dairy and even meat.  Your body knows how to process all of these different types of sugars.  High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is found in most packaged and processed foods on the market.  It is inexpensive for companies to use as sweeteners and flavorings.  The research is still mixed on what it does to the body, but I will say for myself, it is bad for you.  The video clip to the left is from the documentary “King Corn”.  It is a great documentary about what happens to all of the corn that is grown yearly in the mid-west.  It cannot be eaten.

Common Foods High in HFCS

•Regular soft drinks

•Fruit juice and fruit drinks that are not 100 percent juice

•Pancake syrups


•Fruit-flavored yogurts

•Frozen yogurts

•Ketchup and BBQ sauces

•Jarred and canned pasta sauces

•Canned soups

•Canned fruits (if not in its own juice)

•Breakfast cereals

•Highly sweetened breakfast cereals

Problems Caused by Too Much HFCS

•It can lead to higher caloric intake

•It can lead to an increase in body weight

•It fools your body into thinking it’s hungry

•It increases the amount of processed foods you eat, thereby decreasing your intake of nutrient-dense foods

•It may increase insulin resistance and triglycerides

I have been doing better in keeping away from HFCS, but I’m not perfect.  I have cut down on the soda.  I love it too much.  It’s hard.

Read up on the subject. I will be posting more about it in the future.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Reading materials

Today I want to talk about your reading materials.  I am asking you to buy any for a school or whatever.  I just want to know what you do with your magazines, newspapers and books.  I have seen in the past in people’s homes and even on television shows where people keep them.  I mean they are stacked up on tables, bathrooms and even in the corners of rooms.  This does not need to happen.  For one it can take up space and make a rook look cluttered.  Now who wants their house to look like that?
Let’s get rid of all of it, but where and how you say?  Landfills do not need anything else to read.
As I have posted before, you can always take paper products to a recycling center.  For old books, you can donate them to the library or swap them out with friends as in a book exchange, I know several people that do this.  For magazines, take them to the nearest senior center or nursing home.  Just remember to remove or black out the mailing address.   Go through all of the magazines and tear out anything that you want from there.  You’ll thank me for this.  You never know what you forgot about or missed.
What are some other ways to recycle reading materials?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Greener Halloween

Here are some more ideas about having a green Halloween.  I hope some of you try them out this year. No matter how little is changed, something is better than nothing.
 Do not use plastic bags or bins for treat bags.  You can use pillow cases or reusable bags that you  see at grocery stores.

 For decorating parties, you can use pumpkins, gourds and hay bales, instead of petroleum based  or disposable items.  The natural d├ęcor can be used in compost bin.
 And of course you can make your costumes, instead of spending a lot of money on a new one.

Keep it fun this Halloween!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Halloween costume ideas

Since it is getting close to Halloween, I wanted to find ideas for homemade costumes to post, but the ones that I have been finding were stupid and not that easy to pull off.  You still have time though.  You have about two weeks to start looking for stuff around your house.  The recession has hurt everyone in one way or another, so put your thinking caps on. There are costumes that will help you some money to make from home with only having to buy the inexpensive make-up at stores. Here are some easy ideas for costumes that can be made at home, for the most part:
Ghost, hobo, spider, clown, Frankenstein, vampire, empire, sports figure, monster, ghoul, zombie, lady bug, butterfly, or your favorite political figure.
Pick one and have fun!
Here is a link for kid’s costumes.  There are some easy and cute ideas.
Friends know how much I love Martha Stewart.  Here is a direct link to costumes for kids and adults on her site.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Weather stripping for winter

Rubber weatherstripping is a very durable material that goes around the outside of your door. It typically comes in a tube structure that is flexible. To install it, you may have to apply adhesive to the door frame, though one forms of weatherstripping come with a self-adhesive already applied. Therefore, you may just have to pull off the protective paper and stick the weatherstripping in place.


Energy Savings - One of the major benefits of installing rubber weather stripping is that it can save you substantial amounts of energy. Putting this around the outside of the doors will prevent air from the outside from coming in. This will mean that your air conditioner or heater runs less. Therefore, this will result in a lower utility bill for you.

Easy Installation - Rubber weatherstripping is one of the easiest materials to install. All you will need is a knife to cut it with. Then just press it into place and you are done.

This is the last post for winterizing a house. Even I'm getting bored with it.  I hope everyone will learn from the information.

Winter for the outside of your home.

Hear is some information on protecting the outside of your house.  Winter will be here before we know it.

Exterior Work

There are plenty of tasks that need to be done involving the exterior of your home to prepare for the winter, ranging from your rooftop to your lawn.

Gutters: Inspecting and cleaning out your gutters is an important chore, because clogged gutters can result in flooding of the basement and major damage to your roof and walls when the snow begins to melt. Check your gutters for leaks and check the drainage by making sure the downspouts are not discharging water at the base of the foundation. You can unclog downspouts by placing a garden hose in the opening and gently spraying. In addition, check the soil that immediately surrounds the house to make sure it is graded for drainage.
Use safe and thorough methods to clear out the leaves and debris from your gutters. Access your roof with a sturdy ladder, making sure to not lean against a downspout or gutter to avoid causing damage. You can remove the debris by hand, with a spatula, a large spoon, a gutter scoop, or small trowel. Dirt that is caked on can be wet with a hose to make it easier to remove. Also use the hose to flush out the gutters a final time after they have been cleaned, and check for leaks. To cut down on debris, you may want to cover your gutters with wire or plastic mesh.

Inspect your roof for any missing or damaged shingles and have them replaced. You can have a professional come, or you can attempt to inspect your roof yourself, using binoculars to inspect the shingles and flashing on your roof without having to even get up on it.
Plants should be pruned back before the winter in order to encourage healthy growth in the spring. Most of the pruning should be done after the leaves have changed color, as this signifies that the plant is dormant. When you are pruning, make a clear cut about 1/4 inch from the branch at a slight angle. Sensitive shrubs and plants should be wrapped in burlap for protection and you can also spread a layer of mulch around the base of your plants for insulation.

Tree limbs should also be cut back for the winter, especially branches that are potential problems. Trees in your yard should be cut away from power lines, the roof of your house, and your driveway. During the winter, tree limbs can be weighed down by the snow and snap, damaging your property or getting in the way. Dead trees and branches should also be removed. If you know what you are doing you can do this yourself, otherwise you would be better off consulting a professional.
Lawn: There are quite a few steps to take care of your lawn and prepare it to survive the harsh winter. You should keep raking up leaves and clearing your lawn of debris throughout the season. If leaves are left in place they block air from getting into the soil, drying up the grass and making it prone to "snow mold disease." You should also keep mowing your lawn regularly, your last mow taking place before the first frost. If grass is left too long it will be flattened over itself with the pressure of a snow cover, resulting in similar problems as leaf cover.

 You should go through the process of winterizing your lawn, which is fertilizing and reseeding it twice before the winter to keep the grass strong and reserving food for over the winter. Purchase a quality winterize for your lawn and be sure to apply it to your lawn before the frost of the winter to keep it healthy, thriving, and ready to be green in the spring. Drain out your outdoors hoses and sprinklers and bring them inside so they cannot freeze or crack. Also drain out the water in birdbaths and cover them. Again, drain and shut off all outdoor water faucets.
Clean and then store your outdoor lawn and patio furniture to protect them from winter damage.
Now is a good time for a major garage clean-out in order to make storage space for equipment coming back inside, as well as for all your winter snow-removal and recreational equipment.

Prepare yourself with quality winter tools. Make sure you have a good snow shovel or two. Stock your home with rock salt and sand for icy surfaces. Get your ice scrapers for windows and cars ready.
If you have a larger yard and driveway, make sure you have an adequate snow blower or snow mobile. Inspect and service your snow blower or snow mobile to ensure they are functioning properly, and stock up on the necessary fuel.

Lay out a mat or rug at the exterior and interior of the entrances to your home to protect the floors of your house from mud, snow, and salt stains. You may also want to place a boot tray by the door for people to place their wet boots and shoes before they enter the home.
Check out the condition of the walkways, steps, and driveway of your home for small holes and cracks. These should be repaired to prevent water from penetrating and freezing, resulting in larger cracks and larger problems in the future. You can repair smaller holes and cracks yourself, but for larger problems consult a professional.

If you have a pool it should thoroughly be prepared for the winter. The water should be drained, and it is essential to have a professional pool cleaner come to clean and winterize your pool. The pool should be covered with a strong cover to keep out leaves, precipitation, and animals during the winter months.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Don't forget about the water pipes this winter.

Do forget about your water pipes this winter.  I always hear a story ever winter about a person’s pipes being frozen up.  Don’t let that happen to you.

Insulate Pipes to Prevent Freezing:

As the winter approaches, you should make every effort you can to prevent the risk of your pipes freezing, which can cause a blockage of your water supply, and in the worst case, lead to the breaking of your pipes. When pipes freeze the flow of the water is completely blocked. As water expands as it turns into ice, the pipes are very likely to burst. This can be an expensive problem to fix, and a disastrous occurrence in the frigid winter months. Not only outdoor pipes can freeze, pipes that may run along exterior walls or crawl spaces that are exposed to colder temperatures are at risk. Both hot and cold-water pipelines alike can freeze, so be sure to protect both.

Prevention: Begin to insulate your pipes early to prevent freezing, starting before freezing temperatures hit. You can insulate your pipes with foam rubber sleeves or fiberglass insulation, wrapping the insulating material around the pipes. For extra protection in the areas of your home that are not heated, pipes may first be wrapped with special heating strips, and then outer insulation wrapped on top of that. More on Insulating Your Pipes for the Winter

If you home has faucets that are attached to the outside of your home, chances are that there is a turnoff valve somewhere on the pipe on the interior of your home. Turn off the water at this valve for the duration of the winter; if you do not have a switch, you should seriously consider installing one to save you trouble. Switch the valve shut, and then open the outside valve to drain out the remaining water. This will protect the pipes that lead to the outdoors from freezing.

Try to spot any trouble with your pipes before it's too late, keeping your eye out for signs that may signify pipes that are beginning to freeze. Is the water pressure becoming reduced? There is a good chance the water in your pipes is starting to freeze and you should take action immediately.

If there is an especially cold spell and you fear your pipes are going to freeze, despite what efforts you have taken, there is still a last-resort trick. Leave one of your faucets, farthest from the supply of your home's water, open and running slightly. If the water is running, it will be less liable to freeze, and the flow of the water should also work to thaw wherever the water already may have frozen in the pipes. It might be a waste of water, but in an extreme case it is a better alternative than a frozen, busted pipe on a freezing winter night.

Thawing Frozen Pipes: In most cases pipes will freeze overnight when it's coldest, unfortunately sneaking up on you despite the precautions you took. Though this is a bad situation, there are some measures you can take yourself to thaw them. First check to see if the pipes are leaking or have burst. If this is the case then you will need to have the pipes repaired before you can attempt to thaw them.

You should first shut off the water supply to the problem pipe. If you do not have a valve for a specific frozen line, then you'll have to shut off the water flow at the main water valve of your house. Open a couple faucets in order to provide a location for the melting ice to flow. There are quite a few methods you can use to thaw the pipes, but you must be careful that they are not heated too quickly and that the water in the pipes does not boil, as the pressure of the resulting steam could cause bursting. Be cautious that the pipes don't become too hot to touch; in addition it is wise to wear protective gloves. If the pipes are plastic then use special caution as they are prone to melting. When you are thawing the pipes, work from the faucet end back toward the frozen area. Here are some do-it-yourself methods:

•Use a hairdryer, focusing on the frozen area of the pipe. Always remember to work from the faucet (or valve) toward the frozen area.

•Wrap rags around the pipe where it is frozen, and pour hot water on them. Make sure to keep pouring more hot water on the rags to keep them hot.

•Wrap a grounded heat-strip around the frozen pipe.

•Carefully direct a space heater to the frozen area of the pipe in order to thaw it out.

Preparing for winter part 4

Here is information on winterizing your windows for winter.  This information could have you money on your heating bills.

Insulating and Sealing Up Your Home:

One of the best ways to keep your home warm while keeping your bills down is ensuring that it is insulated and sealed as effectively as possible.

Attic: A well-insulated and ventilated attic will save you both on your heating bill and prevent ice dams. Consider adding a second layer of insulation to your attic. R-30 insulation is considered the minimum a home should have. Newer homes are more likely to conform to this minimum, but if your house is older it is probably time to add insulation.

Major amounts of heat can also be lost through cracks in the walls of your home, reducing the efficiency of your heating system and bumping up bills. Sealing your home up tight on both the interior and exterior is important to reduce the risk of drafts, leaks, dry rot, and mold.

Windows: Now is the time to install your storm windows and doors, replacing any screens in your home. It is especially important to have storm windows if the windows in your home are older and not constructed of modern insulated glass.

Look for cracks in your home around window frames, doors, pipes, and electrical outlets. You should seal up the open drafty cracks where air and wind can seep through as best as you can. On the interior, apply caulk around your window and door glass and trim. Other areas where cracks should be treated are around where the chimney and fireplace penetrate and the gaps around the dryer, bath, and kitchen vents.

Exterior: Check the siding on your house's exterior, looking for cracks and gaps. Caulk and patch the cracks to prevent leaks and the damage that could result from them. Install or replace the weather stripping on all your windows and doors and any other areas where there are gaps. You can prime raw the siding of your house to temporarily waterproof it. You can seal brick exteriors with a high-quality masonry sealer in order to prevent the damage caused by the "freeze-thaw" process.

Fall is an ideal time to paint; however do not paint with latex paint when the temperature drops lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Getting ready for winter part 3

If you have a fireplace in your home you need to clean it for your family’s safety.  I remember my parent’s chimney catching fire one night, but lucky enough everything was ok.  It could have been really bad.
Floor Heating Systems
If your home is particularly prone to drafts and cold floors, you might consider the advantages of installing a floor heating system to regulate some extra warmth. Floor heating is available in hot water or electric cable, and installation into rooms or specific places within a room is not a difficult procedure. Electric cable systems are the easiest option for installation in individual rooms. You can have your electric floor heating system installed in either heat pads or heat cables, which are first installed into the sub-floor, covered with thin-set, and with tile or other masonry. You can also find compatible pads and cables for floors with carpeting or vinyl. Both 110 and 220-volt systems are available and controlled by a wall-mounted thermostat. You can find these systems through retailers of electrical equipment and some home centers, and floor heating mats usually through ceramic tile supply distributors. Floor heating should be installed through a joint procedure of an electrician and tile installer.
Chimneys and Fireplaces
Have your chimney and fireplace inspected by a chimney service before you attempt to use your fireplace for the season, and have it cleaned if necessary. A cleaning is important because chimney flues that have become lined with creosote are fire hazardous.
Make sure the condition of the spark arrestor on top of the chimney is inspected so that there are no tears in the fabric that would allow embers to escape, also becoming a fire hazard.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Here is part 2 for heating units.

Here is the second part for getting your heating unit ready for winter.  It is a bit long, but I hope it will help some of you.
There are plenty of steps you can take to ensure the safety and efficiency of your heating unit:
- Before your turn on your water heater or furnace, make sure there is nothing flammable stored next to it. Clear out the space and make room for your heater to function at its best.
- Make sure to change or clean your furnace's filters regularly. Clean filters improve the air flow and efficiency as well as lower your utility bills. Disposable fiberglass filters should be replaced, while electrostatic or electronic filters need to be washed regularly. Filters that become dirty restrict the air flow, reducing efficiency, and in the worst case, lead the heat exchanger to overheat.
- Remove the sediment at the base of your water heater's tank. Collected sediment greatly reduces the efficiency of the burner and can damage the interior lining of the tank when it heats up strongly.
- If you are having trouble with your heating, look first for the most simple and obvious solutions. Make sure that all the access panels are secure with all the screws in place. Make sure your thermostat is set in the heating mode. Simply setting the dial above room temperature will not turn your heat on if the control is set in the air-conditioning mode.
- When you've first turned on your heating system, you want to be sure that everything is running safely. Look out for strange signs and smells which don't quite seem right. However, remember that it is normal for dust to collect on the heat exchanger over the summer, and the first time you turn on the heat the dust will burn off, resulting in a strong, distinct odor. This is normal; simply open your windows to let the odor dissipate more rapidly. The smell should soon go away, but if you are still detecting strange odors from the heater then you should shut if off and consult a professional.
Once you are sure your heater is working, you can make sure that the heat distributes equally around the house. Open all your dampers and registers and turn the heat on in your house for a few hours. Then walk around your house to find which rooms and spots are the coldest. You should then adjust the thermostat so that the colder rooms become equally warm to the others, and adjust the dampers and registers in the hotter rooms to bring them down to the same level. Doing this trick ahead of time will save you a lot of trouble and irritation later on when it gets much colder out, and you have those cold spots in the house while others are way too hot.
- While you may think of ceiling fans as being strictly for the warmer weather, they can benefit your home during the winter as well. Ceiling fans will move around the hot air which gets trapped at the top of the room, lowering heating costs and reducing the condensation which forms at windows and glass doors. If you do not already have ceiling fans in your home, you may consider getting them installed for their year-round benefits.
- Finally, a most important note: homeowners should invest in at least one high-quality carbon monoxide detector for their homes. Also have your smoke alarms ready and distributed throughout the house. If you've already got your detectors, replace the batteries and check to make sure they are working properly. Experts say that if the detector unit is older than 10 years then it still may not be activated by smoke just because it sounds off when the test button is pressed. Test older units with a smoke device or simply replace them to be on the safe side. Also examine your fire extinguishers, or purchase, charge, and replace them as necessary.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Need to start getting ready for Old Man Winter. (Part 1)

I’m going to be posting information on getting your home ready for winter.  There will be several different posts on the subject the rest of this week and next week, so take notes.  Information found on the web site below.


First and foremost, it's very important to have a professional come inspect and service your heating unit each year before you begin to use it. This is done to ensure that your heater is both safe and functional. The earlier you arrange an appointment with a licensed heating professional the better, as they are liable to be booked up as the season approaches. You certainly don't want to take the risk of your furnace breaking down on you during icy winter weather. The professional will perform maintenance tasks to keep your heater performing optimally during a standard check-up. This includes:
  • Inspecting the thermostat for proper operation
  • Inspecting the filter, and changing or cleaning filter as needed
  • Checking all electrical components and controls
  • Oiling the motors as necessary
  • Inspecting the heat exchanger for possible cracks (This is important as a crack in the heat exchanger will introduce carbon monoxide into your home.)
  • Checking the air flow to see if it is diminished, and if it is necessary to clean the evaporator coil
  • Checking of air fuel mixture

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

For your pets and family

For people who have indoor pets.  What type of cleaners do you use around your house?  Do the cleaners contain a lot of chemicals inside?  Chemicals are harmful to pets as much as they are to humans.  Would you ever drink from an unwashed glass that once contained floor cleaner, window cleaner or even bath room cleaners?  Of course you would not, then why would you let your pets lick it up?
Cats and dogs lick the floor and anything else that they can get to.  It is just the way it is.  I became worried about this when I started owning pets of my own.  Who wants another vet bill? I was too worried about them becoming ill from a cleaner I use on the floor, so I did my research and changed cleaners.
I bought a bottle of Seventh Generation All-Purpose cleaner to use on the floors. (I have a puker.) It worked better than any other cleaner that I had use before, even on spots than had dried on the floor. (I have hard wood floors.)  Even on my shag rugs the mess comes out with the cleaner.  In an earlier post I mentioned that I had problems with fumes from cleaners.  When I changed cleaners the fumes stop, and I was not so worried about the cats licking the floor.  By switching you will be taking care of your pets, yourself and the environment.  The prices are about the same, and I have noticed that grocery stores are having the greener cleaning products on sale.
Try a new greener cleaner and see how it works for yourself, and then post your finds on here.

For Murfreesboro Residents

I finally remember to do this.  I went by the recycling drop off here in Murfreesboro to let everyone know the hours and what they will take.
The hours are Monday through Saturday 8AM till 3:55 PM. (Odd hours)
They have bins for the following:
Newspapers, Phone Books, Magazines and other mixed paper
Colored Glass
Clear Glass
Aluminum and steel cans
Plastic (No plastic bags)
I do not understand why they will not take plastic bags. It does not make any sense to me at all. I mean, it is still plastic. It all gets melted the same.  Remember to rinse out all containers before recycling them.

Monday, October 3, 2011


Today’s topic is about eggs.  I love eggs.  “Straight down to my legs I love eggs!”  Remember the commercial?  Last year I made the switch to cage free eggs.  I love them!  They taste better than the other store brands.  The yoke is brighter in color.  You would just have to try them for yourself.  Now I have found out that some companies have started using cage free eggs.  It was good news to hear.  Here are a few of the companies that have made the switch: Denny’s, Ben & Jerry’s, General Mills and even Wendy’s.  Trader Joe’s own brand of eggs are cage free.  I’m sure you are wondering what the real difference.  Ok, I’ll let you know if you ready.  Watch this video.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Making a compost bin video

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Stop raking leaves!

Fall is here and you know what that means?  It is time to get your yard ready for winter.  The one thing I try to tell people to do, so their yard will look good for next year, to not rake your leaves.  I know people here are bad about piling up leaves near the street to show off the grass and make their yard look cleaner.  Do not do this.
Break out the mower one last time and cut all of the leaves up.  I do it every year or I have someone to do it. (I do not have a place to keep a mower.)  By mowing over the leaves you are making mulch for the yard for free!  The next summer your yard will look better, than it did the year before.  Mowing is easier than raking.  Who likes to rake leaves?  It takes too long and you get hot while doing it. The one thing though when you are mowing leaves, you may need to wear a protective mask and eye wear, if it is too dry when you do this.  You do not need to breathe the dust or get it in your eyes.  I just want people to be safe this fall while doing their yard work.
What are some tasks that you do to prep your yard for winter?