Wednesday, May 27, 2015

4 Tips to extend the life of fresh kale

Say no to droopy leafed kale sitting in your fridge and being ignored because it looks so sad. Follow these steps and you will have fresh crispy kale for weeks.

Wash it and Store it
As soon as you can after purchasing or harvesting it remove leafy part from stock and discard the stock. Put it in the sink or a bowl with water and stir it around in the water. Remove it from the water, give it a shake and put it into a plastic bag or big reusable container. The kale will stay fresh and crispy almost two weeks in the fridge like this- when it gets a little funky it has started to go bad. Also removing the stock is way better for smoothies, took me a while to figure this out.

If you grow kale in your garden....

Less is Lots
Don't grow a whole row unless you eat 5lbs of kale a day, it produces allot! I recommend a 3 foot row or 3-4 plants.

Pick don't Pull
Don't pull the whole plant- just pick the leaves, it will keep on coming all season.

Frost Wont Kill It
Leave the plant and harvest it until it is covered up with snow-it will keep crisp and it will grow again in the spring, a nice early patch of fresh greens! It does go to seed the second year and I just discovered this so I'm not sure yet if it will keep producing eatable leafs after seed- so I planted another small patch, just in case.

Now go get your kale on!

Thanks for reading my blog.
Julia Taylor

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How to Clean Your Home With Vinegar

Switching to vinegar and baking soda for cleaning your home is a big positive step, and has a big impact on your health, your budget, the health of our lakes and drinking water, and the health of our planet (less plastic packaging=less pollution). So kudos to you for even considering this big change- and vinegar is a disinfectant so watch out germs!

The biggest challenges to the switch is scents and bubbles. Cleaning with vinegar smells like vinegar, however it only smells for a few hours after you clean, if you think about cleaning with your normal cleaners you really only smell them for a short while after so don't worry you and your house wont smell like fish and chips and...vinegar...vinegar (you might sing that song in your head though). You will get over this quickly, if you try vinegar and than you go back to foaming scrub bubbles or whatever the potion you will be shocked at how hard it is to even stay in the room. As for the bubbles it is definitely a big change but never fear a good cloth and scrub down will show you how effective it is, especially if you have hard water - you can see the calcium build up on the cloth.

The Mix
Next time your out of your regular spray cleaner fill it up with half vinegar half water...seriously...that's it! You can add some essential oils but really they are only going to add a little bit of smell, not really worth it because they are a little bit pricey. I use micro fiber cloths for the wet cleaning and an old cut up towel for the drying, or "polishing".

Add a 1/2 cup of vinegar to the toilette water and let it sit for a few minutes, depending on your routine you can add the vinegar and than clean the shower and sink and than sprinkle a scoop of baking soda on the inside of the toilette bowl and in the water. Clean the rest of the toilette and than give the bowl a scrub and dry. If you have hard water and that didn't get the yellow ring out add another 1/2 cup of vinegar. Let it sit for as long as you can and give it another scrub. It really is the vinegar that does the work, the baking soda is more of an abrasive for extra power.

Spray down with vinegar solution and scrub with cloth, rinse, and dry for a good polish (if your that fancy). If you have a ring or need some extra scrubbing power for the tub sprinkle some baking soda for the abrasive. This solution will work excellent on glass shower walls and doors as well. I have a stand up shower with a plastic rough surface base and I sprinkle baking soda on it and than hit it with a scrub brush.

Fill your mop bucket with super hot water and add 1/2 cup of vinegar, again you can add an essential oil if you like. Any mop will work, but I highly recommend the KD-Cloth mop, you can grab these at most of the home show events in Kawartha Lakes or online, they say you can just use hot water but mine is a little old now so I add the vinegar.

Kitchen Sink
Sprinkle baking soda in the sink and spray with vinegar solution. Use the baking soda as an abrasive and give it a good scrub, including the drain, then rinse and dry, it works so well!



mother in law clean

Kitchen Counters
Spray with solution and wipe. I actually don't do this because I have white granite so you cannot see streaks or film (vinegar would take care of those) I just use my daily sink cloth and if I have a germy mess I use dish soap on the cloth to disinfect. I also use the sink cloth and soap for the dinner and coffee table.

Spray with vinegar solution and scrub with cloth, and dry off. Again I'm also going to recommend the KD Cloth, it is amZazing!

Kitchen Drain
Put a scoop or two of baking soda directly into the drain and add a 1/2 cup of vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes and rinse with hot water.

Other chemical and waste free cleaning...

Trade in the Swiffer for a micro fiber dust cloth- it works exactly the same (I put them to the test side by side) bonus- you can buy a cloth for the same price as a box of swiffers but you can use it for years instead of having to purchase new Swiffer cloths every so often.

Furniture Polish
2 parts olive oil 1 part lemon juice- dust off and rub down with mixture.

For anything I missed I'm sure the answer is vinegar or baking soda, seriously every time I google natural or chemical free way to clean (insert anything) it is always vinegar! It is so easy and it will make you wonder why you have 5 million products at your house.

Thanks for reading my blog!
Julia Taylor

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Who else wants to save 40% on your Hydro bill and save the planet?

In the past I have been committed to lowering our power usage but I obviously let it slip because in January I received my highest hydro bill ever $212!  So I re committed to keeping our money and helping reduce our impact on this important planet we call home.

Now I know some of these things are a little zainy but I'm a pretty committed person-and to amp up that commitment I challenged my neighbor to see who could get our hydro bill lower. Her house is twice the size of mine and she has always been able to keep hers well below ours, even when I was trying so I knew it was going to be a good challenge. Keeping in mind that we are both at home with the kids and that does give us a bit of extra time so I totally get that for some of these tips you will be like 'haha ya right'

Here is how I (and her) did it, and by the way our bills came down to exactly the same price, so no winner but we learned allot!

Clothes Line and/or Drying rack
Hands down # 1 money saver, and now that the weather is nice we can hang our laundry on the line, or if it is going to rain-a drying rack.(or maybe you live without a clothes line or space for a clothes line) Here are tips on how I make it work for my family. Drying racks are under $20 and can be purchased at Home Hardware or Canadian Tire. Getting a clothes line is going to cost you about $150 in parts at CT or HH and a couple hours of labour from the handy man in your family (if your lucky enough to have one) or hired help - definitely worth the money!

Powering Off During Peak Hours
The first thing I did was identify what exactly my house and I were using power for (well pump,water heater, fridge/freezer, stove, microwave, tv, internet, phone, computer, vacuum). Obviously I cannot turn off my fridge for 12hrs a day (believe me I thought about it) and I cannot keep my infant and toddler up until 8pm so I can cook dinner after 7pm, and Im not going to avoid washing my hands with running water, Im pretty sure that is one of the main reasons why running water is important, but there is some things I can manage..

Changed my cleaning/vacuuming time to the morning or weekend (afternoon in the winter)
Unplug everything during day, charge phone/laptop after 7pm
Wash laundry after 7pm or before 7am
Shower's and bath's before 7am- or after 7pm
Fill up bucket of water to flush with during peak ( I know what your thinking but it takes power to pump water up for use as well as heat it, so while the shower is warming up collect that cold water)
Filled up a jug with cold water in the fridge for drinking
Cook dinner after 5pm (before 5pm in the winter)
No stove top or oven cooking during the day
Water the garden off peak or with the rain barrel

Cook on the Woodstove
I know it is summer now but if I throw it out there now maybe you can think about it all summer and than try it next winter. If you heat your house with wood, it is a heat source running all day and night in the home during the winter that you are already paying for, why not use it to cook? I started experimenting with it close to the end of this past winter, starting with vegetarian crock pot recipes (just in case) and than moving on to meats. At first I only used crock pot recipes and let them sit all day, but the neighbor was cooking eggs, and pancakes, and even boiling noodles! Her kids loved it and complained when they went back to the stove top. You can bet I will be all over it next fall!

These are the main changes I made that brought my hydro bill from $212 a month to $128 a month! That is $1000 bucks a year that I get to keep for my family - and I get to help save the world!

Thanks for reading my blog!
Julia Taylor

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The secret to getting top dollar for your second hand goods...
Re selling and buying second hand goods is one of best ways we can reduce our footprint, it keeps things out of the landfills, reduces natural resources used for new products, and saves (and earns) us money.

Maybe your not into buying second hand?  Well you can still resell your used items- besides it takes people that wont buy second hand to support the second hand bargain hunters! 

Here are my top tips to prepare your goods to be resold.

Take care of things while you use them
Bust out that stain stick for that dab of spaghetti sauce on that shirt, sew up that tear on the inside of that pocket, use it like you borrowed it and you have to give it back.

Wash it, wash it real good
Take it apart, scrub it with a tooth brush, get in all those little crevices, take any fabric items off and launder them. For clothing or fabric items- pre treat any stains and wash and dry.

In pieces..also in this pic my recent DIY dish soap fail:)

After it is cleaned it looks brand new!

De-lint it
Roll it with the lint roller and pick off all the fuzzies. For those hard to get fuzzies use a shaver, it easily removes and rejuvenates fabrics.

Iron it!
If it is already clean freshen it up in the dryer, button all buttons, tuck in tags, zip all zippers, refold creases, and hit it with the heat. This is by far one of the best ways to make a garment look new!
Look how much difference ironing one leg made.
Cut off stragglers
Remove any stray strings and old crumply out of date tags (except clothing, brands are important for resale)

Fold stuff up all nice like
Fold up material items, repackage them in the box if you happen to have it, even put clothing on hangers.

Make outfits
If you have existing outfits keep them together, or if you have a pair of pants and a shirt that are the same brand and look decent together put it together. (This probably only applies to baby clothing as you often get a set with two or more things that probably wont sell as well on their own)

There is two places in Lindsay that you can take your baby/kids clothing and items to resell. Both have excellent customer service, great deals, and quality items. If your stuff looks good they are more likely to accept the items because they are more likely to sell. Recycled Kids consigns items and pays you out when items sell. Growing Like Weeds purchases your items from you when you bring them in.

Kijiji and local Facebook buy and sell sites are excellent ways to re sell too!

If some of your items get denied please donate them to Vicki's Values, as well as your clothing items that never made into the re sell pile because of stains or being sucky, they recycle them into rags or stuffing, even your old socks!

Thanks for reading my blog!
Julia Taylor