I had a birthday last month and my husband bought me something I had been wanting for a while, an Amazon Kindle 3. I was so excited to get this gift. I did a WHOLE lot of research and I am so happy I decided on the Kindle. I wanted to be able to consolidate all of the books I was reading into one space. Plus, saving trees in the forest and space on the shelves in my house isn’t bad either. But I just wanted a reader. I didn’t want an iPad because I didn’t want to have the temptation of being able to get on the internet in a couple of clicks, or check my calendar, etc. Plus, the backlit screen is not good to stare at for hours and it is rather heavy and bulky (just to read from). I didn’t want the Nook because it is also rather bulky and has the annoying screen at the bottom. Amazon hadn’t disappointed us yet so we ordered the Kindle 3. It is by far the coolest gadget I have had in years. Hands down. It is so small and so easy to read. I ordered the complimentary case that snaps onto it and it is like you are really holding a paperback to read. My husband jokes that the screen looks fake because it really does look like you are reading the page from a book. It is easy to navigate and holds 3,500 books. The battery life lasts ONE MONTH with Wi-Fi off and 3 weeks if you forget and leave Wi-Fi on. Okay, okay, I know I sound like a commercial for the Kindle so I will stop with all the details. But if you think I wouldn’t be on an actual commercial for the Kindle, you would be wrong. I want to get on my roof and shout how happy I am!
I have been trying to make the transition into safe, non-toxic home fragrances for a while now. After reading an article from the American Lung Association which stated that candles are quickly becoming the number one culprit for indoor air pollution, I started researching why. I found out that Paraffin wax is the predominant wax used to make candles and it is actually a byproduct of crude oil (petroleum). Paraffin wax is what is left at the very bottom of the petroleum refining chain. And to get these “leftovers” up to candle grade, they process out asphalt and other minerals and even add chlorine containing bleach to get the finished product. When a paraffin wax candle is lit, the fumes are similar to those of diesel fuel. Even the wicks that are used are hazardous. There is a plethora of good information out there so I won’t bore you with anymore details. But it is worth checking out, that’s for sure.
We built a home this year and moved in 6 months ago. During the construction process, I did a lot of research on the materials that were being used to build our home and the toxins they release. Needless to say, YIKES! I knew that the paint would have a low VOC level but I was mostly concerned with the carpet fibers, carpet glue, etc. But I quickly found that there was more to it. The lumber used to build our home was pressure treated with agents which contain formaldehyde. Luckily, I found that after about 90 days the lumber no longer releases those toxins. But what to do in the mean time?
So this adventure was inspired by the “Pioneer Women” episode from “I Love Lucy.” Ricky and Fred told Lucy and Ethel that modern housewives had it made and didn’t have to work like their ancestors. Well, that led to a bet between the couples and before you know it, they were dressed in apparel from the 1890’s and making bread and butter from scratch. As I was watching it I thought, “Hey, I wanna do that!” Well, I didn’t want to churn butter using a contraption from the 19th century while wearing a full length dress like Ethel did, but I knew my kitchen aid mixer would do the job nicely. I know that you can buy fresh organic butter, and it really isn’t expensive, but I wanted to make my own just for kicks. I took some heavy whipping cream I had in the fridge and let it sit out about 10 minutes to warm up just a bit. Then I poured it into the mixer and gradually increased the speed until it was on medium-high. Then I covered my mixer, so it wouldn’t splatter, and about 8 minutes later I had full blown curds and buttermilk! I separated the curds and put them into a strainer. I pressed the butter until all of the moisture was out, added a little salt, and hand mixed until it was creamy. It was that easy! And a whole lot of fun if I do say so myself.
Okay, so to say that I love hummus would not be an overstatement. I eat it practically every single day for lunch. But I really don’t like store bought hummus, at all! I like to get traditional hummus from Mediterranean restaurants, and I also found that Mellow Mushroom has some awesome hummus when I was eating there with my husband and wanted to stick to eating healthy. A couple of years ago I wanted to try to make my own hummus to see if I could capture the taste of the more traditional versions, and it worked! After many different tries, I finally found my favorite recipe and here it is:
I really like lemons. Really. I cook using lemons all the time. They add such a freshness to pasta dishes and brighten up chicken, fish or even desserts. And who doesn’t like fresh lemon or lime wedges in their water? I always try to keep fresh lemons in a bowl on my kitchen island and I love the splash of color it adds as well.
So in an effort to get my home chemical free, I have been doing a lot of research on cleaning products. It started to get a little bit overwhelming when I was looking into making my own, so for now, I have landed on quite a happy medium. I have recently purchased a few items from Seventh Generation and LOVE them!!! I was able to get them right down the road at Publix. I signed up on their website so that I could download some coupons to use. With other coupons I found I was able to save $4 off of my purchase. This savings made them actually cheaper than my usual cleaning products. Again, I LOVE them.