Tuesday, January 27, 2009

DIY Household cleaners

One of the things I have been trying hard to do is to use less chemical based products, especially around the house. I have found some great DIY household cleaner recipes I'd like to share. Let me know what you think.

EIGHT ESSENTIALSThese eight items make up the basic ingredients for nearly every do-it-yourself cleaning recipe.

Baking soda: provides grit for scrubbing and reacts with water, vinegar or lemon by fizzing, which speeds up cleaning times
Borax: disinfects, bleaches and deodorizes; very handy in laundry mixes
Distilled white vinegar: disinfects and breaks up dirt; choose white vinegar over apple cider or red vinegars, as these might stain surfaces
Hydrogen Peroxide: disinfects and bleaches
Lemons: cut grease; bottled lemon juice also works well, although you might need to use bit more to get the same results
Olive oil: picks up dirt and polishes wood; cheaper grades work well
Vegetable based (liquid castile) soap: non-petroleum all-purpose cleaners
Washing soda: stain remover, general cleaner, helps unblock pipes; should be handled with gloves due to its caustic nature. Washing soda is usually found in the laundry aisle of grocery and drug stores.
Don't forget to pick up an empty spray bottle at the hardware store, and keep those old rags and used toothbrushes for wiping up and scrubbing.

All-Purpose Cleaner
1/2 cup borax1 gallon hot water
Mix in pail (or use smaller amounts in a spray bottle: 1/8 cup borax to 1 quart of hot water) dissolving the borax completely; wipe clean with rag.


1/4 cup white vinegar1 gallon warm water

1 cup white vinegar2 gallons warm water
Mix in mop bucket, rinse afterwards.

Furniture Polish
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
Mix and apply with a clean rag to dust and polish. Reduce the olive oil if wood looks too oily.

Metal Polish
Copper and Brass
2 Tbsps salt
White vinegar
Add vinegar to salt until you've created a paste. Adding flour will reduce abrasiveness. Apply with a rag and rub clean.

Stainless Steel
Baking soda
White vinegar
Apply baking soda with a damp cloth, using the vinegar to eliminate spots.


Toilet Bowl
Baking soda
White vinegar
To clean and deodorize, sprinkle toilet bowl with baking soda, add white vinegar and scrub with a toilet brush.

Tub and Tile
1/2 lemon
Dip the face of the lemon half in borax to create a hand-held scrubber for dirty areas. Rinse and dry the surface afterwards.


Marble: Mix one Tbsp castile soap with a quart of warm water, rinse well, then dry with a warm cloth.
Other surfaces: half a lemon and dip the face in baking soda to scrub off residues. Follow up by spraying with glass cleaner mix (below).

1 cup baking soda
1 cup vinegar
Add baking soda and vinegar to a pot of boiled water and pour down the drain, then flush with tap water. For more stubborn clogs, use a "snake" plumbing tool to manually remove blockage, or try suction removal with a plunger. To prevent clogs, install inexpensive mesh screen, available at home improvement and hardware stores.

1/4 cup vinegar or 1 Tbsp lemon juice
2+ cups water
Fill a clean spray bottle with water and either white vinegar or lemon juice; wipe with a rag or old newspaper.

Baking soda
Sprinkle baking soda on surfaces, spray water, then let soak several hours or overnight. Rinse with water.

Stovetop and Oven Grease Remover
1/2 tsp washing soda
1/4 tsp liquid soap
2 cups hot water
Add washing soda and soap to hot water in spray bottle. Since washing soda is caustic, wear gloves.

Bleach alternative
1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide

Monday, January 19, 2009

How much trash do you produce?

Do YOU generate 21 bags of trash a month?The average American does - and one study found that a staggering 75% of things in landfills could have been recycled. All that garbage produces toxic emissions and worsens pollution. One of the things I do to reduce my trash is I buy in bulk and package using reusable containers. For example I bring my own lunch to work every day. I shop at Sam's and buy large containers of grapes, cherry tomatoes and snap peas. I use snack sized zip lock bags and split up my fruit and veggies so that I can just grab and go in the morning. I also reuse the zip lock bags. I wash them out and hang them to dry over my sink. They dont get very dirty. I also reused a plastic container that my salad mix comes in and put the bags inside so that they stay organized in my fridge. It works out great.

I read an article one time about how much "convenience" costs us. For instance buying bagged spinach versus fresh spinach. The results were amazing. The next time I went to the grocery store I took the time to price things out and I saw with my very own eyes how much money I was wasting. Besides wasting money its amazing how much fresher things are when they are not prepackaged. Sam's has amazingly fresh fruits and veggies so it makes it easy to buy in bulk there.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Check out my window trim... all from a job site left over

For those of you who dont know, my grandfather was green when green wasnt even cool. Of course he is green for different reasons than me. He is green for the green in his pockets! LOL. Now dont get me wrong. I love saving money but I also love saving waste. You have probably read in many of my blogs about things that my grandfather has given me or found. Well years ago he found tons of left over trim. Truthfully I cant remember where it came from but my husband tells me got it from a dumpster at a job site. This would not surprise me. Needless to say after years of me complaining about how ugly our window trim is (joys of a mobile home) I dug through my closet where the trim was being stored and paired up all the "like" pieces. Come to find out that I actually had quite a bit. It isnt all identical so I have to make sure I use the same ones within the same room so they dont look "ghetto or redneck" depending on where your from! LOL. Tonight Rob and I started the project and replaced the window trim in our dining room. I am so excited about the results. Now keep in mind that I will be painting it obviously but the picture gives you a rough idea. For those of you who are not home improvement savy the white blotches are liquid nail/silicone to fill in gaps. Let me know what you think. We actually had just 1 tiny piece of this trim left over when all was said and done. We almost thought we were going to run out but we stretched it. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Mission Accomplished. We have a chicken coop!

Woo hoo. I am so proud of myself for getting this done this weekend. But most of all I am proud of the fact that we reused material to build it. All in all we only spent $30. This included about 25.00 for 2 sheets of plywood (one for the roof and the other for the back hatch) and hinges and a latch. Thats it. Everything else was reused from leftovers (other projects) or things we have picked up or accumulated over the years. I even already had the hay from our halloween party. Now all we need are the hens. I visited Lory (Pig Tales) this past week and she is in need of an electric fence to keep the wild pigs out to avoid more babies this year. Well I just happen to have one that we no longer need so I plan to trade her for some hens. So all in all this turned out to be a great project. I cant wait to get my chickens and start collecting eggs. Checkout my pictures!

Let me know what you think.

P.s. no making fun of my boots.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

I challenge you... stop using those paper towels

Ok, I'll admit it. I used to be a paper towel addict. There I admitted it. I challenge you to face it too. Are you one? A lot of my reasoning behind it is that I was once at someone's house, who did not like to use paper towels, only hand towels, and it stunk. The towel I mean. I mean it was gross. So me being me, I was grossed out and became the paper towel addict that I once was. Suddenly one day I realized it. What was I thinking? Now I am in recovery and can honestly say I go through only about a roll a month. I do still keep them around because I do believe for sanitary reasons they are sometimes necessary. So here is what I do. I keep 3 towels handy at the sink. One for washing for dishes (get rid of those sponges. They are germ factories.), one for wiping down counter tops & the table with and last I have one strictly for drying my hands. Every day or two I toss these towels in with my others to be washed. This keeps them fresh (and non-stinky) but keeps paper towels from going to waste. Not only am I saving trees and preventing waste but hello I am saving money. Lets face it I am washing towels anyway so what is a couple more towels each load going to to do? As for the sponge thing this is pretty new to me although Rob said he always grew up this way. Sponges are dirty little demons and wasteful. With a cloth (small cloth, larger ones get clumsy) you get the same effect but can wash the towel regularly instead of throwing away the sponge. I do still keep a sponge handy because sometimes I need the extra scrubbing power but I find if I at least rinse off the food right away I dont need to scrub so much. I do not use my dish washer because my well water is pretty rough and I found myself re-washing dishes all the time (wasteful!). So here it is. I challenge you to replace your regular usage of paper towels with that of a hand towel. Remember to keep the hand towel somewhere it will be specifically designated as the "hand towel" Only clean hands should be touching it. I hung a small rack above my sink for mine. It works out great. Let me know how you do!

exciting update about Pig Tales Sanctuary!!

Abrupt twist in the tale: Woman gets her pigs back


BUNNELL -- The battle between the Flagler Humane Society and Lory Yazurlo over a herd of swine has ended.

The estimated 450 pigs that live at Pig Tales Sanctuary are now back in Yazurlo's custody after more than a month under the care of the humane society.

But the sanctuary founded by Yazurlo in 1995 will no longer operate as it once did, and Yazurlo still faces charges related to the seizure of her animals.

In a phone interview Monday, Flagler Humane Society director Donna Howard said she decided to return the pigs to Yazurlo after it became clear that the only way to remove the pigs from the sanctuary would be to euthanize them.

Howard said she couldn't let that happen.

So the two sides have agreed to "a happy medium," Howard said.

To keep the pigs, Yazurlo must abide by a list of rules that include refraining from taking in any more pigs or adopting them out, neutering all males and tagging the herd, Howard said.

In turn, the humane society will continue to pay for feed one day a week until March and inspect the 20-acre sanctuary on a weekly basis.

Then, the inspection will take place monthly and later be reduced to twice a year, Howard said.

Howard admitted she has reservations about giving up the pigs to Yazurlo. But the plan, coupled with assurances by Yazurlo's attorney that Yazurlo is capable of caring for the animals, has smoothed over those concerns, Howard said.

But if the deal doesn't work out, the humane society will step in and again take control of the pigs, Howard said.

In the meantime, Howard said she and her staff will "play big brother."

"We're going to keep an eye on them," she said. "Hopefully, this will turn out to be a good thing for the pigs."

Reached by phone Monday, Yazurlo said she's satisfied with the arrangement, including the no-pigs-in-or-out rule.

"Pretty much nothing has come or gone in five years," she said.

The inspections are no bother either, she said.

"I've always let them on my property," she said. "I had no problem with them."

The humane society took control of Pig Tales in November after officials discovered many of the pigs were "emaciated and malnourished" and suffering from illnesses, according to reports filed with the Flagler County Sheriff's Office.

Nine pigs were killed with single gunshots to the head during that visit after a veterinarian recommended it because of "their extreme suffering," the reports state.

Another pig in a deteriorated state was euthanized -- not shot -- by the vet the week after the initial visit.

The scene at Pig Tales prompted humane society officials to file complaints of animal cruelty and unlawful confinement of animals against Lory Yazurlo. Those complaints have been referred to the State Attorney's Office. No additional pigs have been killed.

About five pigs recently tested positive for pseudorabies, a contagious viral disease that causes a high mortality rate among infant pigs.

The sanctuary remains under a state-imposed quarantine order after some of the pigs tested positive for the disease in 2003. The state's refusal to lift the quarantine order made removing the pigs from the sanctuary impossible, Howard said.

"Once they told us the pigs couldn't leave the property, there wasn't much we could do," she said.

And the $3,000 weekly bill for the pigs' feed has become a financial burden the humane society could no longer support, she said.

The decision to work with Yazurlo is what's best for the pigs, Howard said.

Yazurlo, however, still faces charges. An arraignment is scheduled for Jan. 6, State Attorney's Office spokeswoman Linda Pruitt said.

Howard said the charges were filed to allow the Humane Society of the United States to offer monetary support to the Flagler organization.

But the HSUS is no longer in the picture and the charges aren't necessary, she said.

"She didn't intend to starve the animals," Howard said. "We're going to work with the courts and tell the judge 'listen, this is where we're at . . .' "

Yazurlo said she's not worried about the case.

"I think I'll be fine," she said.


Here's How to Help

If you would like to help, contact:

· Bunnell Feed & Supply, 386-437-2032

· Curley's Place, 386-586-1180

· Charlene Yazurlo, 439-4583 or e-mail at jyazurlo@cfl.rr.com