15 Uses for Baking Soda

(ref: armandhammer.com, about.com)

How many of these money saving applications do you already know about ways to use ordinary baking soda?

  1. Causes dough to rise in recipes (making it lighter and more porous)
  2. Deodorize a wastebasket, garbage can, or sink
  3. Make a homemade modeling clay (with addition of corn starch, water, and food coloring)
  4. Use as a fabric softener
  5. Make your own water color paints (with addition of flour, sugar, dry drink mix, and water)
  6. Clean greasy dishes
  7. Make your laundry detergent go farther and clean better
  8. Polish silver
  9. Use as a fruit and vegetable scrub
  10. Freshen upholstery
  11. Use as a personal deodorant
  12. Freshen your breath
  13. Relieve heartburn
  14. Deskunk a dog (with addition of hydrogen peroxide and dish soap) [Editor note: we have much personal experience with this one!]
  15. Take care of a carpet spill

FYI: There is a difference between baking soda, washing soda, and baking powder. Baking Soda is made of 100% Sodium Bicarbonate. Washing soda is made of 100% Sodium Carbonate. Baking powder is around 30% baking soda with the addition of an acidifying agent (usually Cream of Tartar) and a drying agent (usually starch)

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Top 10 Commonly Broken New Year’s Resolutions

(ref: http://www.time.com 1/3/2011, 1/3/2012)

To file under “Promises, Promises”, here is a list of the top ten New Year’s Resolutions made and broken according to Time Magazine.

  1. Lose Weight and Get Fit
  2. Quit Smoking
  3. Learn Something New
  4. Eat Healthier and Diet
  5. Get Out of Debt and Save Money
  6. Spend More Time with Family
  7. Travel to New Places
  8. Be Less Stressed
  9. Volunteer
  10. Drink Less

And from Time Magazine, 1/3/2012 here’s a list to help you beat the odds…

5 Tricks To Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick

Based on an article by Gary Belsky & Tom Gilovich

  1. Limit your promises
    Although it’s tempting to pursue several related goals at the same time (losing weight, quitting smoking, exercising more), it’s likely more productive to stagger resolutions.

  2. Write them out
    Research suggests that it helps when we put pen to paper before embarking on projects.

  3. Involve a friend
    Teaming up with others is particularly powerful given our social natures and reluctance to let other folks down.

  4. Get out of your own way
    If you want to cut late-night snacking, throw out your snack food. If you want to stop abusing credit cards, close your accounts. If you want to save more, use direct deposit rather than asking yourself to write a check or transfer funds every month. Removing Y-O-U from a New Year’s resolution is a great way to achieve it.

  5. Expect missteps
    Research suggests that contemplating unpleasant or surprising future outcomes will make you less likely to overreact to them. There’s no guarantee, but encountering a problem you’ve even briefly anticipated might just give you that small boost of comfort or self-esteem that will translate into useful self-control.

12 Principles of Permaculture by David Holmgren

(ref: http://www.permacultureprinciples.com )

Permaculture iconsPermaculture is an approach to designing human settlements and perennial agricultural systems that mimics the relationships found in natural ecologies. It was first developed practically by Austrian farmer Sepp Holzer on his own farm in the early 1960s and then theoretically developed by Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren and their associates during the 1970s in a series of publications.wikipedia.org

Central to permaculture are the three ethics: care for the earth, care for people, and fair share. They form the foundation for permaculture design and are also found in most traditional societies. Here are the 12 principles of permaculture as described by David Holmgren. Continue reading

10 Ideas for More Virtuous Consumption

(ref: The Virtuous Consumer by Leslie Garrett)

  1. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle – Reduce the number of things you purchase, and reduce the eco-footprint of whatever you do purchase by ensuring that it’s the most planet-friendly option you can afford.
  2. Create a Community That Feeds Your Soul – You are doing this when you live, work, and shop to support those around you. (Ex: Avoid a long-distance commute by telecommuting; purchase from local businesses; get involved in local politics; plant a tree)
  3. Use Manpower (or Womanpower) – Get around by cycling, walking, inline skating, or taking public transportation when possible.
  4. Purchase Green Power – A call to your utility company can ensure that the equivalent energy required for your home comes from renewable sources.
  5. Don’t Sweat the Really Small Stuff – Choose those things/ideas that work for you and your family. Guilt sucks.
  6. Consider the Life Cycle of Any Product – Before making a purchase, consider asking yourself…
    What materials went into making the product? How was this product manufactured? How was it transported? How long will the product be used? How will it be disposed of?
  7. Be Generous – Give what you can, whether it’s your time, your stuff, and/or your money.
  8. Be Kind – To yourself, to that person in front of you in the supermarket’s express line with 23 items, to the person halfway around the world (or next door) who looks different from you but who also loves his family, his country, his life…
  9. Be Informed – Keep up to date as best you can. Inform yourself about issues that matter to you.
  10. Awaken Your Inner Activist – You care deeply for the future of this planet (which is probably why you are still reading this list). That makes you a political force. Every dollar we spend is a political act.