Sunday, July 29, 2012

Review- Scotch Brite Greener Clean Sponges

When Hubby worked for Cogent Systems, the company was bought by 3M.  As a result of that, he was suddenly a 3M employee, and as such, 3M sent a gift box.  Right?  A gift box.  Absolutely packed FULL of 3M products to try and love.  Glue, Post-Its, Markers, Pens, Labels, Tape, Sanding blocks, and Sponges.  In the very bottom of the box, I found these....
 There are three sponges in a package, and they are hard and about 1/8" thick.  That is, until they get wet.  Once you run water over them, this is what happens....

This photo just shows the starting size on the left hand side of the sponge, and the expansion on the right. 

I know what some of you are thinking:  "Sponges are so germ-riddled and horrible!"  Yes, they do harbor germs and bacteria if they sit too long, but I've always liked sponges as opposed to dish rags for certain jobs, and I will continue to do so.  These sponges just give the option of a recycled and bio-degradable sponge. 


Monday, May 28, 2012

Garden Update

Got the tomatoes planted.  In right right planter is an early girl.  In the tomato tree I have a sugar sweet cherry and a roma.  In the planter below....not sure.  It was a volunteer tomato and we decided to let it ride and see what it turns out to be.  On the top of the tomato tree is a pepper....which just doesn't have a planter yet. 

Lets see...the container to the left of the tree is also a pepper.  I believe its a green bell.



Here's the Pea TeePee.  I'm really pleased with how they are growing.  One of the plants is up to the third ladder already, the other two are on the second.  They get noticeably taller every day!  I also chucked another couple of seeds in the planter because I only had three plants for a four sided planter, and it is a couple inches tall, but not tall enough to reach the first ladder yet.  Probably in a few days!












Over on the other side, next to the oh so lovely AC unit, is the zucchini.  Last year I had no manner of luck with the zucchini.  It grew and grew, but as soon as it flowered and a fruit started, it would blossom end rot.  The thing in the black planter is the cucumber.  Our cucumber plant did really well last year and we got some great vegetables from it, so I hope it does as well this year.  
And here is just an update shot of the bush beans.  They don't look like much, but they have a ton of little beans on them1

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A little gardening.

We live in a condo, therefore we have to garden in containers.  Last year we didn't do too bad with tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and strawberries.  This year we're switching things up a bit and adding beans, peas, onions, and potatoes.  Here is what we have done so far:

These planters are actually empty Tidy Cat's buckets.  Hubs painted them green to match our existing planters, and then drilled some holes in the bottoms for drainage.  We use Miracle Grow Organic garden soil. 

The plants are Kentucky Bush beans that I started in starter pots in my bedroom window.  I kinda waited too long and their roots went all crazy, but I think they will be just fine in these super awesome upcycled planters. 



And this is my "Pea TeePee".  So proud of this.  I just used some bamboo stakes and tied them with some waxed hemp twine.  I made the ladders for the sugar snap peas to grow up on out of the same twine.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Little Garden Update

Just thought I would post a little update as to how my garden is doing. These are the lettuce boxes, nine days after planting. They seem to have almost doubled in size and are almost ready for a little cutting for some baby green salads.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

SodaStream

My hubs likes soda.  A lot.  On average, we go through 7-8 2 liter bottles of soda a week, which is costly and wasteful.  Yes, I recycle the bottles, but that is still a ton of plastic per week!  So last weekend he attempted to make his own ginger ale in a re-used bottle.  It tasted good, but the yeast carbonation was a total fail.  He went to Best Buy the next day and purchased a SodaStream soda machine. 

So here it is.  We've had it for a few days and have been making sodas with the samples that came with it.  I think we have decided to make our own syrups and cut out the fake stuff.  The syrups are made with Splenda, but I can taste the difference from something made with natural cane sugar. 

I stopped at Bed, Bath, and Beyond this morning and got two extra bottles for making sodas, and the Raspberry MyWater Essence Flavors so that I could try some "seltzer" style water. 

So it's pretty easy to make the soda.  Fill the bottles to the water line and chill for an hour or two.  Apparently the machine works better if the water is chilled.  I use water that I have filtered through my Brita pitcher, just to get some of the chemicals and guck out of our gross tasting city water.  Put the bottle into the SodaStream and make sure it is screwed on securely.  Then you push the button on the top of the machine until it makes a buzzing sound.  Do that 3-4 times and the water is carbonated. 

Then you have to put the syrup in.  If you're using the SodaStream brand syrups, then just follow the directions as to how much you put it.  A little tip....tilt the bottle to the side and pour the syrup in slowly.  I used the MyWater Essence, which only requires a half teaspoon of the syrup.  I poured it in slowly, and then screwed the cap on tightly before gently tilting the bottle back and forth to mix the flavor in.  Tasty!  and environmentally friendly!




Thursday, April 5, 2012

Cold Crop planting

Since we live in a condo, we really have no choice aside from doing container gardening.  Last year we bought a Topsy Turvey Tomato tree, two City Pickers planter boxes, and a Topsy Turvey tiered planter to start.  I also had a few plastic pots that had been given to me to use as well.  It was a kinda successful year, for the first, but this year I intend on doing better!

Today, hubs went to Dill's Greenhouse and picked out some 'cold crop' lettuces for me to start planting.  On his way home he picked up another planter box and a bag of organic Miracle grow potting mix from Home Depot because he decided he bought too many plants for just one planter.  Turned out, he was right...

Here are my lovely plants.  He bought arugula, radicchio, summertime lettuce, and simpson elite lettuce.  I believe he said that the packs were $3.69 for a pack of six plants.  So he spent $14.76 total for 24 plants that, in theory, will give us baby greens for salads all summer long...according to the container gardening information I have read.

So when I got home from work, hubs filled the new box (the one on the right, obviously) with the new dirt, and I got to planting.  It didn't take too long, as the soil was soft and slightly damp, so all I had to do was wedge the spade in to make the hole, break up the roots a bit, and press each plant in.  I put twelve plants in each box, each a few inches apart.  According to the container gardening site I read, it's ok to plant them closer together, especially when I am going to be constantly cutting them and letting them re-grow for baby greens.

Here they are all planted!  The great thing about the City Pickers boxes is that they have a reservoir in the bottom that you can fill up so that the boxes are self-watering.  That is what the little tube sticking up out of the corner of the box is for.  I filled the reservoirs, but I still watered the plants thoroughly from the top, careful to avoid the leaves as much as possible.  I didn't want to drag the hose out, so I up-cycled a watering can!


 An empty gallon milk jug with holes poked in the lid!  It lets out a gentle stream of water and doesn't completely drown the plants. 

We have a frost advisory for the night, so I covered my new babies up with a flannel sheet, to keep their little leaves from getting all frosty and cold!  I read somewhere that a sheet was better than plastic, because plastic can damage the plants.  

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Let's Not Neglect the Kitchen Sink

Often times a kitchen sink and garbage disposal are ignored in the household cleaning process.  I mean, what the heck?  Hot water and soap run through them both on a regular basis, so why do they need cleaned?  Unfortunately, bits of food get stuck in the rubber part of the drain, then in the disposal and grow bacteria.  Then a stench starts to develop.  Yuck-o! 

You should never, ever, ever,ever (!) put a chemical down this drain.  It's not only not healthy, but it's not safe as the chemical could splash back up on you when you run the water or start the disposal.  So how does one clean the sink and garbage disposal?  Simply and naturally, of course!

I start by cutting a lemon in half.  In this case, my husband had squeezed a tablespoon of juice from a half of a lemon in order to make some home made ginger ale (tutorial to come...if it turns out!), so I just took the "gently used" lemon to clean with. 

I sprinkled the lemon with a tablespoon or so of sea salt and just used it to scrub out the sink.  It easily scrubs off any stains or caked on guk (technical term) that is in the sink.  Afterwards I just rinsed with hot water and had a sparkly clean sink! 

To clean the garbage disposal, cut the lemon you used to scrub with into smaller chunks.  Push the chunks down into the disposal and toss in a half cup of baking soda and a handful of ice.  Let the ice melt a little and then run the garbage disposal with cold water running until the lemon and ice are completely ground up and gone.  The ice and lemon rind helps to clean and sharpen the blades, while the baking soda cleans the actual housing of any grossness that is lingering there.  Not to mention the sink smells lemony fresh afterwards!