Seasonal Foods

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pamper Yourself Wednesday

So today's post isn't to really give you a pampering recipe, but basically to find out what sort of things YOU do to pamper yourself.

I know I LOVE to take a really long bubble bath, and just soak without anyone interupting me. Sometimes I enjoy just reading a book...ALONE, with kids that can be rare! What I want to know is what sorts of things you do to relax, so that I can find things that might interest you.

I enjoy researching ideas, and figuring out how much they cost individually, and finding out which is better for the cost. I know..I'm a bit of a geek...but I like that about me!  :)

So tell me what you like in the comments below, and I will try my best for you to find a pamper recipe just for you!  :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Links for March 2012 Article

For more information on the "no 'poo" method (I agree with my husband...they need a better name for it!), here are a few links to get you started!  :)


http://www.naturemoms.com/no-shampoo-alternative.html
http://www.wikihow.com/Wash-Your-Hair-Without-Shampoo
http://www.collegefashion.net/beauty-and-hair/the-no-shampoo-method-hair-care-routine-for-curly-girls/
http://www.collegefashion.net/beauty-and-hair/the-no-shampoo-method-hair-care-routine-for-curly-girls/
http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Go-No-Poo/
http://noshampoo.org/
http://no-poo.livejournal.com/

March 2012 Article is here!

The “No Shampoo” Method

I happened to run into an article on a group of people who believe that shampoo is bad for your hair, and that going without is better, overall, for your hair. This group of people make up the “No ‘Poo Movement” and they say that all the chemicals that are in shampoo actually make your hair more oily, because they make your sebaceous glands produce more sebum oil. If we weren’t to use the shampoo, they say, the glands would stop overproducing, and our hair wouldn’t be greasy, and would be healthier overall.

Well, since I believe that the sudsing chemical in shampoo causes cancer, and that chemicals overall are not good for you if they are not naturally occurring, I decided to try this out. I started at the beginning of February, and have been doing it for just over three weeks as of the writing of this article.

I know, everyone is probably saying, “Ewwww, that’s gross!” but the way I have been doing it does require items to both clean and condition the hair. As a matter of act, these items are found in most homes already!

For the shampoo you’ll need two tablespoons of baking soda and two cups of water (comfortably warm). Put both into an old, clean shampoo bottle and shake. To use, dampen hair, and use the baking soda solution to wash your hair. Massaging the scalp is very important! It helps to clean the scalp and hair, as well as encouraging circulation and hair growth. Rinse out, massaging your scalp as you do so.

For the Conditioning rinse you’ll want two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and two cups of water. Put both into an old, clean conditioner bottle and shake. To use, after washing hair, use the vinegar solution on your hair, massaging it into your scalp as you did with the baking soda solution. Then rinse out, massaging the scalp as you do so.

You’re probably thinking that I must smell like vinegar or like something pickled, but I don’t! The water and scalp massage rinses it away! I do have to say that I altered the recipe for the conditioning rinse with a few drops of essential oil, because I’m a girl and I like to smell nice. While the vinegar rinses away, the fragrance of essential oils tend to stay, though just a little.

Now to the important part: How my hair reacted to the change.

I would wash my hair every second day, as I did when I used shampoo, but in the first week my hair felt oily by the second day. My glands needed time to get used to the change, and they eventually lessened the amount of oil they released. By the third week my hair was doing well.

However, in saying that, I have read a lot of articles covering the subject, and found that many people had to wait months for their hair to get used to the change. As well, some people recommend brushing your hair in the morning and evening to help distribute the beneficial oils throughout the length of your hair.

The goal of the “No ‘Poo Movement” is to eventually just use water to wash your hair. I myself have not gotten to that point, and I’m not sure if I ever will. I’ll just have to wait and see.

If you wish to read more about this subject, or other topics on frugal living, visit my blog at www.fine-frugality.blogspot.com.

angela@thestew.ca

Saturday, March 10, 2012

DIY Tuesday...a little late.

Sorry, my dear readers, for the tartiness of this post. I should have done it all in advance, unfortunately I hurt my back unexpectedly, so I did not get to post it. From now on I intend to have it ready for you all sooner! My lesson has been learnt!

Since I did not get the chance to make my original plan for DIY, I am going to post one of my articles from "The Stew Magazine" from last april. Apparently alot of people enjoyed it, but I never actually put it up on the site. I did post more pictures to help people understand how it was built, so here it goes:

How To Make A Cat Tree

I know...most people do spring cleaning in spring, but we have an indoor cat that picked us just before Christmas from the SPCA, and she hasn’t had much to do. So we decided that a cat tree was just the thing she needed! We looked around at the ones in the stores, and although beautiful and well made, that they were out of our price range.

With a little ingenuity, after waiting for the right things to show up at the reuse shed, we gathered up the materials to make one fairly cheap. The main materials that are needed to make a cat tree are thick cardboard tubes that carpeting stores may have, carpeting or sisal rope, something that is reasonably thick and wide for a base (plywood is an excellent choice), and screws or industrial staples.

Our monstrosity of a home-made cat tree is six feet tall, has three tiers, and uses an old 80s style black-and-brass headboard as it’s base. The top tier is a thrashed drawer from an unusable desk (a little wood glue made it serviceable), the middle tier is an 18.9 liter water bottle (with the top cut off), and the low tier is a little white laminate wall cabinet (we screwed it shut).

With a huge stroke of luck, we managed upon two rolls of the same carpeting when visiting the reuse shed. United Carpet was kind enough to give me three six-foot lengths of thick six-inch diameter cardboard tubes, although I only used two of them. Lastly, we went to Speedpro Signs, who also gave us two thick four-inch diameter cardboard tubes.

We did have to buy some things for the constrution, such as the L brackets to secure the tubes to the base. We used three L brackets for the bottom, then three brackets for the top, for each tube. Using the brackets also required us to use nuts and bolts, along with washers, to secure them to the tubes and the base.

Now, just so you know, screws and bolts are not the same thing. Screws allow you to screw something into another thing, making it’s own hole. A bolt, however, requires that there be a hole already there. In other words, we had to use a drill to make the holes for the bolts. Also we were afraid to use screws because the sharp end could hurt our cat, with the exception being the brackets for the base, where it was more sensible.

They always say to measure twice and cut once. Unfortunately, we learned the hard way that with carpet, you need to add to the measurement if it is really a thick carpet with built in rubber underlay. Our first cuts were about two inches short, so take into account that your dimensions may be bigger than you measure due to the thickness of the carpet.

We also learned that cutting the boxes was affected, as our first attempt left the edges without carpeting. As well, cutting a slit to where the post (the tube) meets the box, and cutting a hole for the post, was by far a better approach than starting from inside the box. Doing it from the outside in will give it a much more finished look, because all you have to do to finish it after the edges are inside the box is cut a piece of carpet to fit the bottom.

To start building our cat tree we had to come up with a design for the materials that we had. I wanted the tree to be six feet tall, to give our cat a challenge, and to get her away from my kids. I also wanted it to have three tiers, so that as she got older, she had easier choices on how to get to the top. I wanted the largest box (the big drawer) to be on the top, so that she could hide from view if she wanted to. With those things in mind, my husband came up with the design of the taller tubes in back, with the smallest one in front. He also figured that with the height that I wanted, and being unsure about cardboard tubes over 4x4 post, that it might need extra stability, hence the smaller tube between two of the tubes.

Holes had to be drilled into the three tubes on each end, so that the L brackets could be attached to the base and the box piece (be it a drawer, water bottle, or the like). The important thing here is that on the inside of the tubes you use washers on the bolts so that the nut has more surface to hold onto (less wear). Once you have your tubes attached the way that you want, and the boxes attached, then you need to get to work on the carpet.

Remember our struggles with measuring carpet? It’s better to have extra than to have too little. You can always cut the excess off after, but too little leaves a gap. We have a household staple gun that we used, using ½ inch staples. I have to say that with the carpeting as thick as we had, I think we may need to rent an industrial one that can take longer staples. If your carpeting is less than ½ an inch thick, you’ll be good to go.

Our final product, as you can see, also includes some sisal rope. It is not required to make the cat tree, and we had to buy it (two rolls for $16 from Rona), but we thought that it would be better than trying to put carpet on the outside of the water bottle. The rope was glued on at quarter intervals using a hot glue gun. The rope was also glued on the ends to keep it from unravelling. We also used some leftover foam board from a previous project as a balcony for the water bottle, as the cat was having a hard time getting inside it.

The cat tree we made is an oddity, but our whole family put in two weekends to make it for our cat. I am sure that if you choose to make one, it will far surpass ours in looks, but our trial and errors will hopefully help you. I will be posting some web addresses for cat tree designs that are either free or inexpensive, along with many more pictures of the cat tree, on my blog at www.fine-frugality.blogspot.com.

angela@thestew.ca

I also have the link to see the photos of how my husband did it, with the materials I managed to acquire!  http://www.fine-frugality.blogspot.com/2011/03/april-article-picture-additions.html Hope you all enjoy, and next week will be posted on time!  :)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday's $10 Dinner For Four

Well, here it is my first "Friday's $10 Dinner for Four". Sometimes things don't go the way you planned, or maybe most times, but at least there are some cheap decent meals that can be made. So here we go!  :)

Falafels
by:www.hillbillyhousewife.com

2 cans Chickpeas, drained (2/$4 on sale)
1/2 teaspoon Salt (already had on hand, but can buy a 1kg box for $1, approx. $0.002)
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (had on hand, but can buy a spice shaker of it for $1, approx. $0.01)
1 teaspoon Parsley (already had on hand, but can buy a spice shaker of it for $1, approx. $0.014)
1/2 teaspoon Garlic (cost me $0.33 onsale for an entire bulb of them, approx. $0.055)
2 Eggs ($2.99 for a dozen, approx. $0.50)
1/4 cup Flour (had on hand, but at most $0.07)
A baking sheet
Oil to coat baking sheet

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Take the drained chickpeas, mash them in a bowl, mix in the rest of the ingredients. Shape the mixture into small meatballs, and place them on the baking sheet, rolling them to coat them in the oil. Cook for about 20 minutes, until they are a nice golden brown.

I know that not everyone may have all these items at home, and that paying $10 for a bag of flour may be expensive at first. In saying that, my monetary breakdown of the meal is based on the cost for the amount used, not how much it costs to buy each item individually. So the Falafels come to a grand total of $4.65! It might be more if you don't have these things in your panrty already, but even then, it is still reasonably affordable.

Hope you enjoyed this, and I hope to add many more for you in the future!  :)