This past week I was going to focus on finding ways to cut down on overall water consumption. Some areas were obvious - take shorter showers, run the dishwasher when it is full, and don't water the lawn. I think the area that I am the most wasteful of water is when I clean the kitchen (a neverending task!). I figured out that if I put warm water in the sink, I can use that water to wash the counters, rinse dishes, and then finally use the water to mop the floor. I also tried brushing my teeth with a small amount of water - this one was easy - I find that I am just lazy on this one!
11) Fill the bird feeder - with the weather changing, it is fun to watch the birds coming and going. Yes - this is an extra expense, but it also simplifies life a bit.
12) Quiet - this one is tricky in a house with teenagers. It seems that there is always a television or iPod going somewhere in the house. I am going to make sure to have at least an hour a day at home without extra noise distractions.
13) Cleaning house - I am actually better at doing a fall cleaning than a spring cleaning for some reason. My goal this year is to only use all natural cleaning supplies. I also add Thieve's oil to my cleaning water which is a great natural disinfectant. I use baking soda on my carpets to freshen them up. Vinegar and water is a great all around cleaner. This can be used to freshen the dishwasher and washing machine, also. Have a great fall day!
In Minnesota, this seems to be the last week of farmer's markets. I was amazed by how much produce was still available. As an update as to how I am doing with past changes, pretty well! I made applesauce, froze some peppers, bought spaghetti squash, and I am using farmer's market honey, lip gloss and maple syrup. The one thing I haven't attempted is baking with fresh pumpkin. There is still time!
7. One thing I thought of with the farmer's markets, is that it is a great place to make connections for grass fed, organic meat and eggs. I found someone who delivers eggs weekly to my school at a very reasonable price. It is worth asking at the farmer's market if they do any deliveries. I am slowly moving into finding options for organic meat, as well as actually cutting down on our meat consumption.
8. A great option for a meatless dish is to make a big serving of rice and beans. I use a wok, and make it a one pan meal. I start with coconut oil, and then cook the rice. When it is almost done, I start adding beans and any vegetables I have on hand. I love spinach, broccoli, lots of onions and garlic, peppers, celery, and anything else I can find. A big batch can provide a few meals at a reasonable price, and I don't even miss the meat, because the rice and beans provide the protein. I add different seasonings each time.
9. I am trying to think of changes that I don't do on a regular basis that I can incorporate into my routine. This week I cam going to be more conscience of the water that I use. I know that I am using more than is necessary. I am going to keep track of my water use this week, and see where I can cut back.
10. This is my all time favorite recommendation. I follow this one completely. I go to the library a couple of times a month. This saves me thousands of dollars a year on book purchases, because I love to read. I like to go online and request books that I see at stores, or that have been recommended to me. I also do searches on nonfiction topics I am interested in to request. The great part of this is that I get an email when the books have arrived at the library. I usually have over twenty books checked out a time. They usually can be renewed up to nine weeks. Many times I will scan through books, and decide to just return them to the library. This is a great money saver. How many times in the past that I would buy a book, and end up not reading it. It also cuts down on clutter to not keep books around the house. If I really like a book, I tend to check it out numerous times from the library, rather than buy the book. I also get books on tape to listen to in the car. There are also DVDs and CDs available for check out. This tip is also great for the environment - save a tree - use the library! Have a great day! Shanna