It beautifies your complexion AND scrubs your tub!

A paste made of baking soda and liquid soap, that is.  It’s a versatile wonder-cleaner worthy of one of those over-blown TV commercials about the many many uses and the amazing value…except that it’s so basic and inexpensive that nobody would buy it as a commercial product.  (Oh.  Wait.  People will pay $1.50 for a pint of tap water in a skidgy plastic bottle.  Maybe I should go start a business.) Read more…

Handkerchief season is here!

My father uses handkerchiefs.  I’d always thought of it as one of his idiosyncrasies.  Normal people used paper tissues.  I always found it kind of weird, though, that so many people use a tissue just briefly, to remove a few drops of watery stuff from the nose, and then throw it away.  What a waste of money and resources!  Obviously, the right way to use a tissue was to wipe or blow into it a few times, until it was used up, and then throw it away.

When I was in college, I caught an extremely drippy cold at a time when I simply didn’t have the option of staying home, warmly ensconced between the tissue box and the wastebasket; I had to go to campus every day and run around to classes, research, and meetings.  I chose outfits with lots of pockets and packed a tissue into each pocket before leaving the house.  I thought about nose-blowing technique in more detail than I’d ever wanted to, in order to utilize the full absorptive power of each paper molecule. Read more…

Mothering in transit

The distance from our home to our childcare center is less than three miles.  In rush-hour traffic, it’s a 20-minute drive.  But almost every day, Nicholas and I make the trip by public transit, taking two buses and at least 45 minutes in each direction.  I could walk that distance in that time!  Am I insane?!

No.  I’m convinced that public transit is a wonderful way to travel with a young child.  The conveniences more than make up for the inconveniences, that extra time is time we spend together, and the trip is full of learning experiences for my child and me. Read more…

High-Protein, Vegan Pasta Salad

This recipe is an improvement on Becca’s Pasta Salad, which was a staple of our diet for years until our gradually improving eating habits made us more aware of its flaws: It contains no significant protein (pasta has a little bit; whole-wheat pasta has more), and it relies on two condiments that tend to be pricey and full of additives.  We’ve found brands of canned fried onions without additives (Valu Time and Trader Joe’s) but they’re still not a healthy food.

After some experimentation, I developed this ***NEW!!!***IMPROVED!!!*** more nutritious Pasta Salad.  Note that you can reserve some of the cooked pasta and veggies for the Original Recipe treatment and use the Improved Recipe on the rest, thus pleasing a variety of palates or just giving yourself some variety as you eat leftovers. Read more…

Links galore!

This speech by a psychologist includes some fascinating ideas about gender roles.

After landing a movie role at age 13, this local actor responded to his success by deciding he should do something to help his community.  He hasn’t done it yet, but just the fact that he thought of it is refreshing!

Have you heard that compact fluorescent light bulbs are so dangerous that if you break one your home will become a hazardous waste site?  Not true.

Your driving habits affect your gas mileage.  The Environmental Protection Agency offers this handy guide to the fuel economy and emissions of new vehicles.

Here’s a wonderful article about two mothers’ attempts to find peace and patience through prayer, being unable to get the uninterrupted prayer time they’d hoped for, but finding their peace and patience anyway.  This experience is very familiar to me!  What I love about this article is that it reminds me that I have a choice about how to react when my plans are disrupted: I can let it ruin everything and behave badly as a result, or I can remain open to the possibility of getting what I need in a different way.

The same writer’s shopping list brought her newfound gratitude for the blessings of her life.

A new student at a Nova Scotia high school was bullied because he wore a pink shirt, so a lot of other boys wore pink to show that the color you wear does not affect your gender.  (How does anyone get to high school without figuring that out??)

Did you know that most fabric softeners are loaded with dangerous chemicals?  Also on the market are bumpy plastic balls that claim to be a healthy, enviro-friendly alternative to fabric softener, but at least one brand is not.  The comments on that page list several safe ways to soften one’s laundry but also debate whether softening really makes much difference.  I kind of like crunchy laundry, myself; that’s what “feels clean” to me!

Finally, an explanation of Why Nerds Are Unpopular!  If you are an unpopular teenaged nerd, consider joining KGB, where you may enjoy popularity among your own kind.

Here are some enviro-tips for laundry, including a way to enjoy filtered drinking water and use the waste-water in the washing machine, as well as a more effective low-waste way to wash a small amount of laundry.  Like many methods of conserving resources, these save money, too!