Relevant Living

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Christmas is for the birds! December 10, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — relevantliving @ 6:29 pm

Looking for a great Winter/Holiday activity to do with the kids ?
Why not save a tree and create a Christmas tree for the birds ?
The tradition of decorating a tree for the birds dates back to the 1500’s.
We have tons of evergreens already in our yard but you can use any kind of tree, if you don’t why not consider planting one ?
Decorate with all kinds of treats for your feathered friends.
Birds enjoy things like stale bread, strings of popcorn and cranberries, doughnuts (without glaze), chunks of fruit and nuts.
One of our favorites is taking pine cones and rolling them in peanut butter and then rolling them in bird seed before hanging them on the trees. Peanut butter is a special favorite of Woodpeckers, Chickadees, Wrens and Nuthatches. You can fill half a coconut shell with a mixture of peanut butter and seeds or cornmeal and hang it on your tree.
You could also try rolling pine cones in honey and then in cracked corn or millet (a special favorite of Sparrows, Mourning Doves, Juncos and Bob Whites).
Apples cut in half and hung up as well as citrus fruits are also favorites…or save the peel from your grapefruit half. Hang and fill with small chunks of citrus fruit, apples and berries. An especial favorite of Orioles, Thrushes, Thrashers and Warblers.
After your tree(s) has become the attraction for birds in your area you can try giving them some other kinds of food. They seem to enjoy crumbled dog biscuits (or you can try your hand at making some from scratch), dried fruit, leftover eggs, lettuce, potato, coconut (unsweetened) corn and oatmeal are some common favorites.

Birds need grit to digest their food and in the Winter they sometimes cannot find it on their own. They appreciate a supply of coarse salt, eggs shells or sand to help.
Insect eating birds love beef suet, a hard animal fat you can find in the meat department at the grocery store. A suet feeder can be made using a mesh bag like the kind onions or lemons come in.
Don’t forget that if you start feeding your feather friends you should continue throughout the Winter to refill their food supply. They stayed in your area because you began to feed them. Late Winter is a very dangerous time for birds as there may not be enough wild food in the area for them to survive. So always check your bird feeders regularly and especially after a snow or ice storm so that your feathered guests do not go hungry or even starve. πŸ™‚

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Unsafe Levels of Chemicals Found in Popular Canned Foods November 8, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — relevantliving @ 1:27 am

Terrifying Evidence and Apathy on the part of the canned food industry.

Unsafe Levels of Chemicals Found in Popular Canned Foods
Find out how to avoid bisphenol A exposure and how the industry responded to the report.

Read the entire article: The Daily Green

 

Natural Cough Remedy November 7, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — relevantliving @ 1:18 am

Add 3 1/2 – 4 TBS dried thyme to one pint of boiling water.
Let cool, then add one cup of honey or Agave.
Take 1 tsp every hour as needed.
Store in Fridge for up to 3 months.
Original Recipe found on : The Daily Green

 

Uniquie Uses for Olive Oil…not just for cooking you know! September 25, 2009

Filed under: About the House,green,Living Relevantly,Recession Busters — relevantliving @ 6:27 pm

I’ve been reading about some old time home remedies and other uses for Olive Oil and here is a list of the best that I’ve found.

1) Skincare: Olive Oil contains several natural antioxidants that fight/reduce aging and skin cancer…did you know that ? It is a great moisturizer for dry skin, chapped lips, cuticle repair and can even be used as aftershave.

2) Lice: No one loves these parasites but at this time of year, with school in session, its a reality. Forget the expensive harmful chemical products and smother those bugs with Olive Oil. Cover the scalp and massage to the ends. Cover with a shower cap and sleep overnight. Comb/pick out the nits/eggs the next day and wash hair as usual. Can repeat as long as necessary without chemical damage to the skin, hair or body. This worked for our family when nothing else would. We were working in ministry when one of our kids caught it and it went through the family like a fire. Took a weekend and we were lice free. It REALLY works!

3) Hair Care: Rather than spend a fortune on expensive supermarket (chemical laden) hot oil treatments why not use Olive Oil instead ?
Depending on your hair length and thickness, 1-3 TBS massaged from your scalp through to the ends should do the trick. Cover with a shower cap, wait 10 minutes and shampoo as usual. Restore manageability, shine and life back to dry, brittle or color treated hair.

4) Squeaks: Out of WD40 ? (my husband is convinced a house cannot be a real house without WD40) however olive oil is a great lubricant, and without the smell or worrying about pets or children ingesting toxic/unsafe chemicals. Use on squeaky doors, hinges and the like.

5) Stuck zipper ? Apply a dab of olive oil on it with a Q-Tip.

6) Leather care: great for baseball gloves, leather saddles, bridles and stirrups. Rub a bit of olive oil into the leather to restore and revitalize it.

7) Wood furniture polish. Throw away the toxic dusting products and never have to purchasing them again…they’re expensive anyway and a huge source of air pollution in your home. Use 2 parts Olive Oil to 1 part Lemon Juice and you’ve just made a natural, safe and effective furniture polish. Aren’t you clever ?

8) Snoring: Old wives tale suggests that a sip before bed will lubricate the throat and cut down on your (or your partners) snoring.

9) Earaches: Another old home remedy. Gently and carefully swab a little Olive Oil with a Q-tip to the outside ear cavity for mild earaches and to help control earwax build up.

 

3 out of 5 Sunscreens Do NOT work…Does Yours ?

Filed under: Uncategorized — relevantliving @ 5:39 pm

I was surprised…no shocked…To discover thatΒ  most sunscreens don’t even protect my family from harmful sun rays and sun burn. And that my favorite Sunscreen products, that I’ve been using for the last 4 years, rated between 3-5 on the “Caution” list. Just goes to show there is a difference in effectiveness and safety even amongst the organic/natural brands.
I wasn’t surprised to have it confirmed that many sunscreens contain harmful chemicals that I definitely don’t want absorbed in my children’s growing bodies.

To see how your favorite brand of sunscreen measures up check out:The 2009 Sunscreen Guide from the Environmental Working Group

 

Green Home Labels August 17, 2009

By: Sally Deneen

When you see a product touted as “green,” turn on your B.S. meter to gauge whether it’s true. Here’s why: There is no standard definition for the term”green.” That’s where certification programs come in. Even then, standards among them vary. Ideally, you’ll buy products – or a home – whose green standards match yours. Here’s the skinny on some green labels:

LUMBER Look for wood labeled “FSC certified,” meaning it’s certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Unlike other certification systems, it prevents the conversion of natural forest to plantations, prohibits genetically modified trees and takes caution in wooded areas with high conservation value, according to one analysis (see: http://www.fscus.org/news/index.php?article=506). A campaign by several environmental groups – Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network, among others — discourages consumers from buying wood bearing a competing Sustainable Forestry Initiative label (“SFI”); see their reasons at http://www.dontbuysfi.com.

APPLIANCES Look for appliances with the worthwhile Energy Star label (overseen by the US Department of Energy and US Environmental Protection Agency), and remember this: Be sure to go a step further and check how much energy your desired fridge, stove or other appliance will use compared to other Energy Star-rated options – there can be a wide range of energy use, even though they all meet Energy Star standards. See anticipated energy costs listed on the yellow label stuck on the appliance. A home fully equipped with Energy Star products will operate on about 30 percent less energy than a house equipped with standard products. Read more at http://www.thedailygreen.com/2007/04/18/energy-star/892/. Find products and rebates at EnergyStar.gov.

SINKS, TOILETS, SHOWERHEADS There’s a new label in town – WaterSense — and it addresses the need to be water-smart as well as dollar smart. Example: A WaterSense-labeled toilet uses at least 20 percent less water than standard toilets. According to the EPA, the average American home uses more water for flushing the toilet than running the shower. A family of four could save 16,000 gallons of water yearly by replacing a traditional toilet. Get info at http://www.epa.gov/watersense/index.htm.

NEW HOMES Whatever you do, don’t accept a builder’s claim that a building is “green” without asking questions. What exactly does the green claim mean? What environmentally sound features and building techniques were used? Some homes are far more sustainably built than others; at times, builders simply follow community codes yet market their homes as green. To help you judge the validity of claims, some builders seek to meet the standards of national or local rating systems. A quick look at the three national programs: * LEED. What’s evolving into the 800-pound gorilla among rating systems is a high-end program known as LEED (officially, it’s the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program). It sets standards for buildings that achieve a set number of benchmarks, from using locally derived building materials to the insulating ability of the windows. Chances are a new skyscraper near you is LEED-certified. The program is now expanding to offer standards for homes. Among them, homes will be rated not only based on the materials used, but also their location and orientation. If they reap passive solar benefits from their position relative to the sun, or are situated on a village block close to stores, schools and work, they will be rated more highly than those built to otherwise high standards in suburbia. See standards here: http://www.usgbc.org/leed/homes/. * The National Association of Home Builders plans to roll out its own green building standards in early 2008. See guidelines here: http://www.nahbrc.org/greenguidelines/. *The federal government’s Energy Star program has already rated 200,000 homes. These standards rate homes strictly on energy efficiency – a key part, but only one part of the LEED standards. For many people, the energy efficiency – as measured in electricity demand, pollution output and perhaps most importantly, dollars – is the most important facet of the environmental performance of their homes. For those who want to aim for a darker shade of green, watch for the specifics on the LEED and National Association of Home Builders standards. See Energy Star info here: http://www.energystar.gov/ Read more: http://www.thedailygreen.com/living-green/definitions/green-home-labels#ixzz0OTfoIrKz

 

Vitamin D deficiency in America August 4, 2009

Filed under: About the House,Food recipes,Living Relevantly,Taking a Stand — relevantliving @ 7:33 pm

I was driving home listening to NPR on the radio when they reported that Americans have a Vitamin D deficiency.

I kind of chuckled in disbelief and didn’t think much about it until I saw more news reports on the internet this morning.

I really can hardly believe that it is that big of a problem…especially right now I mean it IS Summer!!!!

Have we really become a nation of inside couch potatoes that no longer drink milk, eat seafood and only eat egg whites ?

If you are one of those that struggle with a Vitamin D deficiency, my heart goes out to you.Β  While you are taking supplements to get back on track…drink your milk (or in my case my Silk Soy Milk with added vit. D), eat your seafood (salmon, sardines and tuna are great sources), eat the occasional egg yolk and GO OUTSIDE!Β  Enjoy the Sunshine! (It’s Free)

Go swimming, boating, gardening, walking, picnicing…if none of those appeal to you…come over to my house…I’ve got a fence that needs painting! πŸ™‚