Category Archives: Green

Green Living : Make Your Own Baby Food

We’re in the throes of introducing little Toby to all sorts of new fruits and veges at the moment (he is such a guts too – would literally eat anything and everything we offer him!) so making baby food is at the forefront of my brain these days.

Making your own baby food is really simple, and I find that if I do it all on a Sunday (my cooking/baking day) then it’s hardly stressful at all. Like most things, if you do it in bulk, the benefits are outweighed by the slightest bit of extra work. Plus it’s a lot cheaper than buying baby food all the time, and I know exactly what’s in it. (Better still when I can get local and/or organic fruit and veges to use, but that doesn’t happen all the time. Or most the time.)

Some good combos, as approved by Toby are:

– pear and apple
– pumpkin, sweet potato and corn
– carrot and corn
– pumpkin, potato, zucchini 
– (rice or pasts can be added to any of these as bub develops)

1. Peel and chop your chosen fruit/veges. The pieces should be around 2cm each.

2. Put in a saucepan with a little water – around 1-2cm.

3. Bring to boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer until the fruit or veges are tender.

4. Use a blender or a stick mixer to blend up the food for young babies, and a fork to mash it up once your little one can handle slightly chunkier food.

5. I freeze Toby’s food in plastic containers and pull it out as needed. 

When you’re travelling or get caught short, there’s now a few good, organic baby food options at the supermarket.

Raffertys garden is a good one, but I’d go for their organic products, as last time I looked I realized there’s no mention of their regular products being GMO free. So best avoided I’d say!

Green Cleaning Toolkit: The Whole Shebang

I’ve gone through the major elements in a good green cleaning toolkit over the past few weeks:

and figured I’d add the remainder to this post, because they’re not used as often as the four major ones above.

Washing Soda

Find it in the laundry aisle at the supermarket.

Laundry: Use it in your homemade laundry detergent.
Laundry Brightener: When washing with castile soap, I add a couple of tablespoons of washing soda for all loads except darks. It helps brighten and soften the clothes and I think they smell fresher.

Salt

Regular, household salt.

Laundry: Add 1/3 cup to your dark laundry loads to preserve the black in your garments.

General Cleaning: Combined with castile soap, water or lemon juice, salt makes a really effective soft scrub for sinks, basins and benchtops that need a good, deep clean. (I generally tend to use bicarb and vinegar for this though, but it’s a good alternative.)

Various Essential Oils

Make sure to purchase essential oils, rather than scented oils, as the latter can be almost as harmful to your health as the chemical cleaners you’re trying to avoid. It’s also worth checking that you don’t have an adverse reaction to any particular oil before using it all over the house. Additionally, pregnant ladies need to be cautious around essential oils as some can stimulate labour.

Laundry: Add 10 drops to your rinse cycle for beautiful smelling clothes. Plus some oils, like tea-tree and lavender, have antibacterial qualities, making them great to wash things like fabric nappies.
General Cleaning: Add a few drops to your homemade cleaners for a nice change.
General Cleaning: Add 20 drops to a spray bottle and use as a room freshener.
Dusting: A damp microfibre cloth sprinkled with a few drops of lavender oil makes the whole room smell lovely. Lame, but true.

Equipment

Cloths

Washable Chux cloths: Generally once they’re done in the kitchen, I wash them and add them to the cleaning cupboard. They’re reusable and do a good job of tackling most tasks.

Microfibre Cloths: $3 for a pack of four at the Reject Shop. Get some. I use a damp cloth to do all my dusting, plus they clean glass and make rinsing and wiping out basins, vanities, baths and showers super easy. They are brilliant. Plus you just throw them in the wash and use them time and time again.

Spray Bottles

Spend a little bit extra and get the good spray bottles from Bunnings or somewhere similar. The cheapies are fine for mild cleaners, but I found that when I put vinegar in them, the spray mechanism would stop working after a week or two. I bought some Oates ones about a year ago and haven’t had any issues since.

There really isn’t much involved in getting your green cleaning toolkit together, and it becomes second nature really very quickly.

Let me know if you have any specific questions or things you use in your green cleaning. I’d love to get some more ideas!

Green Cleaning Toolkit: Bicarb Soda

The last of the big players in my Green-Cleaning Toolkit is bicarb soda (you can see the other Toolkit posts here.) I’ve already posted about some of the quirkier and non-cleaning related uses for bicarb, as well as the bicarb and lemon wedge miracle but thought I should list the many ways I use it to clean, as it is super effective.

Laundry Uses:

Softener/Deodoriser – Add a tablespoon-ish of bicarb to your wash for cleaner, fresher clothes. It also reduces the scratchiness you can sometimes get in linen.

Stain Remover – I use a commercial (natural) stain remover, but bicarb can be used as a stain remover too. Mix it with some water to form a paste and then apply to stains, leaving for at least five minutes, overnight for stubborn stains. Then wash as normal and hang to dry in the sun.

Cleaning Uses:

Heavy-Duty Scrub – Sprinkle surface with bicarb, then spray surface liberally with straight vinegar. You can leave the solution to take action for a few minutes, then, using a damp cloth scrub away. Rinse using a clean cloth and wipe over to dry. Great for stovetops and ovens.

Light Cleaner – Sprinkle some bicarb onto a damp cloth and use it to clean benchtops, tables, stovetop, chopping boards, microwave, vanity units, tiles etc.

Oven Cleaner – Make a paste with bicarb and water and apply liberally to a cool oven. Turn the oven on to warm for 30 minutes then use a damp cloth to wipe out the paste. Wipe clean. (For stubborn grease, apply the paste to a warm oven and then leave it overnight.)

Other Uses:

Carpet Deodoriser – Sprinkle onto carpet, leave for a few hours and then vacuum as usual. Great for car carpets in particular.

Spill Clean-up – For liquid spills on the carpet, sprinkle the liquid liberally with bicarb, allow to soak up the spill, then vacuum.

Car Windscreen Cleaner – Remove stubborn bug splats by sprinkling with bicarb, wiping over with a damp cloth and wiping clean with a clean, dry cloth.

It’s completely non-toxic, easy to find (grab the 1kg box from the supermarket – until I find where to buy it in bulk, that’s the cheapest option) and really versatile. Paired with castile soap, vinegar and borax, you can clean pretty much anything in and around the house.

Adventures in Op-Shopping: A Tale of Success and Woe.

Sorry for the recipe-heavy nature of yesterday – I guess the cold weather has my brain switched to the Food setting!

Last weekend was a busy one, but while I was waiting around for a doctor’s appointment on Saturday morning I snuck into our local Vinnies for a quick peek. They usually have tonnes of kooky knick-knacks that are fun to look through, but the real gem is the furniture “showroom” downstairs. It’s always hit and miss, and fun to have a look around.

I scored a great raw timber A1-sized frame for the princely sum of $3, that I have plans for (showcasing some of Isy’s art and craft) and I spotted a delicious chest of drawers, that was screaming for a makeover and a new home in our living room (maybe even as a TV unit?)

I sent a picture message to Sparky that said something like: “$35?” but he sensibly reminded me that we actually need a lounge first. So I had to let her go. But it hurt just a little bit, I have to say.

I’m really enjoying the process of decluttering, but I’m also surprised by how much I’m enjoying scouring second-hand furniture shops, ebay and garage sales for new furniture for our house. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of chai, but I love the positive environmental implications of not buying everything new as a matter of course as well as the fact that these pieces have a history to them.

Bonus: this coming weekend is a long weekend (yay!) and it’s also hard rubbish night for our area (double yay!) I am going to try and convince Sparky to take a scouting drive with me, but we’ll see how successful I am.

Repurpose Me: Unloved Mirror

Before.

 
Happy Monday everyone! I hope you had wonderful weekends? Ours was fairly packed with friends and family, so it was busy, but in a really especially very nice way. And bonus: I’m finally starting to feel better.

A few months ago, my sister and I co-hosted a garage sale, and while we sold almost everything we wanted to part with, I did mange to come home with a box full of new (old) things. One of them was an outdoor mirror that had certainly seen better days. I considered just hanging it in the garden somewhere, as is, but liked the idea of giving it a new outfit and putting it to use in the house instead.

I’ve been working on a felt wreath for the house for a month or so, and have hundreds of little triangular felt offcuts that were too good to waste, so I kept them aside until I thought of what I could do with them. (I also used some of them to for little wall hangings a few weeks back).

So armed with my hot glue gun and about an hour, this is what I came up with:

After.

It’s certainly cheerful and a vast improvement! Bonus: it fills in a blank spot on our walls (been blank going on 2.5 years now – well done us!) and it cost me zero dollars. Win: win: win.