Easy Green Recycled Holiday Gifts to Make for Homebound, Seniors, Bird Watchers

Bird feeders are some of the easiest crafts to make for holiday gifts. Bird feeders are inexpensive, eco-friendly gifts that will delight anyone on your holiday gift list, especially grandparents, shut-ins, elderly and homebound. Bird watching is something everyone can enjoy. Those who cannot get out as often or who are homebound will enjoy a little bird-feeder hung right in their kitchen or bedroom window. Here are several simple homemade bird feeders to make from your recycle bins. These make excellent school, scout troop or Sunday School holiday crafts. Read more

Save Big Money on Electric Bills with Simple, Green Tweaks

 'Green' is the buzzword for this decade. Living green means using less electricity. Electricity, which has never been a terribly expensive utility, is now escalating in price with all the other utilities. Our electric bills have doubled in the past 5 years despite the fact that we have installed every energy saving device possible. Here are 25 easy ways to counteract the rising costs of energy by reducing usage.  read more

Holiday Clean Up Tips-- Avoid Garage Sales, Donate Used Items, Get Tax Credit

I'm not lazy, but I don't like working needlessly. Spring cleaning, purging and weeding closets is torture enough. But to lug it all to the basement in anticipation of having a garage sale is overwhelming. Here's my solution: Donate garage sale fodder and take the tax credit. Having a garage sale is exhausting, time-consuming and labor intensive. And that's if you have a garage. I do not. I have a yard which I must somehow convert into an open air market, if I'm to hold a garage sale and sell my used goods. It's not cost-effective or energy efficient. For holiday clean up or spring cleaning donations, read more

How to Safely Clean Up After Weather Disasters

Hurricane Irene flooded parts of the Passaic River in New Jersey last year. In Vermont, massive clean-up efforts are underway from storm surges and flooding. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy dumped more flood waters on New York, New Jersey and other parts of the U.S. eastern seaboard. Flood water from swollen rivers and overflowing sewers is extremely toxic. Here are safety tips for storm, flood and sewage clean up. How to Safely Clean Up After Hurricane Flooding

Thaw Frozen Water Pipes, Prevent Winter Plumbing Freezes

My husband and I lived for ten years of our marriage in a mobile home. A common winter maintenance problems in trailers is frozen water pipes. Here are tips to prevent plumbing freezes. If pipes do freeze, here are tips to thaw them. My husband has donned Carhart coverall many times, armed with heat lamp and hair dryer to trudge through three foots drifts and thaw frozen pipes. It's a horrendous job. Pipes take forever to thaw. It wastes gobs of resources and it's expensive. Frozen plumbing can pose fire hazards, too. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! How to Prevent Plumbing and Pipes from Freezing in Winter 

Fire Safety, Emergency Preparedness Concerns for Families

Last year, a family of seven kids perished in a home fire in Pennsylvania. Without faulting the Clouse family and with deepest sympathy, it's important to ask: could this tragedy possibly have been prevented? What can we as parents take away from this terrible tragedy? The need for family emergency preparedness. And the holiday season is a time to be particularly aware of fire dangers: candles in Halloween pumpkins, decorative candles, holiday lights, flammable Christmas trees. More decorations mean more things to catch fire. I almost sent our mobile home up in smoke (and us with it) leaving a Christmas candle burning. Thankfully, we had a smoke alarm and charged fire extinguisher and my husband is a quick thinker. So check those fire extinguishers and smoke alarms. Here are more resources for parents to prepare their children for emergencies and prevent home fires. read more

Cheap Recycled Bible Character, Saints Costumes, Halloween or All Saints Day

Every parent has a little different spin on Halloween. Some go all out with the spooky costumes. Others celebrate it but only allow certain costumes. Still others make it a religious event where kids dress in Biblical costumes. Many Catholic families celebrate it for the religious holy day it is--All Saints Day. Whether you celebrate Halloween and trick-or-treat and have children dress as saints, or if you celebrate All Saints Day with a costume party, here are easy cheap Bible character and saints costumes. Use recycled materials green, eco-friendly free costumes, too. Read on Easy Bible Character and Saints Costumes for Halloween or All Saints Day 

Uses for Baking Soda: Green Cleaner, Odor Neutralizer, Health, Beauty Care

Baking soda (or bicarbonate of soda) is the definitive multi-tasker. It is the quintessential cleaner and scrubber. Baking soda deodorizers and neutralizes all sorts of odors. It's use in the kitchen, bathroom, nursery is limitless. Baking soda can be used in a multitude of ways medicinally and for first aid. Baking soda should be on every glamor girl's vanity table. And here is some great news; baking soda costs about $.39 a box. Here are over 25 ways to use baking soda in many different applications. 20 Uses for Baking Soda: Cleaner, Odor Neutralizer, Health Aid and Beauty Care 

Easy, cheap kids' party: Fall backyard shindig or beach bash

As the days grow cooler, now's the perfect time for a backyard fall bash. And who knows--with Indian summer, we still may get a few summery days. Why not celebrate with a backyard bash or beach party? Here's an easy cheap kids' party plan for children in preschool to middle elementary. read more

Surprise costs, hidden problems remodeling our 100-year-old home

My husband and I bought our Grand Haven, Michigan, home in 2000. We hoped to save money buying a 100-year-old fixer-upper for just $52,000. Newer homes that needed less work were selling for about two to three times what we paid for ours. We've had to make do with a lot of inconveniences that would cost us far more than we saved in purchase price to properly fix. Even fixing our home on a shoestring has cost us nearly as much as we saved -- around $49,000. Here are some of our costlier old-home-buying surprises.  read more

Green Up Your Shopping and Save Money

Living green also means saving green with these eco-friendly shopping tips. You've heard it said "you can't have everything"? Maybe not always, but you can with green shopping. Here are ways to reduce, reuse, recycle and save on grocery shopping. Save time, money, gas, hassle and patience! 'Green Up' Your Shopping and Save Money

Easy, cheap kids' party: Farewell to summer backyard shindig, beach bash

The lazy days of summer are winding down. If your kids aren't back to school already, they will be soon. Labor Day, the first Monday in September, signals the last official hurrah of summer. Why not round out the holiday out with a backyard bash or beach party? Here's an easy cheap kids' party plan for children in preschool to middle elementary. Use this plan for an earth day party, too.  Easy, cheap kids' party: Farewell to summer backyard shindig or beach bash

Stay Cool in Green Ways without Air Conditioning

Much of Lower Michigan is getting blasted by scorching temperatures and far-below-average rainfall. City-locked Detroiters have suffered through record high temperatures since May. The Detroit News reports that the city could see its highest temperature ever in the next few days. Here are details about this epic heat wave along with tips on inexpensive ways to cool off in the metro area (some of these apply to any metro city).  Epic Heat Wave Hits Detroit: Ways to Stay Cool 

Stay Cool Without Air Conditioning- Summer Heat Tips

Meteorologists are comparing summer 2012 in Michigan to 1988. In 1988, it was 90-plus for weeks with no rain. I felt every degree of it because I was 8-9 months pregnant and living in an upstairs apartment with no air conditioning. We have never had a central air conditioning unit. For most of our 25-year married life, we survived summer heat without air conditioning period. We bought two small portable window units last year, but for over two decades we managed to stay cool without an air conditioner. Here's how. 'Heat Dome' Survival Without Air Conditioning

Best Green Ecology Movies for Earth Month

Earth Day, formerly Arbor Day, is celebrated on April 22. Spring is manifesting herself in a big way in April and the whole month is devoted to earth-friendly activities. Those of us who care about our planet know that every day is, or should be Earth Day. Here's a list of green-themed films that explore environmentalism and green living. Topics include oil, fuel alternatives, sustainable living, corporate farming problems, health issues, pollution and more. Use these for science class, homeschool, activist rallies and public awareness campaigns. Read on at Best Green Ecology Movies for Earth Month - Yahoo! News

No Well Water Contamination from Kalamazoo River Oil Spill - Yahoo! News

  Michigan Radio reports the Michigan Department of Community Health found no chemicals as a result of the 2010 oil spill on the Kalamazoo River in Michigan in 150 water wells recently tested. On July 26, 2010, Enbridge Energy Partners reported a 30-inch pipeline ruptured near Marshall, Mich., releasing roughly 819,000 gallons oil in Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River, the Environmental Protection Agency's oil spill reports. Read more at No Well Water Contamination from Kalamazoo River Oil Spill

Make Arbor Day Tree Planting a Family Affair

 Arbor Day, celebrated on April 27 for 2012, is the older holiday from which "stems" (pun intended) our modern celebration of Earth Day. Arbor Day is traditionally observed by planting a tree and I say why not make this green activity a family affair? Besides being good for the environment, planting a tree together is a great bonding experience. Read more at Make Arbor Day Tree Planting a Family Affair 

'Caine's Arcade' is Good Green Fun with a Recycle Flair

According to Unplugged, 9-year-old Caine Monroy's taped-up "video game arcade" is tickling the fancy of the fickle internet viewers. The contraption is made from standard kid impedimenta -- recycle-bin cardboard, old electronic trinkets and bits salvaged from his father's car parts store. Using that juvenile blend of mechanical genius, masking tape and a willing suspension of the laws of physics, Monroy finagled the refuse into a homespun gaming station. I call it "childhood at its best." Here how Caine is living "green" and giving recycled a fun twist. Here's also how kids can do likewise. Read on 'Caine's Arcade' is Childhood as It's Meant to Be Lived 

Easy, DIY, Recycled Cardboard Play House for Preschool Learning Center Practical Life Area, Homeschool or Just Home!

Uh-uh, the long winter doldrums are here and parents of youngsters feel it most of all. All that energy and only so much can be burned off in damp, cold weather. But children are also wonderfully imaginative. If you give them an old box and tell them to pretend it's a car, they will enjoy hours of fun in their 'Maserati'. Likewise, you can create an entire practical life area for your homeschool or preschool classroom learning center. All you need is a refrigerator box, available in dumpsters behind appliance stores like Best Buy, Sears, etc. A refrigerator box is a wonderful thing. It's green, versatile, sturdy enough for what it's for and able to be recycled when you're finished with it. My father once made me an entire play house full of furniture with cardboard boxes. You can make these crafts super easy and darn-near-free with recycled boxes. I guarantee you--you'll have to serve meals in the play house, they'll love it that much. And no more, "Mommy, Daddy, I'm bored" will you hear. Read more at Easy, DIY, Recycled Cardboard Play House for Preschool Learning Center Practical Life Area

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Freelance writer, Top 100 Yahoo! Voices, Yahoo! News, Shine, Michigan, Detroit), blogger, teacher, mom of 4, happily married 25 years. Graduated GVSU 1986, psychology/general education and special education. continuing ed up to present. Certified MI teacher. Writing Michigan history mystery, children's Gothic fantasy. Areas of expertise: education, relationships, mental health, nutrition, history, world cultures. Passions: faith, Catholic church, sustainable living, interfaith initiatives, living simply that others might simply live. Working on MA in EI education. 

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