26 Aug 2016

My gun is ready to caulk

I have this mysterious water leak in my basement laundry room and just when I think I have found the source and fixed it, I find water on the floor again.  The exterior wall where the water seems to be coming in is on the side of the house where the rain usually hits.  It is also the wall with the electric meter, dryer vent, a window and other entry points for wiring.  We have already caulked around the dryer vent and around the electric meter where the concrete had crumbled and was no longer doing its job.  I took a good look at that wall and noticed a gap in the window sill mortar joint.
window sill, concrete caulking, water leak
To fix the gap, I bought some silicone caulking that is for concrete.  The kind I bought has a 30 minute rain ready time, which was good because we have been having a lot of rain.  I checked all the window sills and found a couple more that needed repair that I took care of as well.
caulking, window sill, concrete caulking
This caulking does not clean up nice with water and I found my hands were covered in a sticky film.  I rubbed some sand on my hands and that got rid of the stickiness.

I also have a crack in the garage floor where moisture seeps up into the garage.  Since I have almost a full tube of caulking left, I will use it to fill that crack too.

Green highlights:
  •  preventing water damage 
Have checked your window sills lately to see if there are any cracks and gaps?

20 Aug 2016

Keep your cracked teacups!

It's been a while since I have posted here.  This is a quick life update.  Things have been pretty crazy with one daughter that got married 2 weeks ago, my other daughter expecting my first grandchild and some surgery and recovery thrown in the mix.  I still have to finish writing about "The Project" that we started some time ago and I have a couple more things to do before the room is finally done, but I will get there!

I have been looking for ways to store my costume jewelry so that it is on display to make it easy to find something to go with what I am wearing.

I found this neat idea when I was searching online and that is to use teacups.  I have  a collection of teacups that look so pretty in my china cabinet.  I even have one that was passed down to me from my mother that once belonged to my great-grandmother.  I also have some teacups that are now cracked.  They are so pretty that I haven't thrown them out, but they are no longer useful for drinking tea out of. 
teacup, china, jewelry storage
Instead, you can use them to store and display jewelry.  You could have them sitting out on your dresser or bathroom counter or put them in a drawer so that every time you open the drawer you see something pretty.  Earring with hooks can be hung on the cup and other types of earrings can go inside the cup.  You can put necklaces, bracelets and pins in the saucers.
pathos, china saucer, teacup, pothos

You could also put the saucers under a potted plant like I have with this air cleaning Pathos that I started from a cutting.

Green Highlights
  •  reuse cracked teacups
  •  reducing waste
Have you found another use for cracked teacups?


23 Apr 2016

Cream ready to expire

I came across an almost full container of half and half cream in someone's fridge that was about to expire.  They were not going to be able to use it up, so instead of leaving it there to be dumped down the drain, I said I would bring it home and make ice cream.  Since it will be frozen, it will keep past the expiry date.
ice cream, half and half cream, tj's green adventure
Home made ice cream
I already had a full day planned for today, so I wanted to make this quick and easy.  I used a no cook vanilla ice cream recipe and added cocoa powder to make it chocolate.  Here's the adapted version of the recipe I used.  

Chocolate Ice Cream

2 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
almost 1 litre half and half cream (10%)
add enough milk to cream make 2 4 cups
2 tsp vanilla

Beat eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until thick and cream-coloured.  Add cocoa and mix in slowly.  Add cream milk mixture and vanilla.  Mix well.  Follow directions on your ice cream maker.

 Green highlights
  • reduce waste
Do you look for ways to use something up instead of throwing it away?


20 Mar 2016

My first LED light bulb

I bought my very first LED bulb, which was for a nightlight, quite a while ago not realizing there had been  change in light bulb technology.  We keep a nightlight on at night near the bedrooms so that if someone gets up, they don't bump into walls.  The light bulbs I used were about 6 or 7 watts.  When I went to buy replacement bulbs I found some that were LED  and only used 0.6 watts so I decided to give them a try.  LED's also have a long lifespan, which will mean less waste going to the landfill.  
LED, low energy, energy conservation, tj's green adventure
low energy LED light bulb
It wasn't until recently, when I was talking with a coworker, that I discovered that a low energy light bulb had come on the market that was better the CFL curly fluorescent bulbs.  I bought some CFL's when they first come out but I found them to be expensive, they didn't always last as long as advertised and some brands gave off a dim light.  For these reasons, I went back to buying incandescent bulbs.

Now there is a whole array of low energy, long lasting LED bulbs and I am in the process of converting my light fixtures to LED.  The LED equivalent of a regular 60w light bulb uses around 9 watts.  I even saw LED replacements for fluorescent tubes.  I am not going to throw away perfectly good light bulbs, even if they are incandescent,  so as my incandescent bulbs burn out, I am replacing them with LED's.  I can also give some of my incandescents to my children who are living in apartments.  They don't pay for electricity and since these LED bulbs aren't cheap, why spend the money to leave them behind when you move out?  For money saving coupons, go to Save On Energy.

Green Highlights:
  • reducing energy consumption
  • sending less to the landfill
Have you started switching your light bulbs to LED?

23 Feb 2016

Take-out extras

When we get take-out, there are extras that are put in the bag like ketchup, salt, sugar, napkins, coffee cup lids and so on.  How often do we get more of these extras than we need or even some that we don't use at all?  These unneeded or unwanted extras will most likely end up in the garbage which is such a waste.  

When placing your order, why not take a proactive approach.  When I order Chinese take-out, we always have over half a container of sweet and sour sauce left over that gets thrown out.  Now I ask them for a smaller container.  They also include packets of soy sauce which we never use, so I am going to start asking them not to include the soy sauce.

Tim Horton's has a Take 12 coffee that you can order.  It is a large container of coffee that comes with cups, lids, stir sticks, cream and sugar.  If you know your group will not be using any of these extras, why not mention it when you place your order?  I did some tidying up in an organization's kitchen the other day and found a stack of these lids that had never been used.  They went in the recycle bin, but it would have been even better if they had not been included with the order in the first place.
take-out waste, fast food, tj's green adventure
unused coffee lids
  If we start speaking up and asking for only the extras that we need, we can make a difference.  Maybe the restaurant industry will take the hint and start asking customers if they would like any of these extras included with their order.  The restaurant will save money and there will be less going to the landfill.

Green highlights:
  • reducing waste
  • sending less to the landfill
Are you proactive when you order take-out?


12 Jan 2016

Green smoothies that are green

I went to a ladies event on the weekend called "New Year, New You" with a focus on how to be healthier.  The finale of the event was a demonstration on how to make a healthy smoothie that was green because of the ingredients that went in it.  We got to taste test which I was glad to have the opportunity because I never would have made one of these otherwise.
This smoothie was made with a water base, 2 stalks of celery, a splash of orange juice, about half a banana and 2 handfuls of spinach.  The orange juice and banana tone down the taste of the other ingredients so it doesn't taste like a liquid salad.
I have been wanting to eat healthier and this is where I am going to start.  I am going to have one of these smoothies for lunch a couple times during the week and on weekends replacing the carbohydrates that I usually have.
One of the reasons I am writing about this here is because of how the produce is stored.  I don't buy much fresh produce because it doesn't keep long and I don't want to have to eat a whole lot of it at once to use it up and I don't want to have to throw any out because it has gone bad.

Here is the beauty of this smoothie:
- you can freeze the spinach and take out only what you need.
- you can freeze the bananas which is great because I do not like them when they get too ripe. I am going to freeze them (peeled and cut in pieces) when they are just the ripeness I like.
- I am also going to try freezing the celery in whole stalks.

spinach, celery, green smoothies, tj's green adventure
Another ingredient you can add is plain or Greek yogurt which will add protein.  It might take me a while to use up a container of plain yogurt because I need to acquire a taste for it, so I am going to try freezing what I cannot use by the expiry date in ice cube trays then store in a plastic container.  All I will have to do is pop a yogurt cube or two in my smoothie.

The other reason that makes this smoothie green is that I am going to buy organic spinach and celery.  Celery is known for being grown with a lot of pesticides and I want to pass on that.  I was surprised to learn that celery is very good for you.  Check here to find out more about celery.  The produce has to be dry before freezing so it doesn't clump together, so instead of trying to wash and dry spinach, I am opting for organic.  Plus, it's got to be a challenge getting all the pesticides off every spinach leaf.

I am excited about making these changes and improving my health.

Green Highlights:
  • freezing produce to eliminate waste
  • buying produce that wasn't grown with pesticides or herbicides
How green is your smoothie?

31 Dec 2015

It's not garbage yet

I have an aversion to throwing things out that are not garbage.  Why fill up the landfill with stuff that someone else can use?  Instead of throwing it in the garbage, why not see if there is someone that would want it.  
bubble wrap, insulation, packaging supplies, tj's green adventure
I had a large bag full of bubble wrap so I posted it on Kijiji to give away for free.  In no time 3 people had responded to the ad.  I wanted it give it to someone that would put it to good use and not use it just to pop the bubbles.  I figured someone would want it for packing, but this person wanted it for insulating windows.
bubble wrap, window insulation, tj's green adventure
I googled bubble wrap for a picture to use in this post and to my surprise using it for window insulation came up.  The person I gave the bubble wrap to says he puts it between the windows or you can click on the source link above, to find out how to apply the bubble wrap directly to the window.   

The next time you have something you no longer want or need, try posting it on Kijiji and see if someone else can make use of it.

Green Highlights:
  • giving something away instead of throwing it out
  • another use for bubble wrap
  • reducing energy use
Do you have something you can give away instead of throwing it in the garbage?