A billion tiny pieces of paper.

Before you go thinking my life is filled with trips to boutiques and resale stores, hanging by the pool with the kids, or culturing ourselves at local museums, currently I am sitting here, still in the clothes I worked out in this morning, scanning and uploading a bazillion receipts into our new ScanSnap software program.

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It’s not hard work, just tedious. But it will make going to the pool later feel much better knowing I tackled this project that has been looming over my head for weeks now.

This new program is pretty great, it lets us scan all our receipts into a program and then discard them into the hotels recycling bin. And when a business gives paperless e-receipts, we can easily convert them into PDF documents and put them in the program as well.

Not completely paperless yet, but we’re trying to get there!

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Categories: Many Uses, My Favorite Multitaskers, The Environment, Travel | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Hanging around Crockett.

Current status: Eating sugar snap peas in a park parking lot.
We’re waiting a small rain storm to pass so we can get back to playing. We are currently in limbo. B is finishing up one facility today, and we will be driving to another one this evening, so we are hotel-less for the time being. This is not a problem though, since Crockett, the town we’re in, has all sorts of fun things we can do!
We spent the morning at Crocketts various thrift/antique/resale stores. We got a pretty nice haul, a few shirts, a doll for RED, a survival bracelet made by a local disabled Veteran for D, a few books, and some postcards.
The people of Crockett are very friendly. Everywhere we go in town, the kids are getting lollipops and I’m getting restaurant recommendations and some great deals.
It’s a good thing we are leaving today, or else we’d need another car to haul all of our stuff back to PA!

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Venturing…

Wow, I have really been missing an opportunity here!

You see, we’ve been traveling around with B this summer. He travels for work, and we have been along for most of the ride.

So far we’ve had a blast in Boston, walked around NYC twice, visited historic landmarks and museums everywhere, ran into mild car problems in Philadelphia, and saw an old friend down in Texas.

Keeping it eco-friendly on the road can be a challenge, but I have a few tricks up my sleeve to make it a little easier. From where to stay, to what to bring, join us on an adventuring Venture in Green!

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The Juice

Were you an outside kid? I was a total outside kid. My brother and I would be outside and in the woods from the time we woke up to the time our dad whistled us in after dark. Naturally, I had more than a few run ins with poison ivy. Once, while swinging on vines in Economy Park with my cousins, I got poison ivy on my face. It caused my glasses to sit crooked on my swollen face. My saving grace- The Juice.

My dad claims he’s never gotten poison ivy, but I’ll say it’s The Juice. The Jewelweed Juice. I know you know what Jewelweed is, you’ve probably played with it. It’s a member of the impatiens family. It has little orange/yellow flowers with oval leaves, but the kicker is the seed pods. They will burst when you touch them.

It’s been a while since I’ve had to stew some jewelweed to treat my poison ivy.  And since the flowers and seed pods are not in season, I had to do some searching.

The kids and I took to the trails

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In search of jewelweed, I knew we had to get to some low-laying lands with an abundance of water from a creek or near wetlands. Once we got to the bottom, I knew we were in the right place! So we played around in the trails for a while before we plucked our jewelweed and went on our way.

5.29.2013i 015Here is what the jewelweed looks like, it is a little easier to spot with the flowers and seed pods that really give it away.

5.29.2013i 0165.29.2013i 017Now, I do not suggest you go out in the woods and pick any plant you think is what you are looking for. Be sure of what you are picking before you use it.

Back to The Juice, it is easy to make. Just pull the jewelweed out of the ground. Take it home and rinse the dirt off of it. Then all you have to do is boil it in some water. Boil for 10-15 minutes, then strain through a piece of cheesecloth. Store The Juice in the fridge for 1-3 months. LABEL IT PROPERLY! IT WILL LOOK LIKE ICED TEA BUT DO. NOT. DRINK.

Apply to the affected area to stop the itch and dry out your poison ivy.

Have a great, and itch-free summer!

 

 

Categories: Alternative Healthcare, Environmentally Friendly Alternatives | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

RedPlum Removal

Every Wednesday my mail is inundated with ads and coupons for things I will most likely never purchase. It was getting to be so ridiculous that I almost tossed a Mother’s Day card that got lost in the shuffle. Luckily the bright pink envelope caught my eye before I walked away from the recycling bin. I have no problem with couponing, if you can save money on the things you buy, that’s great! But the products that I get coupons for are things I do not buy because either they are bad for your health, or the company (or parent company) is lacking in the ethics department. I used to get angry when an overly processed product was on store special AND you could use a coupon for extra savings, whereas I could only get my broccoli on special sometimes. I’ve since let those feelings go, I understand what these companies are thinking now. But every Wednesday, I get a little reminder that there are rarely coupons for carrots.

Well, I’ve recently found out that you can say NO to those ads that come systematically in the mail! Just go to this website, and follow the prompts to remove your address from their database. Kind of like a junk mail do not call list. I just did it today! It tells me that it’ll take 5-6 weeks to take hold, I’ll be sure to let you know if it works!

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Categories: Healthy Eating, Local Foods, Organic Foods, The Environment | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Childhood Pittsburgh View

I grew up in the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh, so when we had cause to go into or pass by downtown, it was always very exciting. Whether it be our annual Christmas shopping trip at Macy’s, driving down for an ice ball and peanuts and popcorn from Gus and Yia Yia’s, going to a show at Heinz Hall, or on our way to Kennywood, when that skyline came in view, I would get excited. And let’s be honest, I still do!

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What was your classic skyline view when going into the closest major city to you? Does it still make you excited to see it even if you work or live in the city? Tag me in your skyline pictures on Twitter (@setabadnama) or on Instagram (@setabadnama), I’d love to see them!

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It’s not about what you are grilling.

Memorial Day is here.

After spending a few hours on social media, I realized that the focus of today is slightly out of whack. People honoring all of our countrymen serving in all branches from the past to present. There is nothing wrong with that, but that is the kind of thing we are thankful for on Veterans Day. Memorial Day is for remembering our fallen.

I know lots of Veterans. From my dad, to both my grandfathers, a lot of cousins, and some friends. But I count myself very lucky that I do not know anyone who has fallen while in active service. The same cannot be said for everyone.

 

About a month ago the kids and I traveled with B up to Hermitage, PA. He had to do some work up there, so we decided to join him on this trip since it is close to home. I spend many summers camping at Shenango Recreation Area in my childhood, so I am familiar with the area. We dropped B off, and the kids and I went off to do something memorable.

We visited the Avenue of 444 Flags.

Erected in 1980 for the 52 soldiers held prisoner in Iran, The Avenue is made up of flag poles donated by local steel companies, and flags donated by the families of fallen soldiers. Each of the 444 flags represents one day they were held captive. Though all of those 52 prisoners of war were released, an eternal flame burns for those who have fallen in the attempts to rescue them.

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Getting together and grilling is a fine thing to do on Memorial Day, but please take a moment of remembrance and reverence for those who never got to come home.

 

 

 

 

 

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Vinegar Clean!

Last Thursday, I was featured in The Green Grandma‘s guest blog post called Supermoms! How I Birthed My Baby — Part 8. I told the tale of REDs birth at Pittsburghs own The Midwife Center for Birth and Woman’s Health. It was great to connect with a local green blogger whom I’ve been reading for almost 2 years.

The Green Grandma’s claim to fame is, without question, her Vinegar Fridays book and posts. I was dabbling with cleaning with vinegar, but after I found her blog, I jumped in with both feet!

It’s become a running joke between my brother and I. Yesterday, he was over and I was telling him about how I have a few splotches of poison ivy on my arms and legs. Growing up together, and being kids who love the outdoors, we are quite familiar with the trials of that three-leafed menace. I told him I’ve been putting vinegar on my ivy spots and he laughed. Just a few weeks ago he saw me pouring vinegar on weeds outside to kill them. “You’re like the dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding” he said, “The guy who thinks Windex cures everything”. I can’t lie, it’s true. But it does really work!

Seeing that it is still Spring, and if you’re like me that Spring Cleaning project has taken the back burner to other things (like getting out and enjoying the weather!), I’ve put together a few of my favorite vinegar cleaning recipes. (DWV = Distilled White Vinegar)

·        Clean windows by mixing 3 Tbsp DWV, ½ tsp liquid soap, and 2 ½ cups water in a spray bottle. Spray on windows and wipe clean with a towel.

·        Run your coffee pot once with the water reservoir filled halfway with DWV, and then run it again with just water, your coffee pot will be spotless and your coffee will taste better!

·        Freshen the air around the house by combining 1 tsp baking soda, 1 Tbsp DWV, and 2 ½ cups of water. Once the mixture stops foaming, mix well and use in a spray bottle.

·        Give your cutting boards a nice scrub by putting 1 Tbsp of table salt on the board, then scrubbing it with half of a lemon.

·        Kitchen or bathroom drains running a little slow? Pour 2 oz of baking soda down the drain, followed by 5 fl oz of DWV, then stuff a rag in the drain to plug it and prevent the mixture from foaming up. Wait 20 minutes, then take the rag out and pour 1 gallon of boiling water down the drain.

·        Hot DWV can be used to clean dried paint off of glass. Just apply to a cloth, and wipe the paint away.

·        Easily clean off splatters in your microwave by heating 2 Tbsp DWV and 1 cup water in a microwave safe bowl for 45 seconds. Carefully remove the bowl, and wipe the microwave out.

·        Clean and deodorize your toilet by pouring 2 ½ cups DWV around the bowl. Brush vigorously and allow to remain in bowl for 30 minutes.

·        Make a furniture polish by mixing equal parts DWV and vegetable oil. Wipe on, then buff with a soft cloth (Try on an inconspicuous part of the furniture first).

·        Soak your paint brushes in hot DWV, then wash with warm soapy water to soften them up for your next project.

·        Remove winter salt stains from some shoes by wiping with a solution of 1 Tbsp DWV and 1 cup water.

Vinegar is a simple and cheap product that has so many more uses than just salad dressing! And if you buy in bulk, you decrease the amount of packaging and get more product for your money! You’ll be surprised at how versatile some of the products in your kitchen cabinets are! Happy Cleaning!

Categories: Environmentally Friendly Alternatives, Many Uses, My Favorite Multitaskers, The Environment | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Holmes

DR and I are currently watching Sherlock, the BBC’s take on the classic Sir Arthur Conan Doyle tale of  Sherlock Holmes. My favorite murder mystery crime drama. You can have your CSIs and NCISs and any other acronyms you’d like, I’ll take a good Sherlock story for myself. The BBCs version has a wonderful cast of up and coming stars. Both main stars were cast in roles in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit, need I say more?

What’s your favorite modern adaptation of the classic tale?

Categories: Other Rambles | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Is your toddler a bit like a zombie too?

I started watching The Walking Dead recently. I don’t know why, seeing as I am terrified of the dark and do not like suspenseful shows or movies, but much to my surprise it is enjoyable to watch. The problem with it being on Netflix is you can watch multiple episodes rapid fire. I can’t watch multiple episodes of Mad Men without wanting a cigarette and a drink, or a bunch of Arrested Developments with out wanting a Bluth banana and a drink (and an illusion on the side). So when I watch a bunch of The Walking Dead, I see the traits of zombies all around.

The stray cat in my alley is a good example, only coming around when he smells my garbage go out when it’s humid. The people I see in public who think pajama pants are acceptable to wear to the store (what, did they get bitten in bed?). DR likes to act like a zombie from time to time, he even had his face painted to be zombie-esque.

DR as a zombie

DR as a zombie

But none can rival the attack of the toddler zombie.

You may have seen How To Be A Dad’s Zombie vs. Baby instructional diagram which is pretty spot on. But there are some characteristics that are strictly toddler.

For example, their attraction to noise. Whether they are making it themselves, or come running the second you make noise and think you want to play, the toddlers will swarm when the decibel levels rise.

Certain toddlers have an insatiable thirst for human breastmilk. Unlike their baby counterparts, a toddler can seek and destroy. Don’t expect to sit comfortably on the couch alone with a toddler that wants a nip, they’ll claw at your shirt until you submit.

I once read a book that says you can see the entire evolution of the human race while raising your child. From cavemen through the industrial revolution, it was a pretty interesting read. But I think I skipped the chapter on zombies, because that’s where we are right now!

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(**To be taken as humor. I do not believe toddlers are zombies, just thought I’d disclaim that here for you**)

 

Categories: Humor | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment
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