Monday, 5 May 2014


Isn't life wonderful!!!  MAY IS HERE and with it the promise of hot weather and easy living. It doesn't get any better than that. Well, maybe it does. May also brings Mother's Day, the first Holiday Weekend of the summer, and many hot deals. Lots to look forward to.

With the better weather most of us can't wait to get outside to start sprucing up the yard and patio. Nurseries and garden centres will be competing big time to get your business. They'll be offering great savings on equipment and supplies including: plants, planters, garden tools, patio and deck furniture, and more, all those things that add to outdoor living enjoyment. For the hottest deals on plants, it's best to wait for the Holiday weekend.

The second Sunday of May was declared Mother's Day way back in 1914, only then it was meant as a day to thank and honour Mothers for their care and nurturing of the family, not the commercial day it has become. But since it is what it is, we may as well take advantage of it to pick up some great deals for mom and ourselves. This is the time to buy that piece of expensive jewelry as many pieces will be discounted up to 50% off. Then of course, there are all those deals on cosmetics, fragrance, bath products, chocolates and flowers. Good time to stock up.

If you are creative, buy flowers and greens separately, add a pretty vase and arrange them yourself.  A more personal gift for mom at less cost.

Treat yourself – shop on the Monday after, when products with Mother’s Day wrapping will be hugely discounted.  Chocolates, anyone?

The Southern States have started harvesting early fruits and vegetables. In Canada, some of our early produce has also started appearing on supermarket shelves. This means better prices for Asparagus, Fiddleheads, Lettuce, Early Onions. There may be some good promotional buys on Berries, Melons, and Grapes, but for stocking up and processing, prices will be much better later in the season when these products will be harvested locally.

Students will be returning home from College and University, while others are making plans for holiday trips. This prompts sales of luggage with deals up to 50% off. If you take the time to shop around you may do even better than that.

The first Holiday weekends, Victoria Day in Canada and Memorial Day in the USA, officially kick off the summer season with backyard living and BBQ time. Summer emphasis is on taking life easy, therefore look for sales of:
Wieners, hamburgers, steaks, sausages, condiments of all kinds, breads, buns, tortillas;
Coke and Pepsi  products, bottled water, iced tea and lemonade, all kinds of ice-cream, popsicles and freezies, yogurt and yogurt drinks;
 Disposable dishes, cutlery, napkins, etc.;
Personal electronics: IPods, eReaders, and Tablets, anything easily portable to use in the backyard or take along on trips;
Casual clothes designed for the relaxed summer lifestyle.

Mattresses will also be discounted during May. Don’t buy by brand name as that has much less meaning than it used to, but buy for comfort. You may want to refer back to my post Buying A Mattress

Hot deals, gardening, easy living, picnics and barbecues all add up to a wonderful summertime!!

Talk to you again next week,

If you enjoy these posts, please share with your social media friends.

 Images courtesy of
 Hot deals-Stuart Miles; ToTheGarden-Stock Photo; Mother's Day-89 Studio; Suitcases-Victor Habbick; Outdoor BBQ and Mattress- John Kasawa

Sunday, 27 April 2014


Recently I mentioned  a couple of items on my to-do list: to attend a Twitter tutorial and to move my blog over to WordPress. I started out fine but it didn't take long before I was thrown a few curves and things went downhill from there.

I did attend the Twitter tutorial and everything was going great, for the first half hour, until the wind picked up.Since we still had twelve foot snowbanks along the side of the road any wind at all caused white-outs, so you can imagine what a strong wind would do. Instant decision - I was out of there. I HATE WINTER DRIVING. Of course, this means that I still don't know what Twitter is really all about, but that will keep for another day.

Then the move to WordPress. I was expecting this to be a fairly standard, follow the instruction type process, but the first paragraph on the WordPress site reads something like this: There are two choices, if you don't know which choice to make you don't belong here. Not exactly a statement designed to make friends, especially since I didn't know which choice to make.

Blogger, the blogging platform I now use, has been giving me problems. The reply button was removed so I can't reply to comments, which is an absolute blogging no-no. It gives the impression you can't be bothered so readers stop commenting, and possibly even stop reading. Then the URL disappeared.

Anyway, that's why the move is becoming more important. Sadly, my original helper became to busy to carry on. I called a couple of local web developers to help but they aren't taking on new clients, which means I'll have to muddle along on my own. (After a week of muddling, I look exactly like the picture below - right down to the dazed look, the nightie and the wild hair.)

I did manage to complete one thing. My domain name - - has been registered. Considering everything that went wrong, getting that done is pretty impressive, right? Please say yes, I'm desperately in need of an ego boost.

There you have it - the perils of my blogging life. There will probably be a few more along the way, but it's funny, even with all that, blogging is still very much worth it. The problems will end, but the blogging will carry on.

Talk to you again next week,


All images courtesy of
Crying woman - jesadaphorn; Angry man - stock images; Computer lady - debspoons.

Monday, 14 April 2014


I find it ironic that the very things meant to clean our homes are in fact polluting them. Most commercial cleaners contain dangerous toxins that are harmful, not only to the environment but also to our health. They are believed to be a contributing factor in many of today's diseases, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, ADHD, autism, and more. I decided I didn't want to bring these things into our house any longer so  I've replaced most of them (not all, I'm still working on that) with four readily available products that are low-cost and non-toxic - baking soda, vinegar and lemon/lemon juice.

Don't buy into the 'green', 'natural', 'sustainable' hype - when you check the wording on products it becomes obvious those terms are often meaningless. Simple Green, the maker of Simple Green Cleaning Products state "they are the leader in high-quality, environmentally safer cleaning products"
What exactly does that mean - safer than what? To me it reads that they still do harm, but not as much as the other guy. Sorry folks, I don't think that's good enough.

Baking soda is an all-purpose, non-toxic cleaning product that works, yet is much gentler than commercial cleaners. It doesn't scratch anything, naturally deodorizes and, combined with vinegar, does a superior job of keeping toilet bowls and drains clean and odour free.

Baking soda as an All-Purpose Cleaner - Dissolve 1/4 to 1/2 cup baking soda in 4 cups warm water - this solution can be used:
  1. To damp mop ceilings and walls throughout the house to get rid of those allergy aggravating nasties;
  2. To clean the inside and exterior of the stove, refrigerator, freezer, and dishwasher; 
  3. To wipe inside and outside of the kitchen and bathroom drawers and cabinets;
  4. To clean kitchen counter (not granite, stone or marble) and sink;
  5. To wipe dresser drawers, interior closet walls and closet shelves;
  6. To wipe  woodwork, doors and handles, including cabinet handles;
  7. To clean the air conditioner filter, first remove it from the unit, spray with the cleaner, leave it for a little while, then rinse off, let dry and replace in the air conditioner. 
Nifty baking soda shaker purchased at Dollar Store
Baking soda as an non-scratch Abrasive - Sprinkle baking soda directly onto hard surface, cloth or sponge:
  1. For stains on walls, countertops, etc. sprinkle some baking soda on a damp cloth or sponge and rub the stain; 
  2. For extra cleaning power for sinks or other surfaces, sprinkle baking soda on the damp surface, let sit for a few minutes, scrub with a brush, then rinse with clear water.
. Baking soda as a Deodorizing Cleaner - as below :
  1. Sprinkle baking soda on carpets, rugs, upholstered furniture - leave for a couple of hours, then vacuum well. For an added touch, add an equal amount of dried rosemary or a lemon herb to the baking soda;
  2. Put decorative cushions in a pillow case - add 1/4 to 1/2 cup baking soda, grab the top closed and twirl it all around - let sit for a while, remove the cushions and brush or shake off till all the baking soda is gone. The pillow case can be emptied down the toilet, down the drain or into the washer;
  3. Put a tablespoon or so of baking soda into a cone type coffee filter, seal with tape or fold the package over and secure with a rubber band. Place these packages inside stored sneakers, shoes, boots, empty purses, suitcases, storage tubs, etc., anywhere odours build up.
Baking soda as a Paste - Mix baking soda with enough water to make a non-runny paste:
  1. Sometimes stubborn stains need some extra treatment - in that case a paste made  of baking soda and water and applied with a spatula or brush works well, both  on hard surface stains and fabric (test first in an inconspicuous spot);
  2. This paste can also be applied to tile grout or used as an oven cleaner. Just apply, leave overnight. For grout, use an old toothbrush to clean, for the oven, wipe up any loose gunk with an old newspaper, then clean with a stiff brush and give a final wipe with a damp cloth.
Glass Cleaner on Left, All-Purpose on Right
Vinegar is great for cleaning glass, floors, bathroom fixtures and deters mold and mildew. When lemon juice is added, it gives the vinegar some extra cleaning oomph.

For an All-Purpose Cleaner mix together 1 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1 1/2 cup water - pour into spray bottle; 
For a Tile/Vinyl Floor Cleaner, mix 3 cups vinegar, 1 cup lemon juice and 8-10 cups warm water; 
For a Glass Cleaner, mix 1 cup vinegar to 4 cups water.
  1. Vinegar is best to use to damp mop the walls in the bathroom as it deters mold and mildew, both of which thrive in damp areas.
  2. Use the vinegar solution to clean the bathroom fixtures - tub, shower, sink, countertop. (toilet gets separate treatment)
  3. Do not use vinegar on granite, stone or marble - for those surfaces, use equal parts vodka and water;
  4. Vinegar works well on tile or vinyl floors - do not use on wood or laminate;
  5. Vinegar does an amazing job of polishing up glass or chrome. For mirrors and windows, spray on, then wipe clean with old newspapers - for chrome, spray or wipe on, then wipe off with a soft cloth;
  6. Lay drapes that can't be washed on a flat surface, dampen a brush (shake out well so that is barely damp) with the lemon vinegar solution and brush the drapes from top to bottom. If possible, hang them outside on a clothesline - if that's not possible just hang anywhere to dry - this really freshens them right up;
  7. To clean the microwave, pour 1/4 cup vinegar into a small dish, stir in 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, and run the microwave on medium for 2 minutes. Let it sit for a few minutes so the fumes can reach all sides; then open the unit and wipe with a soft cloth. Clean as a whistle.
Lemon or Lemon Juice:
  1. A cut lemon can be used to clean cutting boards - just use it as a sponge, wiping the entire board - let sit for a little while, then rinse under the tap, using warm water. Wipe dry;
  2. Soak lemon peel in vinegar for a couple of weeks, strain, then pour the strained vinegar into a spray bottle and use to wipe down the tub surround, shower stall or outside of the toilet, including seat;
  3. Freeze lemon juice in ice cube trays - once a week throw a couple of these cubes down the garbage disposal and grind - cleans the blades and leaves a nice smell.
Cleaning the toilet:
Flush the toilet, then sprinkle baking soda all around the bowl. Close the lid while the rest of the bathroom is cleaned. Then pour vinegar around the bowl and watch it fizz. Using the toilet brush, swipe the whole thing down, paying special attention to below the rim and the down-drain, then flush. Clean the outside with the lemon vinegar and that's it. I do this twice a week and after six years my toilet still looks like new.

Other uses:
Vinegar can be used for cleaning coffee pots, tea pots, kettles, etc.
A dish of baking soda set in the fridge or freezer absorbs odours.
Baking soda kept near the stove will douse minor grease fires.
A tbsp. of baking soda poured in the bottom of the dishwasher keeps the dishwasher clean.
Some baking soda poured into the bottom of garbage cans, before putting the bag in, keeps them odour free. 
1/2 cup of baking soda added to the presoak cycle removes dirt and odours from heavy-duty work clothes.

And a bonus - I just found out that our local Co-Op sells baking soda in bulk - 25kg (55 lb) for $18.00. I now pay $1.00 for one pound = $55.00 for 25kg. At first that sounded like a lot of baking soda, but when I figured it out I realized that I would use that much in about four months and, during that time I could save $37.00 - do that three times a year and the savings would be more than $100.00. Works for me - I know what I'm going to buy next time I'm at the Co-Op.

Now all I have to do is find a bulk vinegar supplier and grow a lemon tree (organically, of course).

If you enjoy these posts, please share them with your social media friends.

Talk to you again next week,


'Green World Concept' - Image courtesy of Kittisak /