Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Trial & Error

School starting, Scout planning and soccer practices beginning. It's a fine time to add something new, right?

But I'm doing just that. The busyness of back to school means I have less time than ever to squeak in those extra errands. But it may just be what I need to get back on track.

Once a month, I'll share you some of the great finds and serious stumbles I make on my road to greener stewardship. And I invite you to send me pins, posts, links and ideas of what you'd in your heart want to try but just haven't been quite brave enough.

What I have been up to the last few weeks? Here are just a few things I've squeezed into my schedule.

I tried: Baking bread.

Yea. Baking. Really have time for that, right? But I am in love with the Five Minutes a Day concept... And I realized it's really easy to start your dough, run kids to practice, come home and then bake enough bread to cover two week's worth of sandwiches.

The verdict: Win.

I tried: Making dishwasher detergent.

Making dish soap was going to be a trickier task. Store-bought powdered recipes always seemed to clump up in our dishwasher. And I couldn't find a liquid recipe that had all the ingredients I needed.

I finally stumbled on a recipe that is simple: 1:1 Borax and baking soda. Had both of those. Whipped up 3 cups worth in 90 seconds. I use two tablespoons each load, and everything is coming out clean!

The verdict: Win.

I tried: Making homemade deodorant.

This I was least certain about. I stumbled on the idea on Pinterest the afternoon I ran out. The concept is simple: cornstarch, baking soda, coconut oil and a few essential oils. (I swapped lavender and Solace blend for the Whisper blend but otherwise followed the directions to a T). It makes slightly more mix than will fit in your standard deodorant container.  While it packs well, I felt it was really flaky when I put it on, and I felt the melaleuca (tea tree oil) smell was overpowering.

That and I truly haven't had a chance to put it to the real test: Honest summer weather (or, I confess, a workout). We've been blessed with dry 70s here, not humid or really hot. The 90s we've been promised for later this week may prove whether this idea really works.

The verdict: Postponed.

What ideas for greener living have you wanted to try but haven't? Post your idea here or send me an email at, and I'll share the results of them next month.


Betsy (Eco-novice) said...

Do you compost? That's what I'm reluctant to try. I'm scared of attracting vermin.

robbie @ going green mama said...

I do! Pretty easy. Though if I actually put real effort into it it would be better!

Green Bean said...

I need to go back to baking bread, Robbie. Thanks for the input on that one. We make our own laundry and dish detergent and that is such a win. Plus, it makes me feel happy every tie I take a scoop of it out of a cute thrifted jar. ;-)

Betsy - we compost in three large wooden bins against the fence. I had thought we would attract all kinds of rats, raccoons and such but it has been half a year and I've seen no difference in wildlife. I do think it is helpful to have plant material (leaves, dead plants, grass clippings) to balance the food. It helps things decompose more quickly.

Stephanie said...

I love in HOT Arizona and finally found a homemade deodorant that works for me! It's a simple mix of 50/50 baking soda/cornstarch. You can put it on with a cotton ball, but I just use my hand to rub it in. Just don't get dressed immediately after.

Christy said...

I have been reluctant to try the Borax dish detergent but I found a recipe for Borax-free detergent. Haven't tried it yet.

I have been very reluctant to try the homemade deodorant because I have wondered about white marks on clothes. I use a crystal that seems to do the job so far. Maybe when it runs out I will give it a go.

I have been a very very reluctant baker most of my life, but over the past year I have taken on the baking challenge and I love it! Nothing like fresh homemade bread. Only problem is that it never lasts because everyone gobbles it up as soon as it cools enough to eat.


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