How Knowing Your Plants Can Save You Money

For way too many years, I took for granted the “weeds” that were growing in my yard. I thought they were good for nothing but making my yard look bad. Then after learning a common weed in my garden was actually edible (and not half bad) I wondered else I didn’t know about the weeds in my yard and garden. Turns out, it’s a lot.

It is important to note that you should NEVER consume plants/weeds that have been treated with weed killers or certain lawn products. If you’re not sure, it’s best not to consume it.

Just another weed in my yard?

A landscaping company posted a picture of a weed I commonly see in yard.

Crushed or chewed then placed over a bug bite, mosquito bite, bee sting, rash, or acne as a poultice and bandaged these plant is said to be able to help draw out toxins. Do a quick search and you’ll find several recipes for salves and balms using the broadleaf plantain. It’s said to be a digestive aid as well. B&D Landscaping’s facebook post has a wealth of information about this plant and uses.

Broadleaf plantain is also edible in salads or added to recipes.

That Sticky Plant

On another occasion, while harvesting raspberries from the wild raspberry bushes we have growing in our yard, I came across this invasive weed. It was so long and sticky. It was starting to wrap around the raspberries. I wondered what it was since it was touching some of the raspberries we were going to consume. Turns out this weed has many names: Clevers, sticky willy, coachweed, goosegrass, and a few other names.

Probably my favorite thing to learn about these was that you can make “coffee” with them. Cleaver is actually part of the coffee family. Yes, those little sticky, fuzzy berry looking things. You can pick them off, dry out, then roast them in the oven, then grind them up and make coffee. Be warned the process is time consuming. Picking all those stickly little berries off takes a while and you need a lot to brew a pot of coffee. I tried it though. It wasn’t half bad. The leaves and stems are edible as well and can be added to stir fries, salads, and soups.

Cleaver is said to have diuretic properties and has been used for kidney and urinary tract ailments.

People actually plant this one on purpose!

Purslane. This is the one I often saw growing in my gardens. Almost looks like a succulent to me. I found out that not only is Purslane edible but quite nutrient dense for a little plant containing antioxidants, calcium, magnesium, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Iron, Potassium, and Manganese. Phew! Now that’s a hard working plant.

You can eat it raw by itself, mix it into your salad, or add it to your dish. You can easily find Purslane seeds and plants online. In fact, Purslane is commonly grown, on purpose, in many other countries.

The multitasker of the weed world

Dandelions, we all know them. Dandelion greens can be eaten. The petals can be turned into teas, wine, jams, or jellies. You can use the root for dandelion root coffee.

Dandelions are also said to have medicinal properties. A quick search will have you finding tinctures, tonics, and many other medicine cabinet ideas for dandelions.

The more I learn the more I realize the culinary adventures and medicine cabinet stocking I can do. And that saves me money! I’m also interested in learning more.

I love seeing companies like T1 payments that care. Donating to the South Florida Fairchild Botanic Gardens. I truly believe that there are so much more we need to learn about plants. There could be one out there that could be the cure for an illness, or an affordable option to help stop hunger.

This post is sponsored by Diamond Links.


Get Cash Back AND Give to your Favorite Charity with Giving Assistant

You guys know I love my cash back sites. I have several that I use fairly regularly.  I like to jump between two or three of them because one might offer more cash back than another at the same store.  Other than that though, I can’t really tell you the difference between the sites and why I think one is better than another. I was to a point where I didn’t really think I was going to sign up for anymore until I found GivingAssistant.org

Giving Assistant is a cash back site yes, BUT, it also allows you to easily donate to your favorite charity as well.  When I signed up I really thought there would be a few hand-picked charities that weren’t even local that I would have to choose from. That’s not the case. I was actually able to choose my local food pantry as my charity. I live in a small town, that blew my mind that I was able to do that!

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It’s not just a few stores to shop through either.  You guys! You can get 4% cash back for shopping at Etsy through Giving Assistant! None of the other cash back sites I use give cash back at Etsy!!

Giving Assistant

As a blogger I use GoDaddy services. I have my URL, web hosting, security, pretty much everything through GoDaddy. Giving Assistant offers a whopping 15% cash back when you purchase GoDaddy product through Giving Assistant.  That’s gonna save me some serious money!

With the holidays coming up, I know I’ll be spending some money at Walmart.  Giving Assistant offers 4% cash back when you shop Walmart.  You know I’ll save any money I can when holiday shopping for 4 kids. I did notice that not all stores participate in the donation so if that’s important to you, you’ll want to check before shopping.

Currently GivingAssistant.org has 1875 participating stores.  What a great way to get your holiday shopping done and give back this season! Sign up for FREE here!

This post is brought to you by GivingAssistant. Any opinions expressed are my own. 


Anniversary of St Croix Habitat for Humanity and Eco Village Completion

It’s Saturday October 8 and today is my birthday.  As timing would have it I also happened to get a press release yesterday telling me today is also the 20th anniversary of St Croix Habitat for Humanity AND the completion of the Eco Village.  Honestly I had never heard of the Eco Villalage but, as I read about it and watched the video I just thought it was an amazing project. I wish I could see this happening in more areas.  I’ve always been a supporter of Habitat for Humanity but this just confirms my respect for this organization .

sustainable-home-st-croix-habitat-for-humanity

Photo credit to St Croix Habitat for Humanity

The time-lapse video for a sustainable living community in River Falls, WI  is from April 2013 to September 2016. EarthCam donated cameras, managed services, and marketing efforts for the project.

Jim Cooper, Associate Director for the St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity stated, “When we set up the EarthCam, we intended it mainly to showcase the Eco Village project of creating a neighborhood of high-performing, energy efficient affordable homes. It succeeded well beyond our expectations, bringing us visitors from throughout the entire country. It let others involved in creating affordable housing, potential donors and partners and anyone curious watch our progress. We will be using the archived images and timelines in fundraising efforts and presentations about our award-winning project. Our EarthCam has spoiled us and I look forward to moving it to our next effort in the spring!”

This video is really cool to watch. I think we need more villages like this in more areas.  I’d love to see more sustainable building and energy resources used for any future construction.

The video and project is Courtesy of EarthCam

 

ABOUT EARTHCAM

EarthCam is the global leader in providing webcam content, technology and services. Founded in 1996, EarthCam provides live streaming video, time-lapse construction cameras and photography documentation for corporate and government clients in major cities around the world. EarthCam leads the industry with the highest resolution cameras available, including the world’s first outdoor gigapixel panorama camera system. This patent-pending technology delivers superior billion pixel clarity for monitoring and archiving important projects and events across the globe. In 2015, EarthCam documented $221 billion of construction projects. The company is headquartered in Northern New Jersey and maintains 12 additional offices worldwide.

Projects documented by EarthCam include: 9/11 Memorial Museum, Atlanta Falcons’ Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Barclays Center, Statue of Liberty and Washington Monument Restorations, New NY Bridge, LaGuardia Airport, The Kingdom Tower, Panama Canal Expansion, Smithsonian Institution Restoration, Brickell City Centre, Minnesota Vikings’ U.S. Bank Stadium, San Diego New Central Library, Qatar Rail, Whitney Museum of American Art, Louvre in Abu Dhabi, Levi’s Stadium and National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Learn more about EarthCam’s innovative solutions at http://www.earthcam.net/.


This Game is Fun for the Whole Family Check It Out

When I’m looking for a family game for my family of 6, there are several things I look for.

  1. Will it be fun for everyone in my family from the adults down to my toddler?
  2. Is there an added benefits to the game? IE. educational, physical activity, non-electronics based
  3. Please don’t let there be a million pieces and and 30 page booklet of rules!

Toss’n Towel has all these benefits and then some. Toss’n Towel Towel was created by Robert F. Smith, 45 yr old  blind Entrepreneur who was born into music royalty (His father was grammy winner and singer OC Smith). His philantropic Little Green Apple Projects was started to promote a million acts of intentional kindness. Toss’n Towel was created as a way to build on that project. There is even a Little Green Apples Toss’n Towel game. Which is the one I received to review.

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The game comes with a carrying case, the “game board” which is a towel, and 8 tossing socks (4 of each color) You can see they have a target on each side with different number. They don’t come with a rule book. They encourage you to make up your own way to play which we did. My littlest 2 kids, 3 of my nieces, and myself all played a game. We made a line on both sides of the towel. We decided to play as teams of 3 on 3.  I didn’t know how it was going to go with so many little ones so I decided to say we’ll play to 15 to start. The kids actually played well with some guidance from me.  They wanted to keep playing. Really they just enjoyed throwing the bean sacks and trying to hit the target.

Toss n towels collage

The kids had fun. This would have been great to have when we went to the beach. You can play this game indoor or outdoors.

Robert also has an indiegogo campaign going on right now for the Little Green Apples project using Toss’n Towel.  He wants to send 10,000 Toss’n Towel games to veterans, deployed military, and senior centers. In addition to the Little Green Apples project, a portion of the proceeds will go to help these three charities: Boys and Girls Club of America (select regional clubs), Pitch In for Baseball, and National Alliance of Resident Services in Affordable and Assisted Housing (NAR-SAAH)

Please consider helping along Robert’s indiegogo campaign. Depending on the denomination you choose you can get your own Toss’n Towel game or other incentives for donating.  If you can’t donate, would you consider sharing the campaign?  Or buy your Toss’n Towel game here

 

I did received the above mentioned/pictured product at no cost in order to complete an honest review. Any opinions expressed are my own. 


April Is National Card And Letter Writing Month: My Letter Writing Memories

Girls Love Mail cards in box

Did you know that April is National Card and Letter Writing Month? Yea, I didn’t.  Well at least not until about a week ago.  When I heard that, it got me thinking.  I have no idea when the last time I sat down and wrote a letter to someone was.  I started thinking about how I used to write to my old college room mate.  I actually found some of her old letters after my family and I moved to our new house. My hubby had them in the burn bin and I found them. I grabbed them out and started reading them again.  Oh my gosh did it bring back memories.  I took a picture of them and shared them with her on facebook.

amy letters

Then I started thinking about how when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade, the teacher asked the class who would like to write to a soldier overseas.  There was a main address to send all the letters to and my letter went to a soldier named Sydney during Desert Storm.  We wrote back and forth.  He sent me a few cool things like water bottle labels and I think a coin or two.  I lost track of him for a while then he sent me a letter in the mail in the off chance I still lived at the same address.  I didn’t but it just so happens that my dad worked in the post office at the time and was able to get the letter directed to me.  Mind you this is something like 20+ years after the last letters were written.  I now talk to him on Facebook (isn’t facebook grand). Anyway, I believe his story was that he was cleaning his garage and came across a box that had letters that people had written to him during his service.  He found some of my letters and that’s how he got in touch again.

Then I had a pen pal in Russia.  Back before the USSR broke up and we didn’t have the little countries like Georgia.  My pen pal’s name was Svetlana.  She tried very hard to write in English we wrote back and forth often but after the USSR was no longer the USSR the letters stopped coming.  I often wonder how Svetlana is doing.

So I know I rambled on a bit there but you can see, all those letters had a special meaning to me and some of the others involved.   It’s like finding a forgotten treasure when you come across old letters.  I know it takes me back to that time, nostalgia I guess people would call it.

So if you want to put pen to paper and celebrate National Card and Letter Writing month I have an idea for you that will be both meaningful and appreciated.

Girls Love Mail

Girls Love Mail is a Northern California Non-profit. Founded in 2011 by Folsom, CA resident Gina L. Mulligan, breast cancer survivor. When undergoing treatment she received over 200 cards and letters from friends, family, and people she never met.  They provided her with inspiration and strength.  Now Girls Love Mail distributes more than 50,000 cards and letters.

“Girls Love Mail lets women know they’re not alone by giving them letters of encouragement when they are first diagnosed,” says Gina. Letter writers of all ages and from across the country are joining us in this intimate act that provides so much comfort to these women. We provide help on the website about how to get started and what to say in your handwritten letter.”

If you’d like to write and send your own card or letter for a cancer patient you can send them to this address:

Girls Love Mail
193 Blue Ravine Road, Suite 120
Folsom, California 95630

I know I will.  I might even make a new friend! You can even check out the Girls Love Mail site if you need ideas or inspiration to start your writing.