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I'm usually appalled when my mother asks for detailed Christmas lists for each member of our family in October. "Really?!" I want to scream, "I haven't even got the last stitches in the Halloween costumes, and you want Christmas lists?" Instead, I smile and politely oblige, having no other choice if I want to keep peace in the family.
This year, however, after spending several days compiling these lists (after all, I don't want my children getting toys they have no interest in, or worse yet, socks, for Christmas), I had an epiphany: I could get my shopping done in November, save some much cherished cash, and enjoy the entire month of December by baking, playing with my family, and not stressing about shopping!
No, I haven't thanked my dear mother, but I did learn some interesting information about the best things to buy, and not to buy, in November.
You may or may not recall my recent post on the "perfect deal" where I explained the three things vital to my happiness in frugal shopping. They were price, quality and convenience. Never before have I had a perfect deal ruined so badly by the lack of convenience as I did with my recent trip to IKEA. I found IKEA's mix of Swedish minimalism and American apathy too much to bear. I know I'm not alone because Stella told me that IKEA is Swedish for "some assembly required"...followed by maniacal laughter.
Want to keep chemicals out of your home? Start with your furniture. Carcinogenic formaldehyde is typically found in most mass-produced furniture foams, while glues and finishes usually contain volatile organic compounds. Better known as VOCs, these spend years off-gassing toxic vapors that are potentially carcinogenic and deplete the ozone.
Composting is great for helping your plants grow, preventing certain plant diseases and deterring some pests in your garden. Composting also helps prevent food scraps and yard waste from heading to the landfill, and saves you money on gardening products you would otherwise buy at the store.
You can compost inside on your countertop or outside, but if you are just starting out, I suggest trying a kitchen compost to see how you like it.
Stepping into my kitchen is always fun, as I pass the pots of green filled with fragrant smells and beautiful leaves ready to be plucked and added to soups, stews, breads or whatever else I take a fancy to.
Fresh herbs in the kitchen are a delight, and they are actually pretty easy to grow. With Spring arriving, many of you out there are wanting to get some gardening done. The sad truth is that most people will start to garden, and then end up failing because they take on too much right off the bat.
An easy way to start gardening is to just begin by growing some indoor herbs. Here are some of my favorite herbs to grow, that are also very easy to grow.
1. Pineapple Sage. This easy-to-grow sage plant smells of heavenly pineapple. It's perfect for soups, stews and Italian dishes, but I'm particularly a fan of just smelling its beautiful aroma on a daily basis.
2. Cilantro. This plant is so hearty, that it's pretty near impossible to kill. So if you have a thumb that is nowhere near a shade of green, then this should make you happy. Cilantro is great for when you're wanting to add a little bit of oomph to Mexican night.