The school year has finally kicked off for us Angelenos. Yay! Since I still haven't received the official list of school supplies needed, I am glad that all the Back to School sales are still going on.
As any school-aged parent knows, Back to School spending does not stop with school supplies and clothing because there are other associated costs throughout the school year. Last year, I had to pay for a portion of the field trips, chip in on monthly beverage fees, provide monthly snacks, bought teacher's gifts and the list goes on.
If you just started the school year and want additional Back to School ideas, our DealPros are awesome at doing just that. If you're not interested in anything school related, they also have tips on reducing your cable bill, making popcorn out of the wok and more.
Still looking for a few Christmas gifts? These eco-friendly
stocking stuffers make great last-minute additions. You have just a
few more days left to order them online, and you can also find
these items--or something very similar--in many local stores. If
you need a large stand-alone gift, just rescue a pretty basket from
your local thrift store, add your favorite items from our gift
list, and top it all off with a bow.
Being made of wood isn't an automatic guarantee that your child's
toys are eco-friendly. Some hardwoods, in particular, come from
old-growth forests that simply aren't a sustainable resource at the
rate we're using them up. Look for labeling that indicates the wood
was harvested from a sustainable source. Better yet, items that are
FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified, or at least
I will freely admit that I am one of the cheapest people I know. As such, I often shop for used items on Craigslist (and the like) when other people would buy new. There are just certain things that are hard to justify the expense of new when they haven't changed in forever and they were made to last in the first place.
At the top of the list of these things are cars and durable goods like appliances and tools.
If you have been following along, you may have seen my recent review of the Troy-bilt electric garden cultivator. I wasn't just tilling for the hell of it, or even for the sake of writing the review. Nope. I have a little vegetable garden, even though it's one of my least favorite food groups. I grow them, but it's my wife who enjoys them. I eat them, but I'm not going to lie and say I like it.
Of course, now you're wondering why? Why would a guy who races motorcycles and cars, and does his own plumbing and roofing want to dig, water and pull weeds, especially when he doesn't even like vegetables?
It's been said that the right amount of herbs and spices can make anything taste good. Bland fried potatoes become delicious French fries with just a little salt. Red pepper on plain cheese pizza can really bring out the flavor. Unfortunately, many recipes call for more than just a little salt and pepper, and buying all manner of dried herbs at the supermarket can become a clutter-inducing endeavor. Fresh herbs are obviously better, but the ones you buy at the store cost more and go bad quickly.
How to solve this dilemma? Grow your own. Sound daunting? It isn't.
Whether you live on a big farm or in a small apartment in the city, herbs are one of the easiest things you can grow.
I am a suburban home owner and like many other home owners I have a small vegetable garden in my back yard. Last year was my first year attempting to grow anything and it was a real learning experience. For one thing, I learned that even after adding six inches of free dirt from Craigslist, I still had soil better suited for making adobe bricks than for growing tomatoes.
So, what to do? Well, this year I was going to dig deep break up all the hard clay and start fresh. Doing it by hand, even in my 5" x 12" garden would be a backbreaking task.
Time to call in the power tools! Luckily I had a Troy-Bilt TB154 tiller at my disposal for the weekend.
But, the real question to be answered: Would one of the smallest, least
expensive, lightest weight tillers be tough enough to break up the hard
packed clay of my 50 year-old suburban back yard? Let's break out the
Troy-Bilt tiller and see.