Tuesday, August 21, 2012

EBT Health and Beauty Tip #3 - Home Sweet Home

The first two EBT Health and Beauty Tips that I posted were primarily about natural alternatives to beauty products that we apply to our bodies, externally and internally.  While this is valuable information it is important to be equally as thoughtful about the products we use to keep our homes clean and aromatically pleasing.  I like my home to be a clean, sweet smelling, recharging station for my soul.  This is why you won't find any conventional household cleaners in my cupboards.  Most of them are full of toxic chemicals and artificial scents.  Using my EBT card, I have purchased these few simple items that keep my home clean and fragrant all year long; white vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, oranges, and Cinnamon sticks.

First, the formula that gets used the most in my house is what I call "Everything Cleaner." In case the name isn't clear enough, just about everything gets cleaned with this stuff...windows, counters, floors, cat puke marks etc.  All I do is take a spray bottle (what ever size is available) and fill it half way with white vinegar and the other half with water.  When it's in my budget to be particular about fragrance, I'll add a few drops of Sweet Orange Essential Oil or a splash of lemon juice.  This multi-purpose cleaner only costs me pennies per bottle and will not cause any potential hazards to me or my cat.

Secondly, the 'dynamic duo' that I often rely on when my kitchen and bathroom drains get sluggish or if I get fresh blueberry stains on my new shirt is baking soda and white vinegar.  They are like magic together!  When I notice the water in my sinks is not draining as fast as it should, the remedy that has yet to fail me is about 1 heaping TBSP of baking soda, followed by a slash of white vinegar.  It foams up quite a bit and then fizzles out.  I splash vinegar on it two or three times, always waiting for the foaming to stop before the next splash.  Then it sits for at least an hour before it all gets rinsed down with very hot water.  Since I've implemented this procedure into my home-maintenance routine, I have never had to buy any conventional drain cleaning products. This 'dynamic duo' has helped me through more than just clogged pipes though.  While enjoying my before bed cartoons and munching on some tasty blueberries one evening, I somehow missed my big mouth and got blueberry stains on my brand new top!  Immediately I took it off, covered the affected area with baking soda, soaked it in white vinegar and left it in the sink over-night.  The next morning it went in a load of laundry (washed in cold water) and came out looking new again.  No stains!  I love this 'dynamic duo!'

Also, I notice that aromas can affect the way I feel.  Weather permitting, just opening the windows to allow fresh air in the house can often be enough to boost my mood.  Living in Ohio though, this is not always a possibility.  On dreary winter days when that fresh air scent has long gone, I can always rely on an orange peel and a few Cinnamon  sticks to add that needed zing to the air!  I start with a medium saucepan about 2/3 full of water.  Then I add the peel of an orange or two and three or four sticks of Cinnamon. I let it simmer on the stove without a lid until about half the water is gone.  By that time my house smells delicious!  I will often set the timer in 30 minute increments, just to remind me that something is cooking in case I get engrossed in a project in another area of the house.  If the orange peel is from an organic orange and the water is distilled, I have been known to drink a cup of the leftover orange-Cinnamon water as well.

I really hope you have enjoyed this series of "EBT Health and Beauty Tip" postings.  Everyone has the right to be healthy and feel beautiful, regardless of socioeconomic status.  I don't consider having an EBT card a status symbol, something to be ashamed of, or something to depend on for a lifetime.  However, I have gotten where I am today because I take it upon myself to learn what my resources are and how to use my resources wisely!  Be well!

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