Repair It!

Mama's toolkitAs I mentioned in Return It!:

“It’s this disposable mindset that we have slipped into that bothers me most. I find it expensive and wasteful…The clothes are such terrible quality, I can’t bear to use an item of clothing for a few months and then have to put it in a landfill like a used  kleenex or paper towel. Thus, I’ll  spend a little more for quality, so things can be used longer and hold up under reasonable use. And if they don’t, they are returned.”

I save a ton of money by repairing and maintaining the things we purchase. It allows us to use things longer and shop a lot less. We can then pass our gently used treasures on to another family who can also get use out of them. How much money can I really save repairing stuff? Well, you’d be amazed.

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Reuse It!

In Less is the new more I explained the downside of the excellent recycling program here in Seattle:

We all know the mantra: reduce, reuse, recycle. We have a great recycling program here in Seattle which gives us a false sense that just throwing it all in the recycle bin is enough. But when I thought about it, I realized that I most of what I was recycling is only being used once: like plastic bottles, plastic bags and paper bags. Recycling is important when it’s time for disposal, but we should be focusing on reducing and reusing, first and foremost.

In that post, I declared our household plastic bag free. What I didn’t mention, was my secret shame. You see, there was something I was using in the household that was just as wasteful as plastic bags AND has been shown to have detrimental health effects as well.

After the jump, my environmental secret shame. And finding ways to Reuse, Reuse, Reuse, because we have to get out of this single-use, disposable mindset. More

Return it!

I am the queen of the return. It is a great way to un-do bad decisions and save money that would otherwise be wasted. I return on such a regular basis, I have a return shelf in the pantry. As soon as something makes it’s way into the house that shouldn’t, to the return shelf it goes, along with the receipt, so it can be go back from whence it came.

There’s nothing sketchy about it and there is no shame in returning. I shop at stores with excellent return policies and good customer service. For these companies, returns are easily done and never a problem. I shop mindfully and carefully and I expect reasonable quality from the goods I purchase. When this does not happen, the stores are usually more than happy to remedy the situation.

After the jump, everything you need to know about returning, but were afraid to ask. Plus, the greatest return story ever told!

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All about Eve – I do what they can’t do, I just do me

The first time I heard Eve, my first thought was, “Who is this girl and why I haven’t I heard of her sooner?!” Eve is everything I dream of in a female hip hop artist – style, confidence, strength and mad skills.

As I said in an earlier post, MC Lyte set a high standard for female hip hop artists. I am glad to say, Eve is proof that MC Lyte’s legacy is alive and well.

There may be a dearth of female hip hop artists, but Eve holds it down for the ladies. That’s why it’s time you get to know her better. After the jump, your new favorite bad ass, Ms. E-V-E.

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Get thee to the library!

I heart the library so much. Now that we are having serious cutbacks, we go at least once a week, sometimes more.

After the jump, 5 reasons why the library should be your new best friend.

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Holiday spending follow-up: The money hangover sets in

In December, I posted Let’s do something different this year, which outlined our holiday financial plan of attack. It included no credit cards, strict spending limits and the giving of presence not presents.

After the jump, let’s see how the Applebums did.

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Green cleaning: Boiling hot water for the floors

I’m forever trying to use fewer chemical cleaners in the house. Between having small children always on the floors and knowing how toxic most common cleaning products can be, I have been phasing them out over the last few years. However, I can not bring myself to use green cleaning products, not only are they over-priced, they are not as effective. And with the amount of bodily fluids I deal with on a daily basis, I need to feel like things are clean and disinfected.

I was excited to try a tip I read about on Jezebel. Someone recommended boiling water for mopping. A second jezzie chimed in that you could add essential oils to the mix, leaving your home smelling glorious. Seeing how I already had hot water and essential oils in the house, I was excited to give it a try. On Saturday morning Mr. Applebum took the monkees and I pulled out the mop, bucket and tea kettle and got to work.

So after the jump, I road test a FREE green cleaning solution – really hot water! More

I got my star!

This has been a really big week for me on Jezebel. I got my star for commenting and have gained a ton of followers. I will spare you the explanation of what that means, but it has been a goal to earn a star for a few years now. This is how I felt when I got my star:

It’s not what you think, stay with it! (Thanks to GiggleLoop for the link.)

After the jump, a whole bunch of jezebel hip hop congratulations and my celebratory dance.  Because my joy at earning a star could only be expressed through movement to a bomb ass bass line.

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Is it time to lighten your load?

It seems like the last year, well last decade really, has left us all with a lot of baggage. It’s like looking at your house the morning after a great party. It’s pretty trashed but it was so worth it.  So as you look around your life on this first month of the new year, what mess do you need to clean up? What do you need to get rid of, to lighten your load into a new decade?

These are guilded cages.

I have spent the better part of two years clearing out things I don’t need. I have been reading my blog entries which chronicled the Cosmic Colonic which is the name I gave to the process.  It feels like such a long time ago. Our living space has been so cleared out and serene for so long now, I can’t remember it any other way.

As clutter and excess baggage have been removed, I have found clarity and peace. I have found time and space to think, create and connect. After the jump, some excepts to inspire you start your own journey of mental health and well-being.

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I’m the middle class who is being squeezed out. And I am pissed.

It took me months, but I have finally figured out what happened. I haven’t blogged about it partly out of embarrassment and partly because I didn’t think anyone wanted to hear about it during the holidays. But I know what’s happened to the Applebums, is happening to most everyone around us.  We can’t continue to deny the reality any longer. It seems we are all really struggling and the silence between us is a huge part of what got us all here in the first place.

Let  me begin by saying, I consider myself very good with money. I have a business degree, I have done bookkeeping and billing for a business, and am a saver by nature. I am the one who does the money for the family, so I am the one who is accountable. It’s not soley my fault that we are here, but I should have caught it sooner. That’s why I was all the more shocked when I realized how bad it had become. Because for a long time, I felt like we were pretty much on track. And then all the sudden I looked up and it’s like I had been asleep at the wheel.

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