Tag Archives: Frugal

solid shampoo is a win

photoSo I’m wandering the haircare aisle looking for a shampoo that won’t strip the oils out of my dry hair, isn’t full of toxic type chemicals, doesn’t cost a fortune, doesn’t pollute the environment, and is in a skinny enough bottle that it will fit on the side of my tub.   I spied a tiny little package – the only bar in the shampoo aisle.  I’d never heard of a bar shampoo so took a closer look.  This is J.R. Liggett’s old fashioned bar shampoo. It has no synthetic oils, no chemical concoctions, no plastic bottle, no detergents, so this shampoo won’t strip the natural oils from hair, is good for our water (from bathing in streams, to city showers because it travels well and doesn’t pollute!)

It sounded interesting, and seemingly fit all my criteria and more.  The ingredients are mostly oils such as  olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, a little bit of New Hampshire spring water, sodum Hydroxide (a binder) and essential oils for fragrance.

Since it was cheaper than most regular shampoos, I bought a bar to try it out. It doesn’t have a noticeable smell, so I can’t tell what essential oils were used.  I rubbed the bar shampoo around in my wet hands to make a lather, and shampooed as usual.  I can’t say my hair came out looking salon like, but it looks and feels CLEAN, and it’s not as dry as when using regular bottle shampoo with no conditioner, so probably all those oils in the bar soap are doing a good job of moisturizing.

I used it on my guinea pig and it lathered up and rinsed out fast and complete ( a plus when bathing animals!).  My husband tried it with his short hair and said he barely used any at all and it was effective.

I think J.R. Liggett’s is a keeper:)

I got the wire chair as an attempt at a soap dish, and it seems to work well to keep the shampoo bar dry.  I think the bar would melt into a sloppy mess if it didn’t have a place to dry out between uses.

inventors create affordable brace to correct clubfoot

What looks like a toy, works like a charm, and corrects clubfoot in children … all for $20?  This new invention by Stanford students is a game changer for the 1 in a thousand children born worldwide with clubfoot each year.  These kids currently wear heavy ill-fitting braces with attached boots that are difficult if not impossible to walk in – that is, IF their parents can afford the $300-$700 price.

These new braces are lightweight, designed to look and feel like a child’s toy, children can stand and walk in them, and they cost $20.  Instead of boots attached permanently to a metal brace, this new technology  features  shoes that can be removed and worn separately, so it’s easier for parents to fit them on wiggly toddlers.

Learn more about this new clubfoot brace and see a video of happy kids using the technology here.

My son is not going to college

Toby dressed as the 'Repair Wizard' at Mac PCx on Halloween 2013

Toby dressed as the ‘Repair Wizard’ at Mac PCx on Halloween 2013

My high school senior is chomping at the bit ready to move on after 14 years of classroom education.  He’s going to high school part time and working part time at a computer store diagnosing and repairing computers.  His past resume includes volunteering at Free Geek where he learned to take apart and put together computers, then trained others to do so.   As a high school sophomore he took computer classes in C++ and other programming languages.  He’s currently studying on his own to get CompTA+ certified, and through a school class learning to write code and design his own website.  He’s been saving up his work money and when he turns 18 plans to purchase professional design software and begin his own software company on the side.

As a parent, I’m getting bombarded at all sides by society telling me my son MUST get a college degree or he’ll never get a living wage job. My son tells me “I know what I want – to work with computers and design computer software.  Why spend 4+ more years in a classroom and be thousands of dollars in debt before I do what I want?”

He’s got a point there.

He says a company should pay to train him in what else they might need because he’s a fast and motivated learner.  He also said that computer technology is growing /changing so fast that what he’d learn in a classroom would be practically obsolete by the time he got out of college, so taking courses now and building on those courses as he works makes more sense than spending his money/time on PE 101 and introduction to Lit classes.  He is studying and problem solving on his own to be on the cutting edge, and expects to be paid for his work (he feels he’s already done the internship route and proved himself).  He is calm about this.  He is focused.  I’m the one freaking out inside.  I’ve heard my whole life “Everyone needs a college education to get a good job”…yet many people in their 20’s  (as well as older adults) who have expensive university educations are looking for work that pays a living wage.

My child has his own vision.  I trust my son and support his wisdom.  And if in a few years he decides that a college education would be beneficial to him, he’ll have the money saved up, or the contacts made, to create a path where he doesn’t have debt.  That’s pretty amazing planning/thinking for a 17 year old.

Make your own prosthetics for less then $10

Using free internet plans, your local 3D printer, and less than $10 for materials you can make your own hand prosthetics (what currently cost $20,000 ready-made).  Here’s what curiosity, collaboration, and a little love can do.

book: Zero Waste Home

zero waste homeZero Waste Home by Bea Johnson, is a book  of  fun and practical ideas written by a frugal French mom living in America with her American husband and 2 boys. While several of her ideas I already have in practice (she details composting, de-cluttering, simplifying), I found many new ideas such as a simple multi-purpose balm, techniques for waterproofing leather, and special towel folding techniques to carry food to picnics and wrap gifts.   So far I’ve tried her cocoa powder eye shadow, where I brushed cocoa powder on my eyelids.  I then asked my 17 year old son what he thought.  He was like “Mom – it makes you look old and wrinkly!”  I put on my glasses and sure enough even though I liked the color, this is a tip for someone much younger…but it was fun and simple to try!

Bea gives a list of houseplants that clean the air, tips on travel, recipes, stories from her own family, decorating, cleaning, wardrobe, gift wrapping, simple home building/craft projects, holidays and more.   It was a fun read, a cross between homesteading and housekeeping, humor and practicality, simplicity and relaxation.  Instead of making me feel overwhelmed, she made me feel comfortable and curious to try new ideas.

Check out Zero Waste Home By Bea Johnson from your local library or bookstore.

Free fruit gleaning from all over the world!

pear tree lots of pearsFallingFruit.org is an an urban harvesting map that brings together community and city data bases from all over the internet/world.  Find, add, and edit information on the wild edibles growing in your neighborhood.  Check out  http://www.fallingfruit.org/ to find and share free urban fruit that otherwise would go to waste.

debt collection agency as heros?

The future of debt collection is customer care. In this video, an innovative business leader carves out a practical way to not only make more money, but make a difference.