Thursday, April 30, 2009

Any Mommies Out There?

Newborns In Need will also take gently used clothing! Lots of babies out there could use your child's outgrown clothing. Consider making them a donation to your local Newborns In Need chapter. Simply go to and find a chapter in your area.

If you do not know how to knit, crochet, or sew, consider donation supplies to your local Newborns in Need chapter. Many people with experience in these crafts, may not have the financial means to purchase supplies, but would be thrilled to turn these supplies into wearables for the needy babies.

Perhaps you would like to host a baby shower to collect donations? A fun reason to get together with friends and a most worthy cause!

Your contribution will be greatly appreciated! On behalf of needy babies everywhere, a big THANK YOU!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Newborns in Need

Do you have a special talent for knitting, crocheting, or sewing? Newborns in Need is a wonderful organization committed to providing support to low or no income parents of newborns. To find out more about the organization and how you can make a difference in the lives of these needy babies, please go to the following website. A child is waiting.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Lowering Your Cost of Living

Tell us what you have done in the last year to lower your living expenses. How are you saving money? Cutting coupons? Buying only on sale? Hosting a clothing exchange? Give us your ideas and share your experiences. We want to know!

Are You Going Green?

Tell us how you are going green! What are you doing to change how you live in order to protect the environment for our next generation.
Cutting Gardening Costs

When shopping for plants, look for those that are in bad shape, but not dead. Ask the manager of the store what kind of a deal he or she might give you if you were to take them off his or her hands. Oftentimes, the store no longer wants to deal with plants in this condition. You may be surprised - and it doesn't cost anything to ask!

Know other gardeners in your area? Why not ask for clippings or starter plants? Many gardening enthusiasts are happy to share! They may even give you helpful information on how to care for your new plants.

Save your seeds! At the end of the season, store your seeds in a brown paper bag or envelope and keep them in the garage (if unheated) or freezer. The seeds will go "dormant" as they would naturally, and will be ready for spring planting.

Buy seeds from the gardening store at the end of the season. Most seeds are still good for a few years after their expiration date.

Got any other ideas to share? Feel free to contribute your ideas!

Protect yourself from Swine Flu

What You Can Do to Stay Healthy

There are everyday actions people can take to stay healthy.

* Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
* Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.

Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

* Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
* If you get sick, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

Useful Links

Helpful information about dryer sheets. Please check out the link below for all kinds of uses! Thanks, Sue!

Please note that you can also use a crumbled up piece of aluminum foil in your dryer. It will eliminate the static electricity, you can reuse it over and over and save on the cost of buying dryer sheets! Or if you like the fresh scent of your favorite dryer sheet, simply cut them in half and they will last twice as long!


Gardening Basics

Since it is nearly time to begin planting – well, it is here in northern Illinois – I thought it best to begin with an article on gardening. Let us begin with the basics.

After the danger of frost, which is usually about May first in this area, it is safe to begin planting your vegetable garden. If you are fortunate enough to live on a large parcel of land, you can plant enough vegetables to feed a family of four for the year! If you live in town, and have only a small patch of land, there are techniques that you can use to maximize your garden space.


The key to a good garden is to PLAN FIRST! Know the kinds of vegetables that you and your family will eat. Know the cool weather crops from the warm weather crops. Know where the sunny spot in your yard is, as most vegetables need plenty of sunlight.

Our yard happens to be partly shady, however, in the early spring (such as now) the trees that surround us are still quite bare and allow lots of sun to come through. It is a good time to begin planting. This sun will allow the young seeds and plants to get a good start. Be prepared, however, to cover your plantings should Mother Nature fool us and the weather turn cold unexpectedly.

Allow plenty of space between plants. Remember they will grow to fill in much of the space around them. If you plant from seed, be prepared to thin out your crop accordingly. It is a mistake I have made more than once in my zeal to grow more than my garden space allows. If you do not allow enough space, you will end up with small plants that bear little or no fruit. Check the backs of the seed packets for information on how much space each plant requires, how deep to plant your seeds, and how much sun and water is required for your plants to grow. It will also tell you when it is the ideal time to plant that particular vegetable in your area.


To begin planning your garden, mark off the area in which your plants will get plenty of sunlight. Measure and mark your lines, then turn the soil. I suggest adding peat moss and blending it well throughout the dirt. Adding a border will help prevent weeds from spreading into your garden and also can be an attractive addition. Though you can use almost anything to create your border, I suggest something smooth such as brick, or treated lumber, or concrete cinder blocks. This will allow you to mow along the outside of your garden and save you the time of having to weed whack later in the season to keep it neat.

If you have pets, I highly recommend fencing your garden. A wire fence is best in my opinion, because it throws less shade. If you have a small space, as I do, you will want to maximize the growing area.


After you have selected which plants to buy, and which to start from seed, you may begin to plant. I like to start with a row of stringless pole beans along the back of my garden. If you remember to get the stringless kind, it will be much less work for you at harvest time! Bush beans are fine, as well, but I prefer pole beans. For our situation, they get more sunlight as they grow vertically up the trellis, and since we are somewhat deficient in sunlight, we need to find it where we can!

When choosing a location for your plants within the garden, I suggest planting the taller ones in back and graduating downward in size as you work your way to the front of the garden. Leave enough space in between rows so that you can easily walk through your garden without stepping on your plants. Remember, they will grow much bigger than they are now!

When beginning with seedlings, I highly recommend using a watered down solution containing a good plant starting fertilizer such as Miracle-Gro for vegetables. Follow the directions on the package for the proper water-to-fertilizer ratio. Dip the root ball of the seedling into the solution before you plant. It will give the plant a good healthy start. For plants such as tomatoes or peppers that may require a cage or stakes, I suggest you install them shortly after planting. This will prevent possibly injury to the roots that can happen quite easily after the plants have had a chance to grow.

Once your garden is planted, be sure to water regularly and feed them per the instructions on the fertilizer package. You may also want to line the spaces in between rows with newspaper and/or mulch to help prevent weeds.

One thing that I like to do is to surround my garden with marigolds. The Marigold is a natural repellent to many creatures – insects and otherwise. The flowers are also edible, and can make a pretty garnish. I also like the bright splash of color that it brings to the yard. Many herbs act in the same manner, even going so far as to repel deer!

Lastly, remember to have some fun! Gardening should be joyous! A good way to stay connected with the earth!

Good luck with your garden! Please share your experiences with us – successes as well as failures! Your tips and ideas are most welcome!

Happy Gardening!

Monday, April 27, 2009


Welcome to my new Blog!

Living With Nature, is a forum for discussing ways to live green in our changing world. It is set up to be an exchange of ideas and techniques for treading lightly on the earth, while eating healthy and living green!

We hope that you will find this site informative, and look forward to hearing from you.