Grab Bag

Shanty Town Collage

I’ve got a great post for you today that is definitely on its way to becoming a Shanty Town Classic. Staying true to our motto todays post is a collection of odds and ends with a few bits and pieces!

The first thing I am sharing caught my attention I wrote a similar article about reusing plastic earlier this year.  This is a really good but simple idea and is a great way to repurpose your old plastic bottles. It is called Bottle Dip Irrigation and uses plastic jugs to irrigate your garden and apply water directly to the roots. I am definitely going to give this method a try when I get my vegetable garden started next month. I’ll keep you posted on the results.

 

Spring has begun! Time to break out the cute summer wear! Here are three great articles essential for spring and summer months!

The summer can really take a toll on your hair especially if yours is colored. Luckily you can protect your strands and look great. Grab a silk scarf and head over to 1 Foulard 3 Possibilities for some of this season’s go to hair styles.

Just because you’re not at the beach doesn’t mean you can’t imitate the just stepped of the sand look. Click here for a quick tutorial on cheap and easy beach waves that work great on all hair types.

Everyone is worried about looking their best in their swimsuits. Not only does it feel good to be fit it’s also good for your health and mood.  Learn how to get and stay in shape easily without the gym or expensive trainers at Great List.

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Sex.

Now that I have your attention I’d like to talk about a recent online article that caught my eye.  Amid cries of triumph and in some cases outrage Utah has passed a bill banning sex education in schools. Many concerned parents and faculty members are speculating how this will affect the students and what if anything can be done about it.  Today I would like to delve a little deeper into Sex – The New Taboo.

Will this solve the problem?

It’s been joked about in movies for years but is The Talk still a part of growing up? If Utah lawmakers have their way it will have to be if you want your children educated about safe sex.  In a vote that passed 19-10 it stated that: “Human sexuality instruction or instructional programs may not include instruction in, or the advocacy of, the intricacies of intercourse, sexual stimulation, or erotic behavior; homosexuality; the use of contraceptive methods or devices; or sexual activity outside of marriage,” reads the bill, HB 363.

Sex it seems is something lawmakers believe should be addressed at home. I cannot say that I disagree with that view but I can also see huge problems.  According to the CDC one in every ten mothers is a teenager more than nine times that of teens in other developed nations. Pregnancy isn’t the only concern for sexually active teenagers.  More research shows that one in four teenage girls has an STD and girls aren’t the only ones at risk. The rate of boys aged 15-19 diagnosed with AIDs has doubled in the last 10 years with syphilis on the rise as well.  With statistics like this it’s hard not to question the effectiveness of Sex Education and Parent to child communication.

What can you do?

 No matter what your standpoint is on sex education  I think everyone can agree that we want what is best for our children. A major part of educating teenagers about safe sex is to give them information they will use to make potentially life changing decisions.  Just that you are willing to take the time to answer their questions can make a huge impact.

Don’t forget to listen!

Ultimately the decision on whether or not to have the talk with your children and how you go about it is up to you.  I urge you to at least let your kids know that they can come to you with questions or concerns. It never hurts to have good communication with your loved ones.

How do you feel about the ban on Sex Education in schools? Will you talk to your children about safe sex and abstinence? Leave a comment below!

You can find more information about sex education and prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/

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A Life in Plastic – New Uses for Old Bags

If your like me chances are you probably have a hidden stash of plastic grocery bags hidden under your sink or in a spare drawer.  The Wall Street Journal reported that US consumers go through over 100 billion plastic bags each year. Although many of them are recycled, the majority of these are tossed in the trash ending up in landfills, along roadsides, and in the oceans. These easily discarded carriers pose suffocation and other health threats to humans and animals alike.  In hopes of putting my dent in the growing epidemic that is plastic waste I’ve compiled a list of some easy fun recycling ideas.

1. Plarn- Plarn is “yarn” made from plastic bags that are cut into strips and crocheted to make any number of things I am particularly fond of baskets and rugs but you can even make sandles! The plastic creates durable stiff products with very little maintenance. (just hose them off.)

2. Plastic bags can be used as a quick replacement in the kitchen standing in for pastry frosting bags just snip the corner. I used this method recently to make filled cupcakes and it worked perfectly.

3. Packing material – instead of shelling out your hard-earned money on packing peanuts try using balled up plastic bags and newspapers to cushion your package for free.
4. Painting – Do you like the look of leather? It is easy to achieve and all you need is paint and you guessed it a plastic bag!  Heres a link to that project http://www.hgtv.com/decorating/decorative-paint-technique-leather/index.html

5. Get creative – bracelets, flowers, soccer balls. With a little imagination and some trial and error there’s no limit to the uses you can find for what would otherwise get tossed. Remember one person trash is another’s treasure!

I am still looking for more ways to reuse the bags that will permanently keep them out of landfills and would love to hear your ideas!

Sometimes I Wonder

Sometimes I wonder in my mind to that passing stranger with whom I have locked eyes if only for a moment, a fleeting longing glance in my direction, Am I the one you are seeking?  My thoughts clouded like waking from a dream. You could swear that you have known me , loved me, shared joy and pain with me. No need to speak to confirm these things you know as well as I. We grew up together you were with me, a boy or girl with me and I with you. We ate and played and slept together, though our bodies have become not our own.  It is not our place to speak only to think of each other in quiet times when we are alone.

Have you ever felt like you have known someone you just met for your whole life?  Do you think souls of friends, family, and lovers from past lives can come back and encounter us in this one?  I would love to hear your thoughts and stories.

Dandelions – The most underappreciated Weed.

I recently read a fellow bloggers article which sparked my childhood memories of this amazing and all to misunderstood plant.  From food to medicine to wine dandelions have myriad uses granting this usually intimidating menace a well-loved spot in the garden.

If you have a lawn chances are you’ve spent countless hours in the spring and summer trying to rid yourself of these small yellow flowers. Well now you can give up the fight and embrace one of the most versatile and abundant plants thriving in even the most urban settings.

Dandelion greens are one of the seasons first arrivals of edible plants best when picked young they give a powerful punch of Vitamin A and C.  The entire plant root, flower, and stem are used.

The root once harvested is ground and used as a substitute for coffee if you’re in the mood for a change and is similar to chicory. To make this after harvesting the roots you will have to dry, chop, and roast them. After this you grind them and steep in boiling water.  It isn’t your typical cup of joe but when you stumble to the kitchen and find your out of coffee it beats running to the store in your curlers and it is said to be a good tonic for your liver.

The green leaves  boiled with wild onions if your camping makes for a quick easy meal or if you’re at home they are tasty sauted with onion, garlic, and a few chopped peppers. Or you can toss fresh washed greens in with any salad.

Dandelion wine is similarly easy to make using the recipe below variations of which can be found online. 

  • 3 qts dandelion flowers
  • 1 lb golden raisins
  • 1 gallon water
  • 3 lbs granulated sugar
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 orange
  • yeast and nutrientPick the flowers just before starting, so they’re fresh. You do not need to pick the petals off the flower heads, but the heads should be trimmed of any stalk. Put the flowers in a large bowl. Set aside 1 pint of water and bring the rest to a boil. Pour the boiling water over the dandelion flowers and cover tightly with cloth or plastic wrap. Leave for two days, stirring twice daily. Do not exceed this time. Pour flowers and water in large pot and bring to a low boil. Add the sugar and the peels (peel thinly and avoid any of the white pith) of the lemons and orange. Boil for one hour, then pour into a crock or plastic pail. Add the juice and pulp of the lemons and orange. Allow to stand until cool (70-75 degrees F.). Add yeast and yeast nutrient, cover, and put in a warm place for three days. Strain and pour into a secondary fermentation vessel (bottle or jug). Add the raisins and fit a fermentation trap to the vessel. Strain and rack after wine clears, adding reserved pint of water and any more required to top up. Leave until fermentation ceases completely, then rack again. Set aside 2 months and rack and bottle. This wine must age six months in the bottle before tasting, but will improve remarkably if allowed a year.

For more in-depth information read all about the wonderful dandelion at http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/d/dandel08.html  or  http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Dandelion and read why people should be more like dandelions at fellow wordpress blogger anita kellams page.

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