A Guide to Container Homes

by Anne 3 Comments

With home prices soaring, people are getting a lot more creative when it comes to building their homes. People are increasingly thinking outside the box when it comes to home ownership and are creating unique homes that don’t break the bank. For a fraction of the cost of a regular house, container homes are here to stay.

It is not only young hipsters that are deciding to build homes out of recycled containers, it is people of all ages – and it is becoming more and more popular. TV shows are made about tiny house builds and a growing group of people are resorting to living small instead of in huge MacMansions.

ContainerHome

Container homes are becoming popular all over the world as an affordable housing option.

 

Shipping containers are typically eight feet wide by 20-30 feet long. They are stackable and like Lego blocks, can be put in any way you like. For the most part shipping containers are only used for 10-15 years to ship goods in and it is estimated that there are over 24 million used cargo containers that will never be used for shipping again.

You may be wondering, “Why on Earth would I use an old shipping container to build a home?” Here are just a few of the reasons why more and more people are turning shipping containers into homes:

ContainerHomeGuideAffordability: Building a container home is incredibly cost effective. If you’ve already looked into the cost of new or second hand container you obviously know what I mean. You can sometimes get lucky and get them for as little as a couple thousand dollars. Framing a traditional house will cost you many times that.

Design: You can easily modify shipping container to create a modern sleek look. For example, you can turn one side into a glass wall to allow natural light to come in. Another neat design option is to use wood flooring to give it a classic design.

Strength: Shipping containers are built extremely strong with few weak points making them a great starting point or building block, if you will. They are flood and fire proof, which makes them an excellent home building material. If you live in an area with a termite problem then a shipping container home will save you a lot of hassle.

Time: Because the majority of the home is already built you can have a complete home built in record time. Many people have built their container homes in as little as three weeks.

Unique: Even though container homes are on the rise they are still unique and will stand out from every other home. You decide which interior building materials to use, making your home completely one-of-a-kind.

Here are some incredibly unique container homes:

Green: Recycling an old shipping container and using it to build with is a great green idea and many others will see the important example you’re setting.
As you can see, there are many benefits!

So what do you do if you have decided that you want to build a home out of an old shipping container? Warren Thatcher is a professional builder by trade.  But he’s not your average builder. He uses shipping containers to build exciting and creative homes for a fraction of the price of building a home using conventional methods.

Warren has built container homes for the past 15 years and during that time he’s helped hundreds of others build their very own container home. To help even more people, he has created a simple to follow DIY guide to building a container home.  Click the link below to have a closer look and order the plans.

=> Check out some of Warren Thatcher’s creative designs here

Container_House2

Two-level container homes are becoming more and more popular.

 

Here are some tips Warren will teach you along with his container home plans:

  • How to buy containers at the lowest possible price.
  • Crucial pre-purchase inspection tips
  • How to obtain your permit
  • Learn how to correctly prepare your site for footings or concrete foundations
  • Design and layout planning tips
  • Full electrical layout diagrams
  • Bonus: 15 3D container layout options
  • And lots more…
A guide to container homes

Click image to purchase these container plans.

 

Here are some reviews from people that have used the plans:

“… this is the best resource ever!”

“I’ve searched sooo many websites but am so glad I stumbled onto this one. The construction plans are the best I’ve found and I can say with confidence; this is the best resource ever!. Awesome 3D designs and easy to follow instructions”

– Matt. H.
via e-mail

“Highly recommend this guide”

“Lucky I got this guide. I was going about the construction process entirely the wrong way and this has saved me much more than I paid, not to mention the time I’ve saved. I highly recommend this guide.”

– Karren W.
via e-mail

“A+ on the product Warren”

“A+ on the product Warren. Worth the investment and highly recommend to others.”

– Thomas H.
via e-mail

“A must purchase”

“A must purchase if your considering building a home from a shipping container. I completed my container home just 3 weeks ago and couldn’t be happier with the final product. Without the help of Warrens guide to building a container home it would cost thousands more and taken weeks longer.

Love your work “

– Thomas H.
via e-mail

There are millions of container homes up for grabs. We may as well put them to good use instead of letting them sit around and go to waste. Building a home can take as little as three weeks and cost you a fraction of what a regular home would.

The best way to get started is to educate yourself about building a container home. All topics are covered in the downloadable guide – buy it through the link below.

=> Click here to have a closer at Warren Thatcher’s guide to container homes.

 

 

Silicone Lids – Reduce the Need for Foil

by Anne 0 Comments

Would you like to help reduce the mountains of tinfoil and saran-wrap in our landfills? A silicone lid is a great tool to eliminate the need for one-use-only wrap in any household.

 

A few weeks ago I stopped by my local kitchen gadget store to sign up for one of their cooking classes. Since I was already there, I had a look around the store to see what was new. I mean, a little peek around doesn’t hurt, does it? I got chatting with the owners who showed me their top selling item at the moment: silicone lids.

I had never heard about silicone lids (Amazon.com link) and frankly was a bit sceptical, so the owner demonstrated how you can use them on top of any kind of bowl, pot or pan instead of saran wrap or tinfoil. When she showed me how she could lift a glass bowl up by the silicone lid’s handle I was sold. The vacuum these lids create on a smooth surface rim of a bowl is incredible. No air will get in, so this means that you can use this in your fridge for leftovers or for picnics to keep flies away.

Features:

  • FDA Food Grade Silicone – Microwave, oven, freezer, refrigerator, and dishwasher safe!
  • Lead-free, PVC-free and phthalate-free.
  • Suitable for use on all smooth surfaces: plastic, glass, stainless steel, melamine, and ceramic.
  • Creates an airtight, watertight, and spill proof seal for reheating and storing.
  • Stands up to 450F

I immediately thought of a use for one of these lids. We have recently bought a Food Cycler (it is sort of an indoor composter) and we keep the compost pail on the kitchen countertop and add organic material to it. When it is full we bring the pail downstairs where we keep the machine and let it run it overnight. However, no one likes stinky onion peels and egg shells on the countertop, so I needed a lid to keep any smells contained. I bought an 8″ silicone lid and it fits perfectly on the compost pail. I keep the silicone lid on the compost pail and then peel it off when I need to add organic matter to the bin. This way no one can see or smell the food scraps in the compost bin.

Uses for silicone lids

  • For leftovers in the fridge
  • For serving bowls outside to keep the flies away
  • For those bowls that you love but the lid has gone missing
  • Splatter guard for reheating food in the microwave oven
  • Great to prevent food like pasta from drying out on the dinner table
Set of Silicone Lids

If you are not sure which size of silicone lid to get, you can buy a set of silicone lids in various sizes. Click on the image to check them out at Amazon.com.

Things to keep in mind when using silicone lids

I find that the silicone lids work best of there is a slight overhang, so the best thing to do is to put the lid on a bowl with a diameter smaller than the lid. This gives a better vacuum and prevents the lid from sliding into the bowl.

These silicone lids can take up to 450F, so I wouldn’t recommend using them in the oven at very high temperatures.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if you use silicone lids in a lighter colour, they may over time start to absorb the colour of your food. So if you for example cook with a lot of curry and turmeric, your white silicone lid may start to look a little orange over time. In that case it may be a good idea for you to buy silicone lids in more solid colours as opposed to the more translucent ones.

Rectangular Silicone Lid

Rectangular silicone lids are perfect for your oven safe glassware that didn’t come with a lid. Click image to have a close look on Amazon.com.

Conclusion:

These silicone lids are ingenious. You can use them as splatter guards for when you cook on your stove top or in your microwave. They stick airtight to bowls and can be used to store leftovers in the fridge, eliminating the need for saran wrap and tin foil that are bad for the environment.

You will save a lot of money over time on plastic wrap and tinfoil because the silicone lid is reusable after a quick wash. If everyone used these lids we could almost eliminate the need for saran-wrap and aluminum foil. One thing’s for sure, a lot less waste from our household will end up in the landfill because of silicone lids.

Click here to shop for silicone lids on Amazon.com.

 
 
 
 

How To Get Rid of Dog Fleas Naturally

by Anne 0 Comments

What do you do if you want to get rid of dog fleas in a natural way? A fellow dog owner taught me her great trick.

Fleas can be a big problem for dog owners. And an even bigger problem for the poor pooch that suffers because of flea bites. I don’t want to use any flea treatment with chemicals in it, so I have tried a number of home remedies in the past that really didn’t seem to help.

I chatted with another dog owner at our local dog park and she recommended the Vet’s Best Flea & Tick Home Spray (Amazon.com link). She told me that she had been using the stuff for her dogs and cat for years and that she had never had any problems with fleas.

FleaFreeDog

Happiness is… An afternoon nap in a flea free bed with the favorite toy.

Natural ingredients

When I got back I decided to do some research on the product. It is a natural dog flea spray which consists of peppermint oil and clove extract. Here is exactly, what is consist of: 0.30% Peppermint Oil, 0.70% Clove Extract, 2.70% Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, and 96.30% Inert Ingredients (Water, Sodium Benzoate). It is safe around kids and your pets, so there is no need to empty the house when you use it. It is a natural flea repellent for dogs as well as cats that you can safely use throughout your home. It kills fleas and ticks on contact as well as flea eggs, so you will not have problems in the near future.

Product Features

– No toxic pyrethrins or permethrins
– Safe for use directly on dogs and cats (12 weeks and older)
– Not harmful to children and plants
– Endorsed by veterinarians
– Made in the USA
– Kills fleas, flea eggs and ticks and repels mosquitoes
– Natural, non-staining formula – great for home surfaces

 

Flea Treatment

A non-toxic flea fighter. Click image to order on Amazon.com.

Zero stains or residue

I also like that the spray does not leave any stains, so I can use it inside without any concerns. I have sprayed it on hardwood flooring, carpets and many different types of fabric without any issues. I did spray on a tiny area first to make sure it was fine and would recommend you do the same. A bonus it that it has a pleasant scent to it and leaves the house smelling fresh. It is not at all like the toxic dog flea treatments in aerosols.

Directions

The product is very straight forward to use. I shake the bottle well and then I spray it on my dog’s bed (actually, Kahuna’s got a couple of beds… yep, he’s spoiled). A little goes a long way. Just give the surface a mist, there is no need to drench it in the product. It dries out pretty fast and does not leave any kind of residue.

You can also use the flea treatment directly on your pet. I would suggest that you spray it into your hand first and then rub it into your pet’s fur as the sound of the spray may scare your your furry friend. Getting rid of fleas might as well be combined with a nice massage that your dog will love.

Conclusion

I have been using Vet’s Best Flea Spray for a while now and am happy to report that Kahuna has zero fleas. If you have problems with dog fleas and want to use a non-chemical product then I would recommend you have a closer look at this one. This natural flea remedy has worked like a charm for me and I am sure it will for you as well.

>> Click here to buy Vet’s Best – Flea & Tick Home Spray on Amazon.com <<

 

 

 

Wool Dryer Balls Replace My Dryer Sheets

I had a chat with a friend of mine a few months ago about fabric softener and dryer sheets and how I would like to get away from using them. I already use eco-nuts instead of detergent, so I was looking for something to replace the dryer sheets as well. There are no laws in place that require the manufacturers to list exactly which chemicals dryer sheets contain, so since I don’t know for sure which toxins are used, I’d prefer to completely eliminate dryer sheets from our household.

A couple of weeks later the same friend brought me a gift. She had picked up some dryer balls made out of wool for me at a local market. The ones she gave me are about the size of softballs and didn’t have any scent to them. I had never come across wool dryer balls before, only the rubber or PVC ones, that I didn’t feel comfortable putting into a hot dryer. I was curious to give this hippie product a try.

Wool dryer ball features:

  • A natural fabric softener
  • Made of 100% wool
  • PVC free
  • Hyper-allergenic
  • Reduces static buildup
  • Reduces dryer time
  • Gets rid of dog fur
  • Quieter than plastic dryer balls
Wool dryer balls

Wool dryer balls reduce drying time by about 25% and make my towels incredibly soft.

Reduced dryer time

I should mention that I only dry clothes in the dryer for 10-15 minutes to get the worst wrinkles and dog fur out and then I hang the clothes to dry out completely. Bedding, tablecloths and towels are the only items that get the full dryer circle. The first thing I noticed when I used the dryer balls was that the clothes dry a lot faster. It has reduced the drying time significantly (I am guessing 25%) and will save us a lot of energy. Since the dryer balls are reusable, we will also be saving a lot of money on fabric softener and dryer sheets. Not too mention less waste and less junk in the landfills.

Gets rid of dog fur

The other thing I noticed was that much more dog fur was released from the clothes and ended up in the lint trap (huge bonus!). I usually spend a lot of time ‘de-furing’ my husband’s dress shirts for his work with a lint roller, but I don’t have to do that after I have started using these dryer balls. I am sure it would do the same with cat fur as well.

Do the wool dryer balls get wet?

Some people have asked me if I leave the dryer balls out to air dry, but that is not necessary as they don’t get wet. Wool doesn’t hold water like cotton or other fibres. It’s naturally water resistant because wool consists of lanolin, which is best described as a wool wax. Lanolin is what helps sheep to shed water from their coats, so they don’t get soaking wet in the rain.

I leave my dryer balls in the dryer all the time. As I pull clothes out, I leave the dryer balls inside the machine. Sometimes it is a bit of a hunt to find them when you have larger items, such as linen, but I just give them a good shake and then the balls end up on the floor.

Wool dryer balls reduce static electricity

Something I really like about the dryer balls is that they have greatly reduced the static cling our clothes used to have. I have heard from people in other parts of the worlds (maybe humidity plays a role) that say that it was completely opposite for them; after they started using wool dryer balls, their clothes started to get static. An easy fix for this is just to throw a ball of aluminum foil into your dryer. That fixes it.

Perfect for people with allergies

If anyone in your household suffers from asthma or other allergies then it may be a good idea to quit using dryer sheets. Dryer balls do not release any toxins and soften your clothes just like any fabric softener or dryer sheet would.

Add your favorite scent

The dryer balls do not have any scent, so what I do from time to time is adding a drop of a pure essential oil to each wool dryer ball. A drop per ball is really all you need. A little goes a long way. My favorite scent by far is the lavender pure essential oil (Amazon.com link). There are so many wonderful scents to pick from, so I am sure you will find your favorite, too.

Tennis balls as an alternative?

I have had people suggest that I just use tennis balls in my dryer instead. However, that is not a good option. The rubber will heat up in the hot dryer and release toxic chemicals. So I will stick to my dryer balls that are made of a natural product, namely wool.

Top tip:

When you use dryer balls make sure that the dryer is not jam packed. The clothes need to tumble and the ball need some space around them to do their job.

The wool dryer balls are non-toxic and are made of a natural product making them a perfect eco-friendly alternative to dryer sheets. They reduce drying time and soften your clothes just like any fabric softener or dryer sheet would. You save a lot of money over time by using dryer balls because you will use less energy to dry your clothes and will never have to buy dryer sheets again.

>> Shop for wool dryer balls on Amazon.com <<

 

If you would like to make your own wool dryer balls instead of buying them, here is a video tutorial:

Naturally Infused Water Recipes

by Anne 0 Comments

Do you drink a lot of soda and would like to cut back? I used to drink a lot of drinks that were full of sugar.  I would usually crave a drink or snack in the afternoon at work and often I would opt for a soda. The sugar in my system would boost my energy, but only for a little bit – and then I would crash the rest of the afternoon. Hard. To the point where I just wanted to put my head down on the desk and nap for a while.

The thing that made me realize that I needed to drink more fluid, but not the sugary kind, was a chat with one of my friends. He was telling me that he was going to have a kidney stone operation and said that he was in a lot of pain. I asked him if there was anything that you can do to prevent kidney stones and his answer was simply “Drink more water.”

I decided to give flavoured water a try instead of just water to spice things up a bit.  I do not add any sweeteners other than the natural kind that you will find in fruit such as strawberries or oranges. I add a herb such as basil or mint in most of my drinks as I grow tons of it in the backyard and I love the fresh flavors in the water.

I feel a lot better now that I drink more water. I have more energy, my skin is clearer, I and I don’t have the painful headaches I used to have in the afternoon.  I also feel better now that I don’t put all those artificial sweeteners in my body every day. If you want to stay hydrated and make the switch from soft drinks to homemade flavored water like I did, then check out these recipes.

Cucumber, lime & mint flavored water

1/2 cucumber, sliced
1/2 lime, sliced
Handful of mint, stem and leaves (give the mint a bash with a wooden spoon to get more flavours out)

Add the ingredients to a pitcher, fill up with water and leave in the fridge for a few hours or better, overnight.

Watermelon, lime & basil flavored water

2 cups of cubed watermelon
Handful of basil, rosemary or mint, stem and leaves (give the stem a bash with a wooden spoon to get more flavours out)

Add the ingredients to a pitcher, fill up with water and leave in fridge overnight.

Strawberry and mint flavored water

10 strawberries, sliced from top to bottom to create little “hearts”
Handful of mint

Add the ingredients to a pitcher, fill up with water and leave in the fridge for at least a couple of hours.

Quite often I will also just squirt some lime or lemon in a glass to keep it simple. When I go out I usually bring a water bottle with pure water as I don’t want to risk forgetting fruit in the bottom of the bottle. I could just imagine the water bottle rolling under a car seat and not be found for a few weeks. Tha would definitely be “flavoured” water, but probably not very tasty or that good for your health 🙂

What are your favorite combinations for naturally infused water? Please share your recipes in the comment section below.

How to save gas with these simple tips

by Anne 0 Comments
Roof carrier

Roof bags can be very convenient on road trips but will have a negative effect on your fuel economy, so remove them when not in use.

I recently had my car in for a new muffler and I got chatting with the mechanic. We ended up talking about how expensive gas has become and the mechanic gave me some tips on how to save gas regardless of which type of vehicle you drive. I did some research when on gas savings tips when I got home and decided to share my findings.

Become a smoother driver. Slowing down can save you up to 25%. Speeding will save you a few minutes here and there but it means that you will fuel up a lot sooner. Accelerate and brake more smoothly. A thing I learned when I took my motorcycle license is to always look 12 seconds ahead. This way you see a traffic light switching to red or red brake lights from cars way ahead of you and you can slow down more smoothly. Being a smoother driver also increases the life of your tires and your brakes.

Turn your air conditioning off. Your air conditioner is the most gas guzzling device in your car, so try to get used to driving without turning it on. Be aware that if you instead open the windows and sunroof the drag at high speeds can actually lower your fuel economy. So only open your windows at low speeds and use your air conditioner on the highway. This can save you up to 15% on your gas usage.

The mechanic told me this tip and it is something I have never though about before. When you are done filling up your tank, turn the hose upside down in your tank and get all the drops out that are stuck in the hose. You just paid for them. The drops may as well go into your tank than evaporate into thin air.

Remove your roof rack when you don’t use it. If your car has a rooftop carrier then make sure to remove it when you don’t need it. Having something on top of your vehicle’s roof will increase wind resistance and increase your gas cost by as much as 5%.

Make sure that your tires are properly inflated. Check the Tire Decal to learn what the level should be at for your tires. Keep a tire gauge in your car, so you always have it on hand to check your tire pressure.

If it is time for you to buy new tires then buy radial tires (Amazon.com link). Making a switch to radial tires can improve your gas mileage by 2-3%.

When you driving on even stretches on the highway then use your cruise control as much as possible. This can save you up to 7% on your gas usage. It may also prevent you from getting a speeding ticket – as long as you set the speed under the legal limit.

Try to stay in one lane as much as possible. Weaving in and out of lanes and constantly increasing and decreasing your speed may save you time, but it will cost you more at the gas pump.

Turn off all electronics and climate controls (fans) before you turn the engine off. When you start your car up again, the engine will not have to strain so hard as all the extras are switched off.

Skip the drive thru. Yep, it is convenient to get your morning java without having to get out of your vehicle, but drive thrus are terrible for the environment as well as your pocket book.

Get rid of the junk in your trunk. Open your trunk and empty it for all the heavy items you don’t need. The extra weight in a trunk means that the engine has to work that much harder and using extra gas.

These are my local mechanics’ tips on how to save gas no matter what type of car you drive. I hope you found his tips on how to achieve best mpg useful. if you have any other tips to save on gas then please add them to the comment section below.

Freezing Hot Peppers for the Winter

by Anne 0 Comments

My husband and I love spicy food and go through a fair amount of chili peppers each year. However, during the winter months it can sometimes be hard to find fresh chili peppers at our local vegetable market. So what do we do? We simply freeze hot peppers, so they are always on hand.

 

FreezingChiliPeppers

Freezing hot peppers is easy to do and is a great way to spice up your meals.

The past couple of years, I have experimented with freezing chili peppers to preserve them for winter use.  Neither the flavour or heat get compromised when you freeze them. In fact, some people find that they get even hotter with time. Below are my tips to how you can enjoy “fresh” chilis year round as well.

Be picky when picking hot peppers

The most important thing is to pick quality product (duh!). I only freeze chili peppers that are firm, have a bright colour and don’t have any blemishes on them. What I particularly look at is where the chili peppers meet the stem. If the stem has any mildew on it or if the skin of the chili pepper has started to dry out I will not freeze it.

How to freeze hot peppers

Here is the short version of my way of freezing chili peppers:

  • Wash chili peppers
  • Dry them completely
  • Freeze whole peppers on cookie tray
  • Transfer to labelled Ziploc bag

Here is the detailed version of how I freeze hot peppers:

I will then soak them in a vinegar wash for five minutes and give them a gentle scrub with a cloth. Then I rinse with water and pat them dry. I always put them out in a single layer on a tea towel or paper towel to dry out completely. This will take a few hours, but it is crucial that the hot peppers are bone dry before freezing them to prevent freezer burn. Some people remove the stem before freezing, I just leave it on.

Once the hot peppers are completely dry, I put them whole in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Then I put the cookie sheet in the freezer until the chili peppers are frozen solid. This is a method my mother-in-law taught me to freeze blueberries and I like it so much that I now use it for all fruit and vegetables that I freeze.

Transfer the frozen chili peppers over to a Ziploc bag and press out the air. I always write on the bag what type of chili pepper it is as I always forget and there are so many chili varieties. I also note the date I freeze them and make sure to use them up within six months. You will be opening a closing the Ziploc bag many times over the winter, so do yourself a favour and use Ziploc bags with double zippers (Amazon.com link). I used the bags with the single zipper the first year and it was frustrating trying to close the bag again when I was in the middle of dinner. So no more single zipper Ziploc bags for me.

Frozen hot peppers that are ready to use

I use the jalapeño and habanero peppers on a need be basis. There is no longer a need to stop by the East Indian supermarket and pick up one or two – I have them on hand year round now. When I cook up some food and want to add some heat it is just a matter of opening the freezer and grabbing one or two hot peppers out of the bag. I also love chopping them up and sprinkle them as a garnish on top of Thai and Mexican dishes. My favourite at the moment is to sprinkle it on top of fresh jicama as a delicious appetizer when friends come over.

Chop chili peppers when they are frozen

My top tip is to chop or grate the hot pepper while they are still frozen. Once they start to thaw they get mushy and harder to handle. I recommend using a Microplane grater (Amazon link) when you need fine pieces of chili peppers. It does a perfect job when you grate frozen peppers.

If your hands are sensitive to chili peppers make sure to wear gloves when you handle them and always wash your hands after. I have accidentally rubbed my eyes after handling chili in the past. Not a fun experience, so I would definitely recommend wearing gloves or washing your hands when you have chopped hot peppers.

I hope these tips helped you to start freezing hot peppers. Let me know how it goes and if you have any tips to share.