Magic Stuff

Last week we talked about tie-dying. Hope you used gloves because that paint can make quite a mess on your fingers. But if you didn’t, you can always give your hands a scrub with baking soda.

Baking soda is truly marvelous cleaning stuff. We’ve talked about that before too – especially how it can unblock drains and clean gunk off irons.

One of the best uses I have come across for baking soda is as a beauty product.

Reuse an old spice jar – fill it with baking soda and stash it in the bathroom or the shower cubicle.

When washing your hair, sprinkle a little into the shampoo in your hand and then wash your hair. The baking soda strips away all the hair products that you might have used the last time you styled your hair. Plus it makes it feel nice and lessens the tangles too.

You can also use it as a face-scrub – instead of those expensive products with little teensy plastic beads that pollute the environment and cause fish to die! Just pour some into your hands, add a bit of warm water and give your face a scrub. Of course, don’t forget to moisturise afterwards – especially in the winter when things gets so dry.

You know how your legs get all dry and scaly too? Same thing – sprinkle some baking soda into your hand in the shower and give your legs a scrub – gets rid of all the old lotion, bits of skin and other debris and your legs feel nice and smooth. Do it once a week.

Seriously people! Why waste money on fancy products if you can use stuff that is sitting in the kitchen cupboard. Although do remember to check with your parental agent first, before you help yourself. Remember how I got into trouble when I took the last loo roll!

You can also put a little pinch of baking soda on your toothpaste (on your toothbrush – duh) every now and then for whiter, brighter teeth – but don’t do it too often otherwise you might damage the enamel.

If you have gumboils – a spoonful of salt and one of baking soda, mixed together with half a cup of warm water, swished around your mouth makes it feel a lot better. Also gargling with baking soda and water can kill bacteria and freshen up your breath.

See – it really is magic stuff!

Sibo

xxxx

Making it through December

At Christmas time somehow we never seem to have enough money for everything. Even double cheques and bonuses seem to magically disappear. It is the time of year when the shops are full of goodies and you just feel like spending money.

But of course, if you spend it all in December – then you are in deep trouble in January!

Here are a few ways to help save money this December.

  • Write a list before you go shopping and stick to it.
  • Make your own Christmas presents instead of buying them. Check out Pinterest and other such sites – people are so clever and they come up with really stunning ideas to make gorgeous stuff out of easy to get materials.
  • Eat a good breakfast – this will mean that you don’t spend money on unhealthy snacks during the day.
  • Drink more water – not only is this better for you than drinking cool drinks, but you can refill your bottle from the tap and keep it in the fridge.
  • Invite friends over instead of going out. Get your friends to bring plates of food too.
  • Clean out your cupboards. Don’t just toss the stuff you don’t want – have a garage sale or sell big items on-line. Or you could give something that you no longer use (that is still in good working order) to somebody else and brighten up their day.
  • Swop books, games and DVD’s with your friends instead of buying new ones.
  • Stop smoking. Put the money that you would have spent on cigarettes in a jar for a month and then buy yourself a present – you’ll be shattered at just how much money you will have saved.
  • Don’t carry your credit card around with you – leave it at home for emergencies. That way you won’t be tempted to buy something that you cannot afford.
  • Pack your own sandwiches instead of grabbing something from the shop at lunch time.
  • Check out free events in the newspaper.
  • Keep an “ideas notebook” in your pocket or bag – jot down any good ideas that you get and then you won’t forget them.
  • Grow your own veggies – or at least some of them.
  • Carpool – not only is this great for the environment – it’s a real money saver too.
  • Don’t speed. You’ll save petrol and won’t run the risk of getting speeding fines!

Let’s all make it through December a bit more easily this year.

Sibo

World Day against Human Trafficking in Persons

The 30th of July is World Day against Human Trafficking in Persons.  That’s quite a mouthful and probably not something that most people think of – but they should. It is a very serious topic and very scary too.

Worst thing is that it happens – a lot more than you think.

The International Labour Organisation reckons that there are about 20.9 million victims of human trafficking around the world. 68% of these people are trapped into forced labour, 26% are children and 55% are women and children.

It is horrendous to think that unscrupulous people make money out of snatching other human beings and exploiting them for money. Often false advertising is involved. Like somebody sees a billboard for as enticing job in a faraway place with a toll free number to call. But instead of getting the job that they are expecting, they are tossed into a brothel or a sweat shop and forced to do jobs that they would have never in a million years wanted to do. Because they are illegally in a foreign country, with no paperwork and usually no money, they have very little chance of ever going home again.

These are some of the signs that traffickers look for in children:

  • Homelessness
  • Isolation
  • Drug, alcohol or tobacco use
  • History of prior neglect
  • Gang involvement
  • Bad history with child welfare services
  • Low self-esteem
  • History of victimization
  • Criminal history
  • Current involvement with criminals

Here are some tips to help you stay safe:

  • Never give your social media passwords or bank pin numbers to anybody.
  • Never let anybody hold your ID documents for you – even if you think they are trying to help.
  • Avoid posting your location on-line. (This is a biggie these days with social media and cell phones automatically offering to post where you are.)
  • Remember that you have a RIGHT to stay safe.
  • Remind yourself that your worth should not be determined by another person.
  • Think of a plan of who to call and what to do if you feel you are in an unsafe situation.
  • Memorize the number of an adult you completely trust and the Human Trafficking 24/7 hotline +1 888-373-7888.

So, when your parental agents tell you not to talk to strangers – they are not kidding. If somebody promises you something that sounds too good to be true – it probably is.

Stay safe

Sibo

Saving the Environment

Because the 5th of June was World Environment Day thought it might be a good idea to share some tips on saving money and the environment.

These days many people use toothpaste, facial or body scrubs with those teensy plastic micro beads in them.  Well… those little plastic toxic bombs go down the drain from your basin, shower or bath and eventually land up in rivers, lakes and seas. Very simply, the fish cannot avoid them and we eat the fish. These things are causing untold havoc in the environment.

By now we all probably know how useful bicarbonate of soda is for cleaning stuff around the house – but you can also use it instead of various beauty products. Here’s an alternative for your various scrubs. A much cheaper and more environmentally sound one.

Use an old spice jar – one of the ones with little sprinkle holes in the top and fill it up with bicarbonate of soda. Make sure the lid still seals well – you don’t want the bicarb to get wet. Keep it in your bathroom or shower where you can easily access it.

This alkaline substance has antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. But before you start using this – try a test patch on your skin to check that you don’t have any bad reactions to it.

In addition to being antiseptic and anti-inflammatory it helps balance the skin’s pH – so if you have acne or spots you can mix a spoon of bicarb with a bit of water to make a paste. Apply the paste to the affected area for a few minutes and then wash it off with cold water. Do this until your skin clears up.

You can whiten your teeth by sprinkling a bit of bicarb on your regular toothpaste and brushing your teeth once a day. Only do it for a few days though – not all the time – otherwise you can hurt the enamel on your teeth.

Get rid of residue of hair products on your hair – put a blob of shampoo in your hand and sprinkle some bicarb into it. Wash your hair as normal. It removes all the yukky stuff very effectively.

Sprinkle some bicarb onto a face cloth and use it as a body scrub to get rid of all the dead skin and flaky bits. Rinse well when you are finished.

Or simply sprinkle some bicarb into your hand add warm water and gently use it as a face wash/scrub. This works especially well if you don’t wear a lot of make-up.

Take care,

Sibo

Magic Stuff

Did you know that vinegar really is miracle stuff?

You can use it for a number of things and it is much more environmentally friendly that using harsh detergents. It’s also something that most people readily have in their homes.

Here are a few different ways that you can use it when cooking – apart from putting it on your chips that is…

If you add a dash of vinegar to the water when you are boiling eggs it stops the white from leaking out if any of the eggs crack in the pot.

For leafy veggies that are wilted and all sad looking, try soaking them in cold water with a little vinegar and they will crisp up considerably.

You know how your hands honk when you have been chopping onions? Well… if you rub your hands with a bit of white vinegar you’ll get rid of that nasty smell.

Here’s another great tip – often eating veggies like cabbage, broccoli or cauliflower can make a person a tad “farty”. They say if you add a dash of vinegar to the water when cooking, it will not only perk up the taste but also reduce gassiness. This also works when cooking beans. Bean soup is always delicious in the winter but sometimes the “fallout” takes away some of the charm. Vinegar to the rescue!

Some other great uses for vinegar in the home…

Before you wash them – spray vinegar onto shirts or dresses that have those yellow deodorant stains under the arms– it helps to remove the discolouration. Adding a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle of your washing machine rejuvenates bright colours. Acetic acid won’t harm fabrics, but it dissolves the soap residue that can dull dark clothing. It also acts as a fabric softener, a static reducer and a mildew-inhibitor.

Chewing gum that is stuck to car upholstery, rugs and carpeting can be loosened by rubbing gently with vinegar.

Vinegar can disinfect, deodorize and sort out just about everything. From shower curtains to sofa cushions, there’s not much that it can’t do. You can also spray it on the grout between your tiles, leave it for a few minutes, and then give it a scrub with an old tooth brush.

Wow! Who knew that sour old vinegar was such sweet stuff!

Hope these tips are useful for you.

Lots of love

Sibo

Start saving… NOW!

Hands up who saves?

I can hear you all saying – don’t be silly you usually have lots of month left over after your money and that there is none left to save. Or that you don’t have enough to live on, let alone save.

It might not be as hard as you think.

Here are some tips on how to start saving.

Write down everything that you spend. Record how much you spend – yes – every single last thing that you spend money on. Use credit card statements, bank statements etc to help you figure out what you do with your money. Once you have all your information – organise it into categories such as: rent, medical, food, clothing, car payments/petrol, entertainment etc.

Make a budget.  Now you know what you are spending, it is much easier to make a budget for all your monthly expenses. Do remember to budget in for things that don’t happen all the time – like getting your car fixed. If you are spending way more than you earn – then it’s time to figure out which are the non-essentials and start to trim them down a bit.

Plan on saving. The aim is to spend less than you earn.  You should try and plan on saving between 10 – 15% of what you earn each month.

Choose something to save for.  This is the fun part – you could be saving for short-term stuff – like having a holiday or a new car. Or things like a computer, cell phone, new handbag or a fancy matric dance dress. Then there is long-term saving – like for your education, your retirement or a deposit for your own home.

Decide on your priorities. No point saving for a holiday if you know you are going to need a new car soon. Of course, you can always save for more than one thing at once – you just have to be even more careful and clever with your money.

Pick the right tools to save.  Do some research and find out which place is going to safely look after your savings and make them grow. Most banks offer automated transfers – this way your money can zoot straight into your savings account at the beginning of each month and you won’t be tempted to skip a month.

Then sit back and watch those savings grow!

Sibo

We’ve got to save MORE water!

Sibo having a shorter shower

Recently we got a letter from Rand Water saying that it will be reducing its supply by 15% in order to try and conserve water.

This is means that we all have to make a plan to save more water.

I know many of us already save water and think that there is not much more that we can do, but if you think carefully about it, there probably is.

Here are some reminders of the easy ways to save.

Shower for 5 minutes or less. No more of those long hot soaks in the bath where the water sloshes around your chin and you pull the plug out every so often to let some water out so that you can top it up with nice hot water. Nope! A short shower is the way to go. Anyway – its summer  now so that is not really a problem – is it?

Wash your dishes in a basin with the plug in. If you have a dishwasher – don’t rinse them with running water either. Use a basin of water rather. Yes, I know it’s a pain – but do it anyway please.

Wash your car with a bucket. Many South Africans are obsessed with having clean cars – I think that’s so silly – I mean – they just get dirty again. Why bother – as long as you can see through the windows – that’s all that counts.

Check that your taps are not dripping or leaking.  Kids can check and report to their parental agents. Remember to check the taps outside too.

If you are staying in a hotel – reuse your towel. Good heavens! It’s not like you get a spiffy clean towel at home every day is it? so don’t expect one in a hotel either.

Turn the tap off when you brush your teeth. Yes really – it’s not hard to do – it’s just a mind-set.

Same goes for when you wash your hands. Run a little bit of water with the plug in.

In fact – do an experiment – you know how I always like doing experiments. Waste a bit of water just once.  Put the plug in but leave the tap running when you brush your teeth… you will be horrified at how much water you have been wasting every single day.

Please people – lets save more water.

Sibo

PS –  If you see any water wastage in town or somewhere that is not your home you can call the toll free number 080 0200 200 and report it. Or you could send an sms to 45174.

PPS – Did you know that you can invite Manzi and he water Wise education team to your school – free of charge. It’s a 25 minute show and it is really fun. I know – I’ve seen it myself!  Email Waterwise@randwater.co.za

PPPS – Hahahaha – sorry – but you can read Sibo Saves Water   free of charge too!

Really useful stuff

Rude Sibo

The other day I was having lunch at my friend’s house and accidentally dropped some food on my jeans. It made a big oily splodge. I dashed to the kitchen and gave it a rub with some sunlight liquid.  Thought I had cleaned it… but no.

When the patch dried, the oily blob was still there.

I was miffed with myself and sad too. Not only were they my favourite jeans, but they were also new and I figured my mum was going to yell at me for messing them up.

Then my friend’s older sister Emma came to the rescue.

“Don’t worry,” she said “I’ll sort them out for you!”

I was a bit worried because she’s an arty type.  I half imagined that she might cover up the splodge with a bigger splodge of paint or something, but instead she took the bicarbonate of soda out of the cupboard and made a little white heap on the oily spot. Then she added a few drops of water to the heap.

A couple of hours later she handed my jeans back to me. They were spotless. I couldn’t even see where the mark had been. It was amazing.

When I got home later I googled bicarbonate of soda – also known as baking soda.

Wow! It’s fabulous stuff. You can use it for literally all sorts of things and it does not mess up the environment like other cleaning products do. It’s cheaper too.

Here are just a few ways of using it that I thought were useful.

  • You can sprinkle a small amount of baking soda into your palm along with your regular shampoo and wash your hair as usual. The baking soda removes all residue that styling products leave behind and makes your hair cleaner and more manageable.
  • If you have a mozzie bite, you can make a paste of baking soda and a bit of water and cover the scratchy spot up. It stops itching.
  • You can also give yourself a refreshing facial and body scrub. Make a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water. Gently rub in a circular motion to exfoliate your skin. Rinse clean. You can even use this every day. (It really works – I’ve tried it myself!)

Here’s a link for more ways to use baking soda  http://www.care2.com/greenliving/51-fantastic-uses-for-baking-soda.html .

Try out this miracle stuff when you get a chance!

Sibo

Multi-tasking… good or bad?

Sibo at her desk

Often we have more than one thing that needs to be done – like maths homework, reading, spelling to learn, chores to do, the dog to walk and an art project that also needs to be finished.

Sometimes it is all mind-bogglingly too much and you feel like running away. Seeing as that’s mostly just not possible, you have to get stuck in and just do the darn stuff.

Lately there has been a lot of research done on multitasking – this is when you have several things on the go at one time.

They say that it is not always effective to do this.

Often you jump around between doing so many different tasks that you get nothing done properly. They reckon you should make a list and prioritise which are the most important things that need to be done.

Then you should stick to that list.

For instance – if you need to learn something – you really need to concentrate so that you will be able to remember it later and therefore you should not multitask while doing that particular job.  It is better to focus 100% on it – like learning for exams – dedicate a chunk of time and get it done properly.

On the other hand – they say that when your mind jumps between a lot of boxes – your mind tends to think more “out of the box” which could be great for creative things – like art projects.

For things like spelling you could put a list of the words you need to learn next to your bed, so you can see them last thing at night and first thing in the morning. Or you can read them when you go to the bathroom.  In this case a lot of repetition is good.

You could combine your daily exercise when you walk your dog – but remember you still have to be careful and not to let it off the leash by mistake. Accidents happen so quickly and you would never forgive yourself if you let something happen to you precious doglet.

Sometimes chores are really boring – like washing dishes or vacuuming – but you can always listen to music while you wash. I love listening to music – it makes any chore go much faster.

But remember – dedicate time to the important stuff and do it properly.

Work well!

Sibo

Saving

Sibo saving money 2

How many people save? And for once I am not talking about saving water or electricity – I’m talking about saving money – although of course when you save electricity – you also save money too!

Somehow we never seem to have enough money to do all the things that we want to do.

So I did some sleuthing on the internet and found some ways that a person can save money.

  • Write a list before you go shopping and stick to it.
  • If you really want to buy something – wait a few days – like 30! Half the time you will decide you don’t actually need it after all.
  • Invite friends over instead of going out. Get your friends to bring plates of food too.
  • Make your own presents instead of buying them.
  • Clean out your cupboards. Don’t just toss the stuff you don’t want – have a garage sale or sell big items on-line.
  • Drink more water – not only is this better for you than drinking cool drinks, but you can refill your bottle from the tap and keep it in the fridge.
  • Stop smoking. Put the money that you would have spent on cigarettes in a jar for a month and then buy yourself a present – you’ll be shattered at just how much it is.
  • Swop books, games and DVD’s with your friends instead of buying new ones.
  • Don’t carry your credit card around with you – leave it at home for emergencies. That way you won’t be tempted to buy something that you cannot afford.
  • Pack your own sandwiches instead of grabbing something from the shop at lunch time.
  • Eat a good breakfast – this will mean that you don’t spend money on unhealthy snacks during the day.
  • Keep an “ideas notebook” in your pocket or bag – jot down any good ideas that you get and then you won’t forget them.
  • Check out free events in the newspaper.
  • Grow your own veggies – or at least some of them.
  • Carpool – not only is this great for the environment – it’s a real money saver too.
  • Join the library. It’s free and there are plenty of books to read that you can borrow instead of buying. Plus they often have interesting events as well.
  • Don’t speed. You’ll save petrol and won’t run the risk of getting speeding fines!

Let’s start saving.

Sibo