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WATER WORLD  Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer signals pool parties and breaking out icy beverages, but before you get the party started put Mother Earth first and use these tips to help conserve water use year-round.

Plants & Gardens
Watering in the wee hours of the morning is best for both the health of your plants and efficient water usage. Since those early hours are cooler, there is less loss from rapid evaporation. This also allows the water to soak into the soil’s surface, and better penetrate the roots.

Alternative Water Sources
Put the water used to fill those kiddie pools to good use after a day of play. Have the kids fill their pails and let them pour the water around the roots of your plants and veggies. Not only are you recycling it, the kids are also helping out with chores while having fun at the same time.

Rain barrels are a great way to recycle rainwater. Simply place them underneath your gutters and you’ll have a natural source to nourish your plants, as well as save money on your water bill.

No More Leaks
Bad valves and pinholes add up to big bucks and a lot of wasted water. Replace faulty valves if that’s the source of your leak, and if the hose itself is the culprit, check out these repair tips from Garden Guides before running to the hardware store for a new one. If all else fails, put that leaky hose to good use and refashion it into a soaker hose to tend to the lawn—a more efficient way to keep grass healthy and beautiful.

Sources:
[The Daily Green]
[Clean Air Gardening]
[Rain Barrel Guide]


COFFEE BREAK  Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tired of watered down coffee drinks? Join the club. This summer save those big bucks you’d normally spend on iced coffee and grab a cup to go from home. The secret to ensure a sip of unadulterated pleasure is to make your own coffee ice cubes. It’s a perfect way to use up any leftover coffee at the end of the day, and this way you know quality is assured from start to finish. All you need to do is start with the best drinking water available and brew a pot of coffee. For an extra tasty money-saving idea, give these coffee-house inspired drinks a try. Before you know it, you’ll have enough dough saved to plan next year’s summer vacation.

Coffee Frappe
Serves 2

Whether you're trying to beat the heat or craving a dessert drink, this recipe will save you time waiting in line at the local coffee chain. Feel free to adjust the amount of sugar to your liking, and for a more mellow drink, substitute plain ice cubes for the coffee ones.

½ cup triple-strength coffee
¼ cup milk
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar, depending on taste
1 ½ cups coffee ice cubes

Add all ingredients to your Cuisinart blender bowl. Blend well, until frothy and ice is crushed into very fine bits, about 90 seconds. Serve immediately.

Mocha Frappe
Serves 2

½ cup triple-strength coffee
¼ cup milk
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar, depending on taste
1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
1 ½ cups coffee ice cubes

Add all ingredients to your Cuisinart blender bowl. Blend well, until frothy and ice is crushed into very fine bits, about 90 seconds. Serve immediately.