Monday, 19 December 2016

Wonder Wash - So Easy a Kid Can Do It!

I have wanted a Wonder Wash for years!!!

In our previous home, we had a front loader washer and dryer (eeek!).  To stay green, I barely used the dryer and used my drying rack for most of our clothes.  No way did I want to pay that Hydro Man once more red cent!

So, as mentioned in my last post, we downsized to an apartment.  For all of you apartment dwellers out there, how do you feel about washing your clothes in a machine that has been used by many tenants in your building?  We live in a building that is predominantly of a senior population and I got tired of pulling my dark clothes out of the washing machine only to find them covered in remnants of facial tissue.  After that, my mind went into a whirlwind thinking about bacteria, bedbugs, dead skin can imagine.  I am a nurse by trade of of course I am going to imagine the worst case scenario.

Oh, and I neglected to mention that it costs $2.00 for a load in the washer and another $2.00 in the dryer.  Most of our clothes are hung to dry anyway, so I would lug a wet load up the stairs to the third floor where we live...(and then deal with the "facial tissue lint" when I got upstairs).  Too much work and not enough in return.

So, I went on and bought this amazing Wonder Wash machine by Laundry Alternative Inc. (  It cost me $69.00 (give or take) and free shipping.  It came the very next day.

 I have literally not done any laundry in our "apartment laundry facilities" since I received this great addition to our family two weeks ago.  I no longer have to try and find the right change for the machines,no lugging or hauling clothes or dealing with laundry lint.

This machine is super easy.  My 9 year-old daughter can now easily assist with our laundry chores simply with the turn of a handle.  I help out with the rinsing and wringing out the clothing (Mommy duty).

This Wonder Wash baby holds 5 pounds of clothing (basically half a load in a regular machine) and does it all in one shot.  If you don't want to wring out your clothes, you can purchase the Mini Countertop Spin Dryer (requires an electrical source).  I actually enjoy the physical exercise from wringing out the clothes - but maybe because I am rebellious against using Hydro!

I now do our laundry every two days.  It takes about 10 minutes maximum of my time which includes the beginning of the wash-to-wringing-to-hanging.  It takes me longer to consume a cup of coffee these days.

I highly recommend Wonder Wash to those who do not have access to laundry facilities within their home -  those who want to limit their imprint on the earth and those (of us) who want to feel independent and empowered without having to rely on external resources.

When the power goes out, everyone is coming to our home to wash their laundry in our Wonder Wash!  You can bet on it!

Beat the Hydro Man!

Three years since my last post and hopefully I am three times more educated/smarter/better off in life..and so the saying goes...


First of all, we live next to this great city of Toronto, Ontario.  Housing prices have jumped to sky high levels and professionals are now moving to our suburban area offering way more than the asking price of homes that are initially listed for on the market in our area.  We are in the throes of a bidding war.  Many homeowners are putting their homes up for sale at a certain asking price.  They then wait for a week to see all offers "up and above" the asking price and settle on the highest bidder.  Great sellers market - sell your home at a premium, rent for a year, then buy a house next year when the market settles.  Easy peasy right?

For ourselves, we knew we had to make a change with respect to our own home.  Our hydro (yep had a "smart meter"), gas, water and food bills were increasing steadily, yet our incomes were staying the same.  Our 9 year-old daughter seemingly developed a strong passion for dance and gymnastics which was also very important to us.

 I actually pondered the possibility of downsizing for probably two to three years before it finally became a reality and a necessity.  I say necessity because we gradually seemed to stop living over time and just kept on working.  It's funny (in a peculiar way) how long that an individual will let themselves run on the same "hamster wheel" in order to keep up with the status quo.

Well, thank heavens for that wonderful term called "fatigue".  I got "tired" of paying the Hydro Man, the Gas Man and the Water Man (usage = sewage)....Oh and shall I mention all that snow shovelling the snow in the winter?  We do live in Canada and our weather can be unpredictable for sure. 
Regardless, after a lot of fretting and worrying, we decided to make a huge leap! 

We officially downsized from a three-bedroom and three-bathroom home and leaped right into a two-bedroom and one bathroom apartment that includes heat, water and hydro.  What a shock to the old system in so many ways.  First of all, we have nowhere near the amount of floor space as we did before, but let me tell you we no longer have to worry about all of those other bills!  Everything is included in one price!  Heat, hydro and water all in one nifty bill due by the first of the month.  Incredible if you ask us!

Now we are able to budget more accurately and plan for the future.  We beat the Hydro Man! (For Now)

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Biolite Survival Camp Stove

This is the greatest Survival Camp Stove I have seen to date!
Firstly, Kudos goes to my brother Don who found this online and showed me about a month ago.
As soon as I saw the stove and watched the video, I was sold.  I ordered it immediately.

This amazing stove can boil a liter of water in less than 5 minutes - using dried twigs and sticks.
And to go even further, the energy created by this stove can power up your cell phone or tablet!  Genious!

This stove is going to go viral.  I bought mine online from Mountain Equipment Coop in Canada (
Free shipping to boot!  Now that's my kind of deal.

Since I live in the city, we are not allowed to have open fires.  Since purchasing my Biolite, I have had "campfires" almost every night!

This little stove is self contained.  I recommend placing it on a concrete patio block and keeping a bucket of water close by - just in case the fire department wants to come and check it out (they will likely want to buy one of these amazing units btw)

Think about something- if the power goes out, you cannot refill the propane tank on your bbq, you cannot use your stove or any other electrical appliance.  What are you going to do?  Well if you have a Biolite Campstove, you will take a walk and gather twigs and branches from dead trees; its all you need.  That will be your fuel.  Best part?  Its free fuel!   I am all about free stuff!
This little stove is so efficient, I can't believe the height of the flames from burning just twigs!
There is also a grill attachment that you can buy - we will be buying ours within the month.  The grill can easily cook 4 hamburger patties and 2 hot dogs in a cinch. 

If you really want off the grid, this stove is a great beginning.  I would love to hear about others who have this same stove and how they have self sustained themselves and their families.  Recipes would be so welcome too!

I will be writing more blogs about my experiences with my Biolite Campstove along with a new type of homemade firestarters that I have found to be very effective.

My Brother and I

 My brother is 12 months older than I am...  To be exact, 12 months and 12 days, but who's counting?
I barely remember that my mother required a double stroller for the two of us and we were very active toddlers. 

He is a dedicated sportsman who loves to hike, trek, kayak, camp and snowboard - he is also the most amazing self taught computer technician I have ever seen. 
Myself, I am a nurse, scavenger, crafter, sewer and designer.   Together, he and I make a great team - best of friends.  It has always been that way and we can't imagine a life otherwise.  Whatever he can't do, I can do and vice versa.  A Dream Team!

As we have become adults and still the best of friends, we endure the cold Canadian Winters together.  Rather than become hold up in the house, we want to get outdoors and go for a picnic.  Crazy Canucks?  We wouldn't have it any other way - besides, we have a name to live up to!

During the cold months of January and February, our family will trek for miles in the snow, ice and cold.  We pull my 5 year old daughter Ava in a sled along with our food and survival tools, then hike into the forest to look for a sheltered place to cook our lunch over an open fire.. 
If our gloves or mittens get wet, we dry them on twigs over an open fire.  Need to wash our hands?  No problem, I fill a metal pot with snow and place it alongside our fire and within an hour, we have good hot water to wash our hands. Does this sound appealing to many of you?

Ladies and gentleman...this is our reprieve from society.  This is our way to run away from society norms, expectations and rules.  We find our own way which is most certainly governed by the laws of Mother Nature.  This is our little escape in order to find balance in our lives. 

As we near the beginning of a Canadian Winter (and I have heard that the forecast is calling for a lot of snow this year), my brother and I are already getting excited about planning our weekend excursions.

                                              Ava and Uncle Don

Friday, 1 June 2012

Welcome June Rain!

We also welcome the first day of June today!  June is one of my favourite months, coming second to September (Harvest Time!).  We enjoy the balmy mornings and warm afternoons without the intense heat that comes during the middle of July. 

Today is dark and rainy, but we do not mind at all.  I actually had to use the flash on my camera to take today's pictures...
After many months of waiting for a good rainfall, we are pleased to see that the day has finally come.  The rain is pouring down and quenching the thirst of all the newly planted seedlings in our gardens. 

Because the soil is completely parched, our main concern is that the majority of the precipitation that we receive today will end up running off as opposed to being absorbed into the soil. 
***I am praying for a thunderstorm this afternoon which will provide nitrogen (from the lightning) to "green" everything up!

Strawberry Plants


Wilke Reflection of the Week
***Each week, our family takes time to pause, reflect and appreciate a special moment in our lives.  We would like to share this reflection with you.

                                                    "Beating the Heat"

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Brown Tap Water Today

Brown tap water has always been a turn off for me, as I am certain that it is for most other people.

We had a slight rainfall this morning which seemed to have resulted in brown tap water in our home around lunch time.  It has been such an usually dry Spring season with our area having received less than 1/3 of our usual rainfall amounts.  Everything is dry in Ontario.  Forest Fires have been raging, lawns have a burnt look and the dust has been flying with even the slightest gust of wind.

Growing up, we lived in a small town located in a valley.  Every Spring, we would have brown tap water, some days worse than others - we called it "Farm Run-Off".  I remember how my Mother used to panic because she couldn't use the household water.  This always amazed me because we encountered the same situation every year yet she was never prepared - even though we all knew that it was inevitable.

Today, I immediately called some of my neighbours and advised them that they may potentially experience brown tap water.  We weren't sure if it was due to "run-off" from the rain or perhaps a broken pipe.  I then ran downstairs to my cold room and grabbed a bottle of water from our storage supply. 

Interestingly enough, we were prepared and didn't panic.  Most families do not have a back up water supply and would be rendered helpless in a situation like we experienced today.  Likely, they would run to the local grocery store and spend their hard earned dollars on bottled water to get them through this "mini crisis".  Well, what happened if our entire neighbourhood was unable to use tap water?  The local grocery store would run out of stock very quickly and then what?  Something to think about for sure...

Here is a simple guideline that we follow regarding Nature's Most Valuable Resource:

Firstly, as a family, we have learned that it is important to keep a backup supply of water for unexpected situations.  Our general rule is 1 litre (1000 ml) per person for 30 days = 30 litres.  If you have a family of 4, then you would require 120 litres.  This is the absolute minimum amount that we use as we need to ensure that we have the storage space.  If you have more space, then store as much water as you can.  For us, this water is designated for drinking and cooking. 

Secondly, we always save our bath and laundry water so we always have grey water readily available for flushing toilets.

Thirdly, we stop using our 45 gallon rain barrels once they get down to 1/3 full.  This provides us with a security net of water that we can use for washing/bathing should our tap water fail. 

If you are "saving water" it is important to ensure that you are using food grade plastic, stainless steel or glass containers.  Your water storage supply should be replaced every 90 days to ensure proper hygienic and sanitary conditions. 
***In the case of disaster, you need to be prepared for the fact that it can take up to 2 weeks before you and your family might have access to clean drinking water!