Book Review: Better Basics for the Home

This is the book that I use most often. Better Basics for the Home: Simple Solutions for Less Toxic Living by Annie Berthold-Bond is a recipe book for everything from hair dye to car wax and sink scrubbers to under-eye cream. The vast majority of these recipes are simple and user-friendly; much cheaper than an off-the-shelf product; and use gentle, easy-to-find ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, salt, lavender oil, and aloe vera gel. With this book, making your own toiletries and household cleaners is a lot easier than worrying about what’s in the store-bought stuff – not to mention a helluva lot more fun!

Click on the cover image to buy this book from your local, independent bookseller. :)


Between the rising price of … everything … and an impending move to a big city where life promises to be more expensive (not to mention more toxic), I’ve been inspired. I am hereby eschewing brand names and making my own. So get ready for easy, cheap, eco-friendly events like sprouting beans, growing veggies, and make-it-yourself make-up.

Here, you can see three “square foot gardens” in progress. Our soil is better known as sand, so this is an apt technique. This morning I sprayed uber-strong garlic tea on some of the plants to fend off whatever little crawly has been nibbling on them. At least they’ll be safe from vampires!