February, 2010 | Bettina Network's Blog

Archive for February, 2010

Olive Oil for Cleaning – a Hot Topic

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

From a bed & breakfast guest:

Your posts on using olive oil have opened the doors and windows for me. I’ve had a grand time with it and you have answered many quesstions I’ve had for years.

When I read your post about cleaning furniture with lemon juice and olive oil, I pulled out my old wooden chopping board. It is dried out horribly and I haven’t used it for a couple years because I didn’t know how to treat it. All the literature says clean it with white vinegar, to get rid of the smell, and then rub mineral oil into the wood. Well, I eat what I chop on the board and I was not going to eat something which had been prepared on wood cleaned with white vinegar (acetic acid) – and mineral oil (petroleum). I wouldn’t put mineral oil on my food, nor would I put it on my body – which means I don’t get professional massages because that is basically what is contained in their massage oil.

When I read your post I thought – what do I have to lose – so I mixed up about 2/3 cups olive oil with 1/2 lemon and went to work on the old board. The next morning I was amazed. It was beautiful. I used the entire amount of olive oil and lemon juice because the board just soaked it up. It is now showing the squares the way it did when it was new. The oil has dried and it is not greasy. I had to wipe the dried lemon off, but that took a second and I am certain the brightness and cleanness of the board is due to the lemon addition, so the extra second was worth the effort.

Thank you! I have my chopping board back; I am not afraid to use it; It is once again a beautiful addition to my kitchen and all is right with the world.

Keep on keeping on. This has made me a loyal reader of your blog and I will also tell everyone I know about this experience.

Somehow, I think this was probably how my grandmother cleaned her chopping board, but I wasn’t listening, watching, or learning from her when she was around. I guess I really missed a lot from being so absent from the older women in my family. They are who should have been my role models. Wish I could pass that bit of wisdom down to my own children and future grandchildren to help make their lives easier. Better to learn from them than from the marketing media, who I learned from and because of whom I must now relearn and try to make a better life for myself than they tried to do for me.

The older women in my family had my best interest at heart, although I didn’t think so at the time. They were not trying to pry all the money out of my pocketbook leaving me with health issues as a result of their wrong-headed advice. A friend of mine even bought “food grade” mineral oil as a present for me to help me with my chopping board. Food grade or not, it is still petroleum and I didn’t use it, although she had all the right arguments to try to get me to use it. I sent her the link to your blog so she could see where she was really an air-head about buying the advice of those who are paid to sell bad stuff. I knew if I waited long enough something would come along to help with these little problems. One down, four hundred ninety- nine to go. Keep those posts coming! God bless you!

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Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

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In Addition to Cleaning Furniture the Bettina Way

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

I love your company. I wasn’t really sold on traveling bed & breakfast, but after trying Bettina’s I am a convert. May it and all of you live long and prosper.

I tried the olive oil and lemon juice and it was FANTASTIC!!!!! I had some left over and went about cleaning other things. Did you know the same mixture cleans brass? I hate to clean brass and we have tons of it from my just married days. We were given a lot and started collecting exquisite pieces, but they can be horrible to clean so we didn’t. Some had turned quite dark. The only time any of our brass pieces were cleaned was when the woman who cleans for us had extra time and she would pick up a piece or two and rub forever. The stuff she used had a foul smell, which lingered in the house for hours.

I used the 0000 steel wool and what was left over from the olive oil and lemon juice mixture I used to clean a couple pieces of wood furniture. It is unbelievable how easy it was to clean my brass pieces – trays, statues, candles. They look beautiful – but best of all I didn’t have to suit-up to spend half a day cleaning brass. I didn’t even use rubber gloves and like you said, my hands are all the better for having done the work.

THANK YOU! And you know I won’t ever stay anyplace else. By the time you help me get my house into a very “organic” state I won’t be able to stay anyplace else. As it is, I am hooked on breakfast at Bettina’s. However, I haven’t turned my own kitchen organic as a result – my husband is a little unhappy paying the extra money for some organic foods, but we have gone completely organic with milk and butter. Eggs are next. Hopefully, he will relent, especially when he sees the money we are going to save on brass polish. The one we bought was VERY EXPENSIVE! I’ve tried to show him that you spend more on some things and less on others when you go organic – maybe this proves the case.

ed. Note: We added the bold type to this guests comments.

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Want to join us? Have a home that you want to open to become one of Bettina Network’s Hedge Schools? Call us and lets talk – or email us.

Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

Send your event information to be included in Bettina Network’s Menu of Events to: bettina-network@comcast.net

This is a curated blog so you cannot write your responses at the end of each entry. TO RESPOND TO THIS BLOG email bettina-network@comcast.net or info@bettina-network.com

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Cleaning Furniture the Bettina Way

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

copyright the Bettina Network, inc. 2010

Several months ago, we received a telephone call from a host family in the Bettina Network whose home is open for bed & breakfast guests.

She had an exciting experience cleaning and polishing her furniture. Not many of us get excited over such things these days. It has taken a couple months for us to share this with you because we were afraid to try her suggestion to verify her results. We’ve done that now and it is actually, really exciting.

She cleans and polishes her wood furniture every six months. How she does it is what’s at issue: she mixes olive oil with the juice from 1/2 lemon and rubs this into her wood furniture.

Having been conditioned by the petrochemical crowd and their fantastic marketing, we thought this would be a disaster. We asked a few people to try it before we set out on this project and their results were astounding – so, our turn.

We mixed one cup olive oil with the juice of 1/2 lemon, used 0000 steel wool and set about rubbing our furniture. Once we rubbed the furniture with the 0000 steel wool, (always in the direction of the grain), we wiped off the oil and the steel wool residue with a soft cloth and went back over the furniture with plain olive oil. We let the furniture dry overnight.

The next morning I fully expected to find little animals feasting on the oil residue and an oily ugly mess, but instead the excess oil soaked into the furniture and left a hard beautiful sheen. The results are phenomenal. The furniture is clean, bright, and has a shine that is real. Not greasy, nor slimy, nor anything like that, just a good, clean, hard, dry sheen.

The side benefits from this furniture cleaning and polishing expedition came when we looked at our hands. No rubber gloves were needed because we were using olive oil and lemon juice – neither of which would hurt us if it touched our skin. Our hands were beautifully soft because they had been nourished by the olive oil we used as furniture oil. Another benefit came from the house not smelling of petroleum distillates, a really foul smell. I sniffed around in the evening and couldn’t smell anything. We asked bed & breakfast guests if they smelled anything when they came in, they said no – nothing. I was concerned because I didn’t want the house to smell like a salad dressing, but that didn’t happen. The house had a nice, clean, fresh, smell.

A variation on this came from trying a substitute of lemongrass essential oil for the lemon juice. That is an essential oil which we’ve found has side health benefits. The results were not as dramatic as when we used the olive oil and lemon juice combination, but still very good. The smell was a major difference – probably because of the lemongrass essential oil – the house had a fresh, light sort of lemony smell. We didn’t pick that smell up with the olive oil and lemon juice but then lemongrass oil has an old wives tale with it which claims it is an excellent insecticide, so maybe that explains the smell.

Copying from an article on the internet “Lemongrass essential oil is analgesic, anti-microbial, antiseptic, astringent, bactericidal, carminative, deodorant, insecticidal, sedative, nervine and a tonic; in aromatherapy, lemongrass oil is used to treat acne, to repel insects such as fleas, lice, ticks and mosquitoes, to relieve muscle pain, indigestion, fever, disease, headaches, stress and nervous exhaustion.”

Read more at Suite101: Lemongrass Essential Oil: The Properties and Uses of Lemongrass Oil in Aromatherapy http://aromatherapy.suite101.com/article.cfm/lemongrass_essential_oil#ixzz0fEJAqYes

We are going to ask all Bettina homes which offer bed & breakfast to use olive oil and either lemon juice or lemongrass essential oil to clean their furniture in the future. We can’t see anyone objecting. The benefits are – less money spent on furniture polishers; no need for rubber gloves to clean your furniture; does not compromise your health; nice fresh, clean smell; beautiful furniture and possibly an insecticide side-affect; AND its benefits to the environment are immense.

Afterthoughts: The 0000 steel wool for the initial cleaning was our idea and it is not something that is a necessary part of cleaning the furniture. We are the only ones who used the 0000 steel wool, everyone else rubbed the olive oil and lemon juice combination onto their furniture with a soft cloth and rubbed the furniture until it was clean. They also wiped off the olive oil and lemon juice combination and followed that with rubbing plain olive oil into their furniture as a second step. Everyone let the oil dry overnight for an added benefit instead of wiping off the excess oil immediately and went over the furniture the next morning with a soft dry cloth. We all also found that the oil was gone from the furniture the next morning and the hard, dry shine was in place.

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Want to join us? Have a home that you want to open to become one of Bettina Network’s Hedge Schools? Call us and lets talk – or email us.

Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

Send your event information to be included in Bettina Network’s Menu of Events to: bettina-network@comcast.net

This is a curated blog so you cannot write your responses at the end of each entry. TO RESPOND TO THIS BLOG email bettina-network@comcast.net or info@bettina-network.com

TO LEARN MORE try www.bettina-network.com

 

Fresh, Healthy-Looking Eyes

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

A tip from a guest – sent via mail to the Bettina Network, inc.

Thanks for Bettina’s Blog. I enjoy reading it and followed your suggestion of saving it for Sunday morning. It is more fun than the newspapers I read on Sundays and informative in ways no one else tells us. My experience at breakfast in the Bettina Home where I stayed was fascinating. I learned an enormous amount and was very impressed with the intellectual level of your guests.

My tip doesn’t begin to meet those lofty levels, but it was astounding to me and I would like to pass it along to others.

I read your post about keeping your skin beautiful with vitamins A, E and organic powdered milk and have been using it religiously. It has done wonders for my wrinkled skin, which is smoothing out and has taken on a fantastic sheen. My husband tells me I have taken on a “glow.”

I’ve taken your post one step further to increase the good results I get. When I rinse my face with water from my cupped hands the ten splashes you suggest, I don’t dry around the eyes. I dry the rest of my face because I don’t like the feeling of water dripping off my face as I wait for the water to dry, but not wiping around the eyes has done wonders for me. The skin around my eyes was puffy and wrinkly. For several months now I have not touched around the eyes, only did the ten times water splashes to my face without drying my eyes and I can’t believe the difference. Imagine dewey eyes at my age.

A nurse I know said it happens because whenever you dry around your eyes you are compressing the veins and the thin skin and that is what’s happening. Don’t know if that’s true or not and don’t know if I am remembering exactly what she said, but it was something like that.

I really don’t care why, I care about the results from the ten splashes and not wiping the eye area – I look well rested. I send this tip to you in exchange for your tip about what clipping the vitamins has done for the rest of my face.

ed:Note – the Blog to which the reader refers is “Bettina’s Premier Beauty Secret” published in March, 2008

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Want to join us? Have a home that you want to open to become one of Bettina Network’s Hedge Schools? Call us and lets talk – or email us.

Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

Send your event information to be included in Bettina Network’s Menu of Events to: bettina-network@comcast.net

This is a curated blog so you cannot write your responses at the end of each entry. TO RESPOND TO THIS BLOG email bettina-network@comcast.net or info@bettina-network.com

TO LEARN MORE try www.bettina-network.com

 

Your Credit Card and their ‘Rewards"

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

copyright 2010 The Bettina Network, inc.

Let’s take a look at those Credit Card “Rewards” offered by just about every bank. This came from several breakfast conversations. We put it all together and voila – for your information!

Who pays for those rewards? Are they really ‘gifts’ from the banks and credit card companies as payment for your loyalty to them or are they profit centers generating more money transferred from John and Mary Q. Public to the banks without John & Mary realizing the game plan?

Those rewards do not come from either the Credit Card companies or their underlying banks. They come from you, the consumer using those credit cards. You pay for the rewards you think are ‘free’ and you pay a substantial amount of money for those ‘gifts.’

How? When you make a purchase via a merchant with your credit card, the credit card company takes a percentage of your charge from the merchant; and takes a monthly fee; a rental fee for the equipment the merchant uses; money for telephone calls the machine makes from the merchant to the processing company to approve and record your charges; PLUS – an extra amount for whatever credit card ‘program’ your card indicates. So, the merchant is left with a fairly heavy discount taken by the credit card companies. The ‘reward’ program discounts can be pretty substantial as an addition on top of everything else.

I am sure by now you get the picture. The merchant can not absorb those discounts and stay in business so they are passed along – TO YOU!

Merchants have contracts with their credit card processing companies – just as you have a contract with your credit card company. Those contracts are changed on a basis about as regular as your contract is changed. The only ‘consent’ the merchants can give to those changes is to either agree and go along or stop accepting credit cards from their consumers and we all know what that would do to that merchants’ business. So the merchant is pretty well locked into allowing the discount percentages for the rewards to be taken from the money they receive from the credit card processing companies. Those discounts are taken and sent to the credit card banks whether you use your ‘rewards’ points or they just disappear!

Some quick calculations will point you in the direction of the ‘rewards’ system being a profit center for the credit card companies instead of ‘gifts’ to consumers.

The rewards discount is taken from each and every credit card purchase by the credit card processing companies – whether the reward is used or not and each bank has a way of limiting the amount of rewards actually used. There are rules as to when you can use your rewards and when you get stripped of them. The merchant does not receive a credit if your rewards are stripped from you, that goes to the bank’s bottom line profit.

We believe some of the ‘reward’ offers are downright fraudulent. Take for example when you start with a credit card company and they offer special promotions giving you ‘double points’ sometimes ‘triple points’ for buying stuff using their credit card. After a time, those same special promotions are offered to all credit card holders. What has happened? The ‘rewards’ which previously took 100 points to get – now take 200 points or in the case of the triple point offers – 300 points. The number of points it takes to ‘buy’ the same reward has increased two or three times. That was most noticeable when the points it took for airline tickets doubled – particularly with American Express.

On settlement day with the merchant, there are various amounts showing on the merchants statement from their credit card processor.

For example: One merchant – selling widgets – pays the credit card processor 2.99% for allowing that merchant to accept credit cards. The discount percentage varies from one merchant to another or in the case of American Express, from one industry to another.

In addition to that 2.99%, that merchant pays a monthly fee for using the service. In addition, the merchant pays for telephone calls, at so much per call, (haven’t they heard of Skype) generated to put the charge through from the merchant to the processor, in addition, the merchant pays either a rental or purchase fee for the equipment used – some as high as $80/month for a small company (our research shows that is Bank of America) and on up.

And then comes the ‘reward’ discount. The merchant is charged an extra amount, on top of all of the above discounts, depending upon which card was accepted with which program in effect. It is a place where banks can nickel and dime a merchant into capitalisms graveyard without the merchants being aware they are terminally ill because the amounts on an individual charge seem to be so little. Very few merchants are good at that kind of math – and even more don’t believe they are being robbed so blatantly.

When you add up the money across the entire credit card industry it is an overwhelmingly large amount. Then – do the math – subtract from that the amount not used by credit card holders who die with points on their credit cards; credit card holders who are stripped of their points because they had late payments; credit card holders who are stripped of their points for innumerable other reasons; credit card holders who don’t ever get enough points to use them, etc. etc. etc.

When added up, one realizes that much money is being made here and where is it going? Into the banks’ pockets and then into the preferred bankers’ pockets individually through those obscene bonuses! How is it being reported? Is there a stripped out set of numbers which accurately reports the profit banks are making from their credit card ‘rewards’ program and how much the general public is paying for ‘gifts’ that they think are free to them as a bonus for their loyalty to their credit card? That is the area where all are notoriously silent.

Don’t speak of it until we find another service with which to replace this rewards boon-doggle and then it can be trashed out of existence, while we quietly move along taking even more money from John and Mary Q Public.

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______________________________________________________________

Want to join us? Have a home that you want to open to become one of Bettina Network’s Hedge Schools? Call us and lets talk – or email us.

Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

Send your event information to be included in Bettina Network’s Menu of Events to: bettina-network@comcast.net

This is a curated blog so you cannot write your responses at the end of each entry. TO RESPOND TO THIS BLOG email bettina-network@comcast.net or info@bettina-network.com

TO LEARN MORE try www.bettina-network.com

 


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