Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I have a giveaway up for a greener way to do your laundry! Check it out here.

Have a great Christmas and I'll be around more after the holidays have settled.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Discs for Dogs

What to you usually do with old CD's or DVD's that you no longer want?

Did you know that over 45 tons of old discs are thrown into landfills each MONTH? It's true! To make it worse, those discs aren't biodegradable so they just sit there and clog up the land as years pass by.

There is a better option! Discs for Dogs will take your unwanted discs and turn them into profits to be donated to the SPCA.

You simply mail the discs to them, using a printed mailing label from their site and they will sell the discs for a small price online and donate the profit to the local SPCA. They will even reimburse you for shipping or donate the shipping cost directly to the SPCA per your request. Read more about it here if you are interested.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

America Recycles Day

America Recycles Day is coming up on November 15!

Check out the site and sign a pledge to commit to recycling.

You can also get tons of information about recycling. Everything from what to recycle, where to recycle and why it's all important. There's also a very informative "Do and Don't list" of Recycling.

You can look up events in your area and get involved, as well.

I have to say, I hadn't heard much about this before. One of our local radio stations does a "Green Minute" each day and the DJ mentioned that America Recycles Day was coming up but that was the first and last I'd heard of it. Had you heard? Are there events in your area?

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Over at my other blog, I am talking about my sad addiction to magazines. I realize that this isn't a very green addiction so I'm here to ask for your ideas.

What do you do with magazines once you are done with them? If you don't subscribe to any or even like to read them, just pretend that you do.

I have several options for the magazines that I have around my house. Some are recycled when I'm done. This is usually if my daughter has cut out all the pages and used them for her weekly homework assignments that require cutting out pictures that begin with the letter they are studying for the week. So, really, I get another use out of them before they get recycled.

Another option is to donate them. Whenever I have a dentist or doctor appointment, I call ahead and ask if they need any new magazines in their waiting rooms. I've never had them turn me down. I black out or cut out my name and address on the front and take them in. Everyone wins here because the ones I have are usually more recent publications than what are usually the waiting rooms. We also send them to my husband's friends who are deployed. We ship them over and one of his friends will either put them in the lounge of the dorms or fitness centers to be shared.

The last option that I have is to keep them. I try to only do this with magazines that I know I will use or look at again like cooking magazines or ones with articles that I found helpful for whatever reason.

Tell me, what do you do when you're done?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Free Bag from Target

You can get a free reusable bag from Target here.

Real post coming tomorrow and I'll need your input!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Clorox Green Works

Have you tried the Green Works line from Clorox? I recently had the opportunity to try several of their products thanks to my lovely friends at Mom Central.
Let me cut to the chase with these products. I love them! I've been testing green cleaning products for a while now and I've been disappointed time and again. I opened the All Purpose Spray and went right to work on my kitchen. The smell of this product is amazing! In the past, the natural cleaners have seriously lacked in the smell department and that is very important to me. Another good thing is that the spray actually works, too! Good smell, safe product AND it works? I'm devoted.
In addition to the All Purpose Cleaner, I also tried the Dishwashing Liquid, Bathroom Cleaner, and Dilutable Cleaner. I love each one so far. They all have a nice smell without being overpowering, which I've mentioned is very important to me. More importantly, they all WORK. Even better than that, I feel good about letting my kids come around after I've cleaned because I know the products are safe. I also know I'm not washing something down the drain that could contaminate our water supply. I'll be using these products from now on.
The folks at Green Works have developed a web site, 30 Days To Natural, to help you on your own journey to being green. You can receive tips on going green from them and watch videos about regular people who are doing the same. You can invite your friends to learn along with you. This is a site that I'm learning to love. There are a lot of tips, ranging from the very simple to things I hadn't thought of.
If you've tried these products, let me know what you think. I personally love them and since they are affordable and they work so well, I'll be using them for a long time.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Oil Cleansing Method

Recently, my friend Christy posted about something new she was trying for facial cleansing. My initial reaction was, “Ewww.” Getting over that, I was intrigued.

Have you heard of the Oil Cleansing Method? Basically, you combine caster oil with either olive oil or sunflower oil and clean your face with it rather than your normal, most likely chemical based facial cleanser.

Sounds simple, right?

It totally is! The hardest part was finding caster oil. Let me save you some time, head for Walgreens because I live in a fairly large city and they were still the only place that carried it.

You can experiment with how much of each oil you’ll need. I have crazy skin that’s oily in some places and flaky dry in some so I started with mixing a small amount in case I needed to adjust. I started with 20% castor oil and 80% extra virgin olive oil and that seems to be working well for me. Read the article to find out what mixture will work best for you.

I had some fears going into this. First, that I’d smell like an Italian hoagie. Not at all! While I’m massaging the oil into my skin, the smell of the olive oil drives me batty. As soon as I’m done, the smell is gone. I have even asked my husband if he can smell it and he says that he can’t.

I was also afraid that I’d have problems with this making my skin really oily. Sure, I’d read that the castor oil actually breaks up the oil on your skin but the thought of rubbing oil on my skin seemed contrary to taking the oil off. Believe it, friends. It works!
My final fear was that I'd have to use a seperate product to remove my mascara. This works as well as any cleaner I've used in the past (and I think I've used them all!) at removing all of my eye makeup.

I have been able to eliminate my nightly moisturizer since I started using this method just over a week ago. On top of that, I hadn’t yet found a “green” facial cleanser and this keeps me from having to try out all of the expensive ones.

If you have tried this method, please let me know! I’d love to hear how you like it.
**Photo credit: Liv Friis-larsen - Fotolia.com

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Well, Well, Well

I'm sure you guys probably thought I was gone forever, didn't you? I have been away from this blog for way too long and I have been itching to get back.

The truth is, I haven't written here because I didn't feel like I had anything new to share with you. We have been cruising along quite nicely with all of the changes that we made to make our lifestyle more green but hadn't tried anything new.

It occurred to me that I originally wanted this blog to be about sharing my journey with you but I also wanted a dialog with you about what you are doing and how this journey is working for you. I wanted to share products with you that I'd either heard about or tried...the good and the bad. I wanted to encourage each other as we tried to make our lives better and take care of the world we live in.

I'm ready to get back to those things. I'm ready to talk. Do you have something that you want to hear about that I haven't covered? If you guys are still reading, let's chat. I'll have at least two new posts up this week and in two weeks, there will be a giveaway here that you won't want to miss. So, bring your ideas, questions and tell your friends because I'm back, baby.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


School is about to start here and we have been gearing up and getting all of our supplies ready. It occurred to me as I was making my lists for school shopping that I may have to start buying paper napkins again to use in lunch boxes for the kids. I don't have enough of a supply of cloth built up yet at home to let them take those. Plus, all of our home ones would be rather large for a lunch box.

Luckily, I found Fabkins! These are the most adorable cloth napkins in just the right size for a child's lunch box! I was so excited about these that I let my kids pick out which they wanted and went to order right away. Unfortunately, the ones Sister chose were out of stock. I emailed the company to find out when they'd be in and I got an almost immediate response from co-founder Paige Rodgers. She explained that the ones we wanted were out of stock until October. Sister picked out her second favorite and we had an email saying they were shipped in less than 24 hours. How's that for customer service? I'm beyond impressed.

I'll let you know how they work out when we start using them. For now, I'm just glad that I don't have to buy paper napkins again!

Monday, August 11, 2008


Folks, I haven't forgotten about this blog or you. I promise! I'm still trying each day to make strides in a more green lifestyle but I haven't had the energy to tell you about them. We have had one crazy summer and these past couple of weeks have just gotten crazier.

I will tell you that the big strides that we have taken lately are going really well. I'm still using the re-usable cloth bags on shopping trips. I've even take recently to refusing bags at places where I'm just making small purchases. We also haven't purchased paper napkins since I shared with you that I've made the switch to cloth! I've got to say that this is the biggest thing for us because I loathe laundry. But, I haven't noticed any extra laundry and I just throw them in with whatever load I'm working on. I've gotten comments from friends who are dining with us about how great they think it is. Of course, the follow on is that they don't think they can make that switch and I get to explain how easy it was for us.

Another thing I've noticed recently is that I cringe when we are out and I see a lot of unnecessary packaging. Restaurants are notorious for this and an overuse of Styrofoam. A year ago, I wouldn't have given it a passing thought but now it really grates on my nerves.

So, there you have it. I'm still around and posting will pick up here very soon. I've just got to catch my breath first.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I've Got a Beef To Pick

While I'm vacationing with my family for a few days, I've asked one of my favorite ladies in the world to stand in for me. She has no idea that she has been an inspiration to me in my green journey. I remember way back when she was the first of our group who was bold enough to try cloth diapers. She was also the first to make her own baby food. I love her, admire her and can't wait to share her with you! Enjoy Amy from Wake Me When It's Over and make her feel welcome!

I am so excited Heather asked me to guest blog on here! She's been such a huge motivator to step up my going green. With the sheer abundance of info out there it can be so overwhelming to figure out what step to take next. But with Heather here passing all her information along I've really been able to step up my game. So thanks Heather! You've been a huge help!

I've been throwing around the idea of switching to grass fed hormone free beef for quite a while. There are so many reasons that grass fed is better for you and the environment. Cows are meant to be grazing creatures. Instead they are fed corn because this fattens them up faster, which in turn causes the animals to become ill. Think acidosis, rumenitis, liver ulcers and bloat. So thanks to all those nice little illnesses the cows are pumped full of antibiotics. Oh and to get those tasty little cows off to slaughter sooner they get loaded up with hormones. Mmmmm...... I'll take 1 hormone riddled antibiotic laced steak please.

Antibiotics and hormones. Those are big one for me. I've heard time and again that our bodies are growing more resistant to antibiotics. Could this be because we are exposed to it almost daily through our foods? Seriously. I don't know, but it makes sense to me. And hormones? We have girls going through puberty earlier and earlier. It's been suspected that the hormone laden meats could be a cause for this but I haven't been able to find a full blown study. And breast cancer? Again, no study. It would be nice to have these studies done wouldn't it?

So all in all grass fed hormone free beef seems to be the way to go. The animals are raised more humanely. When it's time for slaughter you won't find them jam packed in a trailer cruising down the freeway to the likes of Hallmark Meat Packing Co. You know, the place where those videos of abuse and neglect surfaced a while back. Nope, generally they are slaughtered on site or at small independent slaughter facilities. And with all the meat recalls this would help me breath a little easier. The meat it self is higher in nutritional value. So I guess that leaves us with cost. Sure, it is a bit pricey. And I know every time I start looking into it I shy away because of the price. But then I think about it and realize I can't put a price on my families health.

I'm sure I'll take the plunge sooner than later. But I just can't shake this nagging feeling that I might be setting my boys up for some teasing in the future. I mean if the majority of other kids are eating hormone riddled beef will they have an advantage? Will they be bigger? Stronger? Faster? I know. It seems kinda silly. But Kids can be the most vicious creatures out there. I'm just trying to think of their emotional health too.

Thursday, July 31, 2008


The lovely winner of the Organic Cotton lounge set from Maggie's Organics is the Sassy Pink Boutique! Congrats! Thanks for entering guys!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

What Not To Wear....And a Prize!

I have a chance to share something with you that I'm really excited about. Recently, I read a post by Shaun Groves that made me want to research more before purchasing clothing for my family. I followed the links within the story to other posts detailing a recent trip he took to the Dominican Republic with Compassion International and immediately felt convicted. Of all the things I've been trying to change within our family, I have given little thought to our clothing, where it comes from and how it's made.

Ideally, I'd love to be able to support companies that use organic cotton, safe dye and support fair trade. I realize that this is often difficult to do given the extra expense involved and time it would take you to research in order to find such a company.

Maggie's Organics is a company that I am proud to introduce to you. They use only organic materials in making their apparel and were instrumental in creating the Fair Trade Zone, "a 100% worker-owned Sewing Co-Operative in Nicaragua that has helped hurricane refugees create a new life for themselves and their families."

Further, they are currently helping a group of displaced textile workers in rural NC (an area that owns a piece of my heart because I am originally from there!) by helping them start a sewing company owned by the workers themselves.

This company is getting it right. Click here to find out more about how they are putting back into local communities and using materials that are sustainable and safe. If you're curious, Maggie's Organics is also very reasonably priced. I know that is a big issue for me when finding companies to support.

Maggie's recently sent me one of their lounge sets to try out and let me tell you, I'm hooked. I love pajamas and these are soft, comfortable AND cute! They were also kind enough to send along a pair for me to share with you! I have this one in a size large and to win, go to Maggie's Organics site and browse through their products. Come back here and let me know what you love the most and I'll randomly draw a winner from the comments on Wednesday, July 30. In you post about this contest on your own blog, I'll give you three extra entries! (Be sure to let me know that you've done this!)

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them here in the comments or click the link on your right to email me! Good luck!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Color Again

I just love when kids get involved in doing something to make a difference. If kids can come up with creative ideas, why can't the rest of us? Check out this story:


How cool is that?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bad Hair Day

Hi, I'm Heather and I'm addicted to hair products. A lot of hair products. My basket overfloweth.

I'm at your mercy, Internets. I can't go green in the area of the hair products. I've tried several greenish shampoos and conditioners and they just leave me ugly. Like, frizzy and Frankenstein ugly. I haven't even attempted to change in my old hair styling products for the green version because I'm scared.

Yes, I said it. I'm scared. I don't like to be ugly, frizzy and Frankenstein.

Come on, you know you don't like it either.

This is where I turn to you. For the love of all things healthy and green, please tell me if you have a product that you use and love. For the record, I have naturally curly and dry hair. I straighten it a couple of times a week. Help me.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Stinky Subjects

Back in the spring, I started looking at switching deodorants. I wanted an aluminum free version that would keep me from smelling like an unwashed farm animal. I tried Tom's of Maine first since it's most readily available at all of the mainstream stores.

I thought I had hit the jackpot. I didn't notice any smelliness coming from the pits and I felt good about using a product that didn't have the potential to give me cancer. Along came summer. Tom let me down. As it turns out, he wasn't as good in the summer heat as I needed him to be.

I picked up Trader Joe's brand next. It goes on a little sticky. As in, you put it on and hold up your arms a little bit to wait for it to dry...like a roll on, but it's not. However, Joe has been so much better to me than Tom. I haven't had any smelliness yet. I've been using it for almost a month now and the temps here have been in the high 90's many times. I'm impressed.

I'll post a little more later on why it's important to use deodorant without aluminum but for now, I wanted to get this out there in case you are struggling in the dog days of summer, like me.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Cloth Napkins

I've been hoping for some time now to start using cloth napkins for our family. I didn't have big hopes of completely replacing paper napkins with them yet but I figured as with most things, we'd move towards the goal slowly. Within the past two weeks, I realized that we are using more paper napkins than ever before and it started to bother me. It bothers me to the point that every time I hand out the napkins for a meal, I cringe a little on the inside. People, this is a major step for me.

Last weekend, I was doing some shopping with my Sisters and I ran across some beautiful cloth napkins on clearance. They are well made and I loved the way they looked. I decided to pick them up and give them a try with our family. My kids thought we were celebrating something! They looked nice and my Son didn't need to go through three of them in one meal to keep his hands clean. (He HATES being dirty!) I've decided that I can make them just as easily myself because I like to sew and I have lots of material left over from various projects that will be just the right size. If you don't sew, check out Etsy and Ebay because I found some great deals on both of those sites. My thinking is that if I keep enough on hand, I won't have to scramble to keep them washed up and it will be easier to resist the temptation to use paper napkins. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

I've told you before that I'm not an all or nothing girl. I'm also not someone who you'd consider totally green. I'm getting there. But daily I'm seeing changes in myself and my way of thinking that I know are for the better. I'm liking it! This is one thing that I'm hoping to be all or nothing about. I'd love to not have to buy napkins again!

What about you? Do you use cloth? Make your own or buy from other places?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Preserve Toothbrush

Recently, I was given a Preserve Toothbrush to try out. Have you heard of these? The handle is made of 100% recycled plastic and when you are done with it, you ship it back to them in a postage paid envelope that they provide and they recycle it for you. Couldn't be easier.

They have a partnership with Stonyfield Yogurt that allows them to pick up used yogurt cups as well as the scraps from Stonyfield's plant in New Hampshire and they turn them into toothbrushes, razors and tongue cleaners! Also? The plastic case that it comes in is sturdy enough to keep and use as a travel case for your toothbrush, complete with tiny air holes to keep nasty mold away. I will say that the 45 degree angle curve of the handle took me some getting used to but there are certain parts of your mouth that it just reaches better.

I was curious to see what else this company has to offer so I browsed their site a little and found these cool little cutting boards!

You can find these Preserve Toothbrushes at Target for just over $2 each but if you can't wait that long or (Heaven forbid!) don't live close to a Target, I have one extra to give away! Just leave a comment here before Sunday, June 29 at midnight and I'll draw one random winner for the toothbrush! Don't forget to leave an email address where I can contact you.

I almost forgot to tell you! You can get a coupon for Preserve toothbrushes here.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Recipe for Clean

Here is one of the recipes I came across for making your own cleaning supplies. If you have others, I'd love to hear them! I'll post more soon. I've found so many that use Borax but I'm still trying to decide if that is something that's really safe for me to use in a house with small kids.

You will see that a lot of them use essential oils. These can be found online easily or at your local health food store. I've seen several at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, as well.

This is Gorgeously Green All Purpose Spray:

32 oz. Plastic Spray Bottle

2 Cups Water

1/2 Cup Distilled White Vinegar

1 Teaspoon Pure Castile Soap

3/4 Cup Hydrogen Peroxide

20 Drops Tea Tree Oil

20 Drops Lavender or Lemongrass Essential Oil

Fill the spray bottle with the water first. Then, add all the other ingredients and use! This is safe for acrylic, ceramic tile, wood, marble and granite.

Cleaning Products Question

Christy asked in a comment on a previous post:

Love the new design! I'm still trying to figure out household cleaners and laundry detergent...make my own? Buy all natural and organic? What do you do?

First, let me admit that this is yet another area where I'm still learning. I have used/am using several different products right now for cleaners. I'm still trying to use up the last of several of my former regular toxic cleaners. I just can't throw them out and they are all on the verge of being gone anyway. Having said that, I also have several great products that are not toxic that I'm trying out.

Barefoot Home Essentials was probably the first family/Earth friendly product that I tried. I love that this is a company run by parents who were concerned for the safety of their family and thus started their own business to help others who had the same concerns. I tried the All Purpose Cleaner and the Lavender Disinfecting Spray and liked both of them.

I've also tried various Method products with great success for cleaning.

I have run across several recipes for making your own cleaning products that I will post within the next couple of days. Some of them look pretty promising and the frugal part of me can't wait to try this! I also can't wait to share it with you guys so you can try it, too!

As for laundry, this is an area where I struggle. I have been brand loyal for years to two different laundry detergents and I'm finding it hard to experiment with something that is better for us. I know, I know. I just need to do it already. That's why I'm glad I have you guys. For the sake of answering this question, I did what I've been putting off. I'm actually researching laundry alternatives aside from the very bad mainstream detergent I've been using.

I have heard Soap Nuts recommended, although I can't testify to how well they work since I haven't used them yet. I'm definitely intrigued, though. Method and Seventh Generation also have well known Earth Friendly laundry products. I recently tried Method fabric softener and I'm loving it.

The other areas where I struggle to give up my old versions of products are in the bathroom. I have used the same shower and toilet cleaners for years and I'm antsy to try something new. Again, I'm still learning about products in these areas so I'm sure there will be more posts to follow this one.

I'd love to hear what you do! Do you have products that you love? Do you make your own?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Junk Mail, Part 1

There was a time when I loved getting catalogs. I loved to browse them and marvel at all of the pretty things that I would never have. It didn't occur to me that those catalogs that I'd peruse and then toss (and not even in the recycling bin...GASP!) were going to a landfill to sit. I never considered that thousands of trees were being wasted on my desire to window shop from the comfort of my couch.

I'm now disgusted with the amount of junk mail that comes into our house and I've been looking for a way to stop it. One obvious way to stop getting massive amounts of junk mail is to call or email individual companies and ask to be removed from their mailing lists. You may also call your bank and credit card companies and request that your information not be released for marketing or sales purposes. The Financial Modernization Act passed in 2000 gives you the right to do this.

Other things that may help you reduce the amount of junk mail that comes into your house:

1. Send a letter to the Direct Marketing Association at P.O. Box 643, Carmel, NY 10512 and they can reduce almost 75 percent of the mailings you receive.

2. Call 1-888-567-8688 and go through the automated system to remove yourself from the mailing lists of major credit bureaus for five years. This means that those ridiculous pre-approved credit card mailings will stop. Thank you, Lord.

Tomorrow, I'll post some reasons we want to to eliminate the junk mail overload from our boxes. You know, aside from the obvious.

Friday, June 6, 2008


I want to talk about composting. I don't do it yet but I'd like to when we move (hopefully this summer!) Do you compost? If you do, would you be willing to share your method?

Monday, June 2, 2008


It's only recently that I've become aware of parabens. They say ignorance is bliss and I was living proof of that until the past year.

Parabens are chemical preservatives that are very commonly used in cosmetics and other personal care products in the United States. Studies show that parabens can disrupt hormone function and are absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream without ever being broken down by our bodies.

I'm not a scientist but none of this sounds good to me. Like I, or any woman for that matter, need one more thing messing with our hormones.

As with everything, there are also studies that say that parabens are harmless and that we should stop being paranoid. I would have been in that boat until recently. Then I read that parabens were found in breast cancer tumors. That possibility alone makes me want to be more cautious.

Here's an article with some interesting information:

"Measurable concentrations of six different parabens have been identified in biopsy samples from breast tumors. The particular parabens were found in relative concentrations that closely parallel their use in the synthesis of cosmetic products. Parabens have also been found in almost all urine samples examined from a demographically diverse sample of U.S. adults."

Armed with all of this, I started looking through all of the products that I use on a daily basis. Almost every single product I use has at least one paraben listed in the ingredients. Even the yummy body cream I got for my daughter's eczema from Lush (a known earth friendly company) has two different parabens on the ingredient list.

Usually, they will be listed with the following prefix or suffix attached to paraben: methyl-, ethyl-, isobutyl. There are more but a good rule of thumb is that if you see the word paraben, think twice. The products on my shelf that were most likely to have parabens in the ingredient list were body lotions and cosmetics. Check yours out and let me know what you find!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hand In Hand

I have mentioned before that my journey into a green lifestyle started more out of concern for my family's health than a genuine concern for the Earth. Though I'm sure some would say that these things are independent of each other, I believe they go hand in hand.

Most of the things that I have changed in our home that are considered "green" have major health benefits for our family. Switching to organic foods when possible, cutting out/back on chemicals used in our home and being cautious about the amount and type of plastics we use are some examples.

Another thing I realized while talking to my husband the other day is that this is the way things used to be. The things I'm trying to change in my home and family are things that my Grandmothers did regularly. Things that are now trendy and celebrities get paid big bucks to talk about were commonplace in their lives. My husband grew up on a large farm. For reasons of frugality, his family practiced (and still does to some degree) growing their own food, composting, using cloth diapers, using natural methods of cleaning and rarely eating over processed foods.

Though my Grandmothers lived this way as well, I can look back and see when it all started to change in my Mom's generation. We gave up what was good for what was easy. I read so much about how so many diseases are more prevalent now than 20 years ago. It's not difficult to draw a connection here.

So, on this blog and on this journey, you'll find that I'm not always going to post about things that seem to be obviously linked to cleaning up the Earth and making it last for our children. Sometimes, I want to focus on things that lead to good health and even frugality. I really believe they all can go hand in hand. I also believe that all of these things combined will make our families (and our Earth) happier and healthier.

If you have suggestions about things to discuss here, please feel free to share them with me and I'll do what I can to share them with everyone!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Did You Know?

Something I've learned from Gorgeously Green recently is what good those little stickers on your fruits and veggies are. I've always thought the number was just what the cashiers used to key in the item. WRONG! They are way more important than that.

If your sticker has a four digit number, beginning with a 4, it is not organic.

If your sticker has a five digit number, beginning with a 9, it is organic.

If your sticker has a five digit number beginning with an 8, it is genetically modified.

Did you catch that last one? Genetically modified fruits and veggies? NO THANK YOU.

The way Sophie Uliano says to remember this is, "Four is a bore. I hate eight. Nine is just fine." Cheesy? Yes, I'd say so. Helpful? Sure! I can't tell you how much I've repeated that in my head as I cruise the produce section. I have yet to run into any with an eight but I'm on the lookout.

I hope to discuss more about eating organic foods soon but in the meantime, my beautiful friend Andrea has a great post about it up today! Go visit her and check it out!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Paper Towels and Me

It's time for a confession. I suspect that there will be a lot of those as we take this journey together. I have an abiding love of paper towels. It's one of those things that I struggle with on the green journey.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a "roll a week" girl or anything. We don't use them for drying our hands or for spills, usually. So, what in the world is it that makes me hold on so tightly to them?

Almost every job they do around the house can be replaced with something better for the environment and more economical yet I still have them sitting on my counter....just. in. case.

The one job that kept me stocking my supply of paper towels was cleaning mirrors and glass around the house. Nothing else worked to get the streaks off and I hate streaks with a Windex blue passion. While I was in Heaven Target last week, I picked up this product by Method. I was skeptical but I trust Method so I figured I'd at least give it a shot.

I cracked open my microfiber cloth on mirror/window cleaning day and it really didn't look like I thought it would. From the look of the box, I expected it to be more like a sponge. Instead, it's a rather unassuming little cloth that's shiny on one side. I was sure it wouldn't work after taking a look at it. I assumed it would just smear the liquid cleaner around on the glass like a pair of pantyhose.

I was wrong. This little thing is awesome! I used it for my mirrors and the french doors in our living room. The same doors that my kids insist on using as licking/looking/hand wiping glass. They were clean an streak free. I even used it to shine my faucets in the bathrooms after I cleaned the mirrors. These are things I'd have used paper towels for before that day. Also, I have to use less cleaner with the cloth. It's reusable and washable. In a word, it's awesome.

All that to say that I'm trying to kick the paper towel habit. I am. I don't think I'll ever be without paper towels in my house but I can tell you that our uses for them have diminished and we are finding other options for most jobs.

What about you? Paper towel addict or paper towel free? Have you tried other things to take the place of them?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Bag it Up!

One of the easiest things I've done in the process of going green is switching to reusable bags for my grocery shopping. Several months back, the commissary (grocery store for military folks) started offering the reusable bags for less than $1 each. I had been looking around at some cute ones online that were way more expensive but had been hesitant to pay close to $10 each for them since I'd likely need several to fit all of my groceries. When I saw the ones in the commissary, I snatched them up, deciding that price was more important than beauty. After all, they are holding things like raw chicken and string cheese, not competing in a beauty pageant.

I decided to keep the bags in my car to be sure to have them on each shopping trip. I had such good intentions. You know what they say about good intentions, right? Inevitably, I would get into the grocery store and halfway through my shopping I'd realize that my bags were still safely locked in the back of my car.

You don't actually think I'd leave my cart full of food there and go back for them do you?

Good, because I didn't. At least not for the first four trips or so. I'd chalk it up to a mistake and promise myself next time I'd remember.

Finally one day, I got serious. I have been taking my bags on every trip since. Recently, at Trader Joe's, I forgot to bring them in and I actually parked my cart near the front and ran out to get them. It's become more important to me as I realize just how many plastic bags our family used to go through in a week.

From the grocery store alone, I'd have an average of 10 plastic bags per trip. Sure, I'd save them to use for something around the house but even so, they'd get one more use at the most before sitting in a landfill somewhere.

Then, there's my trips to Target. Oh, Target. How do I love thee? Let me count the bags. I'm not yet as disciplined at Target but I have taken my reusable bags into Target a couple of times with me recently and the cashier hasn't batted an eye packing them with my purchases.

Sure, not loading landfills and oceans with the plastic bags is good enough reason to use reusable bags but I have a better (albeit more selfish) reason that can motivate me on the laziest of days. When I walk out of the grocery store with my cute kind of ugly green bags, I feel good about it. I feel like I'm actually helping and doing my part. As a matter of fact, I can't think of a good reason not to use them. Can you?

Another reason I love reusable bags? Convenience. They have a handle that fits easily on my shoulder. It's so nice to have free hands to open doors for myself and hold my kids' hands as we cross the parking lot. They also hold a lot more stuff so there's less bulk to carry into the house when I'm unloading the car.

My next step is to get a few mesh bags to put my fresh fruits and vegetables in so that I can stop using those annoying plastic bags that always rip right as my cucumbers nestle into the bottom.

Do you use reusable bags yet? Have you gotten the mesh produce bags? If so, share what kinds of bags you use and how you like them.

Here is an article with 10 good reasons to use reusable bags rather than plastic.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Contest Winners!

You are all winners in my book. Alas, I only have two books to share and according to the lovely random generator, the lovely winners of Gorgeously Green are:

Comment #3:

Christy said...
That book is on my Amazon list! I'll take the journey with you, it's something I'm working on too!
April 25, 2008 9:05 PM

Comment #7:

Amy said...
You Rock! Can't wait to hear all the things you've incorporated into your life! I've recently started using green cleaning products. We've been using the energy conserving bulbs for a while - why the heck not! This things are supposed to last years! It's been on my mind a lot lately. I think I'm gonna invest in the reusable grocery bags too.
April 28, 2008 5:32 AM

Congratulations, ladies! I will get those books out to you and I hope you will share your thoughts about it with me. I'm working my way through it now and honestly, some things I love and some things I'm like, "Um. Yeah, not so sure I can do that!"

Friday, April 25, 2008

Welcome to My Journey....and a PRIZE!

Welcome to my new journey. For a little over a year now, I've been slowly becoming more "green" and conscious of my family's health and impact on our world. I'll admit that this journey started more as a result of wanting to take better care of my family and less because of wanting to take care of the Earth. As time has gone on, I'd say that I have learned that those two things can indeed go hand in hand.

I've never been one to jump on the latest trends in society and I once was a staunch cynic when someone started to talk about "going green" or buying things organic. Or recycling or using less energy. I gave little to no thought to what was in the foods I eat or the things we used in our home on a daily basis. Some things that I actually made fun of two years ago are now common practices in our family and I can't imagine life without them.

Don't get me wrong. I am no expert and I have a long way to go before I think I'm even well informed. That's where you come in. I know that if I'm thinking about these things and researching them, chances are good that other women out there are, as well. So, I invite you to join me on this journey as I try to go from grey to green, one step at a time. We can discuss, offer ideas to each other and share products that we love. We can share issues that we are having and help each other come up with solutions that fit our families.

I'll share more about the beginnings of my journey in the next few days. For now, I want to give two readers a chance to get a head start on this journey with me. I recently bought the book, Gorgeously Green: 8 Simple Steps to an Earth-Friendly Life, by Sophie Uliano. Believe it or not, I bought it before she appeared on Oprah and impressed millions of other people in one fell swoop.

This book spoke right to me from the first page because I am a girl who loves being a girl. I love wearing make-up. I love hair products. Oh, how I love hair products. I don't have to stop shaving my legs or give up lip gloss to be healthier or help out our planet. Thank you, Jesus.

I have two copies of this book to share with you! Just leave a comment on this post before May 1, 2008 and I'll draw two random winners on that day. If you would like an extra entry, write about this contest (and new blog!) on your own blog and link to this post. Be sure to let me know you have done so with a link to your post. Also, if you don't leave me a valid email address, you can't win. Clear as mud?

I can't wait to take this journey. If one person takes it with me, I'll be happy. More than that will be icing on the cake!