Friday, April 30, 2010

Repurpose Those Cereal Bags!

What to do with those plastic bags that house your cereals & crackers? Use them as ziploc bags! I have not bought a box of plastic storage baggies since November - yay me! I've been saving the plastics bags from inside our cereal & cracker boxes.  I just turn them inside out and wash them and let them dry.  So far I've been able to use them for taking my lunch to work, holding my washed/cut up fruit and veggies, storing leftovers in the fridge and even in the freezer.  I even stored a min-watermelon in one the other day.  Who needs plastic wrap?!  While I'm not sure what number plastic they are made from - yet - it sure beats tossing them in the trash. (I've emailed a couple of the companies and have not received any answers yet, but googling the bags points to a #2) How to seal it with no "ziploc"?  Reuse rubberbands or simple tie a ribbon around the opening!
Goodbye plastic bags and plastic wrap! May you never set foot in my house again!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wednesday Words of Wisdom ~ 04.28.10

"Life is a gift.
If you do not value your gift,
nobody else will."
                                                         (from my Yogi Tea tag)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Happy Birthday to my Morgan!

This one is dedicated to my newly turned 3 year old.  It took three years of trying, 4 too many losses, a high risk pregnancy and a speedy week early delivery. She is my miracle. She is the child I never thought I'd have and the sister my firstborn spent three years praying for.

So Happy Birthday Morgan! Thank you for blessing my life each and every minute. 
You truly are our sunshine!

You & I minutes after you were born. You still owe me that orange popsicle!
Meeting your sister and now constant companion for the first time.
You on your 3rd birthday! What a great day we had!
Lunch & ice cream!
Picking out a toy!
And finally getting sis from school! (morgan "only I couldn't stay up for the car ride home and yes, I normally ride in a carseat, but wanted to snug, so mom let me ride in the booster seat" - which you can see why 3yo's shouldn't ride in booster seats!)
So here's to many, many more years with you my sweet baby! xo

Friday, April 23, 2010

Our New "Neighbors!"

Our yard is a constant work in progress. We are trying to create less grass and more garden beds with perennials and ground cover that doesn't need constant mowing and watering.  We took out a bunch of old bushes this spring and are excited to replant the beds around the house with wildlife sustainable plants and flowers.  We are trying to attract butterflies and birds and maybe a toad or two!  Last year we had it certified as a "Backyard Wildlife Habitat" through the National Wildlife Federation.  We have lots of wildlife that visit - birds, bunnies, hawks, chipmunks, butterflies and deer. But none have chosen our small suburban yard as home - expect for bugs!
(a work in progress! the deer eat everything!)
Last night we discovered our first inhabitant! My oldest was so excited and said, "our yard must be perfect with enough food and water and shelter for her to pick our tree!" Normally this Rhododendron tree is feeding station to a handfull of purple finches.  Lately I've noticed that they haven't been hanging around and was curious as to why.  So dad spotted a nest, but let the little ladies hunt for it instead of showing them where it was hiding.
And yes! A Robin family has taken up residence! We will update pictures as things progess.  The little ladies are anxiously awaiting the hatching of these beautiful eggs!
You too, can certify your backyard by following these
1. Provide food for wildlife.
2. Supply water for wildlife.
3. Create cover for wildlife.
4. Give wildlife a place to raise their young.
5. Let your garden be green.
And Voila! go get certified!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


"Imagine if, instead of just going to a tap in your kitchen, or to a water cooler, anytime you were thirsty, you had to hoist a heavy vessel onto your head and walk, up to two hours, to a well, where, after filling your vessel, you had to carry it two more hours back home."

My heart breaks just thinking about the water dilemma facing so many people around the world, while we sit here taking our clean, safe water for granted.

Check out these facts:

***Every 15 seconds a child dies from a water-related disease.***

Roughly 1/6 of the world's population does not have access to safe drinking water.

Some 6,000 children die every day from lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene.

In the past 10 years, diarrhea has killed more children than all the people lost to armed conflict since World War II.
The average person in the developing world uses
2.64 gallons of water/day.
The average person in the United Kingdom uses
35.66 gallons of water /day.
The average person in the United States uses
between 100 and 175 gallons every day at home.

Want to save a life? Skip one dinner out this month!
Donate $30 to Blue Planet Run Foundation
and provide safe drinking water to one person for their ENTIRE lifetime!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wednesday Words of Wisdom ~ 04.21.10

“When you are content to be simply yourself
and don’t compare or compete,
everybody will respect you.”

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Refill Those Cartridges!

So, I don't do a lot of printing at home. If I need a picture, I just upload it to a photo site and have it printed off at one of our local drugstores.  But, we are completely out of ink and I have 3 separate Teacher Appreciation projects for 3 different schools that involve lots of printing. (Thanks dear sister, for tossing your project my way, as well!)

I grabbed my empty cartridges and headed up to OfficeMax to buy some new ones.   On my drive up, I got to thinking about how it's great that we can recycle the empty ones, but what about taking it one step further? How about REFILLING them?  When you first walk in at our OfficeMax, there is a station for dropping off your cartridges to refill them. Approx. $10 for black & $15 for color.  I left them last night around 8pm and got a call this morning that they are ready.  So, while I didn't get to take them home right away, I still get them within 24 hours.  The one thing I worry about is how the printing will actually look.

Here's a little info:
*Save money
*Reusing something made from plastic
*Reducing packing paper/plastic packaging by not buying new
*Someone else does the filling, so no mess
*Have to wait to pick up the refill
*Questionable quality due to reusing cartridge heads made for single use only
*Air bubbles in reservoir can cause messy printing on the paper

I will update when I print to compare the quality of these refilled versus new cartridges!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My New Love! Why you should ditch your plastic water bottle.

Finally! I found a stainless steel water bottle that I love! (I don't love the cheapo ones we have, as all of them tend to leak!) I've been going round and round about what brand I want.  I didn't want a Sigg.  I didn't want a Klean Kanteen.  I wanted something pretty and something where I didn't have to drink straight from the metal edge - without costing a fortune.

So walking through Target on my lunch the other day, I popped down the aisle with all their stainless steel bottles. Lo and behold, I found perfection! Reasonably priced, BPA-free plastic drinking spout, and made by Thermos.

Change happens once small step at a time.  Start with the water bottle and move on to the rest of the plastics. IF you have to buy something in a plastic container, these plastics are BPA-free, phthalates-free and PVC-free: #1, #2, #4, #5.

If you ever needed a reason to ditch the plastic - read on! 

#1. Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE or PET): No known hazards.
#2. High Density Polyethylene (HDPE): No known hazards.
#3. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC or vinyl): Plasticizers are added to many PVC products to make them flexible. These include phthalates — suspected endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), DEHA, another possible EDC, was found to leach from PVC cling wraps into cheese. Grocery stores commonly use PVC to wrap deli meats and cheeses. Reyonds cling wrap is PVC. Some waters and vegetable oils are bottled in PVC. Ad PVC’s manufacture and incineration produces highly toxic dioxins, as does the PVDC used in Saran Wrap, according to Consumers Union.
#4. Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE): No known hazards.
#5. Polypropylene (PP): No known hazards.
#6. Polystyrene (PS or Styrofoam): Made from styrene, a suspected carcinogen, PS also contains p-nonylphenol; both chemicals are suspected EDCs. Do not consumer fatty foods or alcoholic beverages from Styrofoam containers; styrene can leach into these substances. Some opaque plastic cutlery is PS, as well.
#7. Other Resins, including Polycarbonate (PC): Most clear plastic baby bottles and 5-gallon water bottles are made of PC. Bisphenol-A EDC in PC, has been found in water and heated infant formulas bottles in PC, as well as food cans lined with a plastic film. For more on the evils of BPA, click here.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday Words of Wisdom ~ 04.14.10

"We are all of us stars, and we deserve to twinkle."
                                                                       ~Marilyn Monroe

Monday, April 12, 2010

How to Hike & Picnic Like a Good Little Eco Friend!

With the warm weather finally rearing it's pretty head, we are entering the season of hiking and picnics in our household.  So this Sunday we did a little geocaching and a LOT of hiking and ended our afternoon with a picnic.
While sitting at a table in our amazing metroparks along the Rocky River, the little ladies and I got to talking about all the litter we saw while hiking.  When geocaching, we practice "cache in, trash out" - the art of collecting trash you find while hunting for your cache.  It's a practice that has been spilling over into our daily lives and quite frankly I'm still amazed that in this day and age, people litter.

So, we came up with some eco-friendly tips for hiking and picnicking and leaving a zero impact on nature.

1. Leave only footprints.
2. Be careful where you walk, so that you don't disturb natural habitats.
2. Carry a canteen - not a disposable water bottle or even a juice box.
3. Pack all trash with you and dispose of it when you leave or get home.
4. Choose local, seasonal, and/or organic foods - fresh fruits & veggies.
5. Use reusable plates, napkins, utensils, and cups.
6. Use natural/organic bug sprays & sunscreens.
7. Bring a camera :)
(forgot to bring the backpacker, so she rode like this up the 500 ft ravine)
(all to see the remnants of an old rollercoaster built into the side of the incline)
(where we found a tree growing on a tree, but no luck on the cache this time)
(and safely, thankfully, made our way back down to our picnic area!)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Save Water! Shower with a Friend!

Water conservation always starts at home.  Each minute you spend in the shower uses 5-10 gallons of water.  So here are some tips to help green up your clean up time!
1. Shower with a friend! The little ladies and I usually all shower together. We try to keep it under 15 minutes and I think that's pretty good when you divide it by three.  Someone rinses while someone soaps and the preschooler usually just plays in the bottom with her water toys.

2.  If you are up to it, try a "navy shower." Talk about your water saver! The concept is simple: hop in, get wet, turn the water off, soap up, turn the water back on, rinse off, turn the water back off. I think that it's a perfect way to shower in the heat of summer, but in the thick of winter, I'll take a steady stream!  Which ties into #3...

3. When taking a regular shower, use a bucket to collect the water running as you wait for it to heat up. We all do it - let the water run until it reaches a nice hot temp and then (and only then!) hop on in the shower.  You can then use this water to fill the toilet tank, water plants, wash dishes, etc.

4. Upgrade your shower head to a low-flow model. You should be able to find one for under $40.

5. And lastly - take shorter showers.  A four minute shower uses approximately 20-40 gallons of water.  A 20 minute shower uses up to 200 gallons of water! Yikes!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

From Trash to Treasure!

In our neck of the woods we've been under a serious spring thaw.  That means that we can start hunting for beach glass again.  What started out as just picking up some pretty frosted glass on the beach has turned into an all out hunt for the rarest of colors.
I never realized the history that beach glass holds and that the colors represent different time periods and different types of bottles and glass containers. 
The common colors of brown, white, and green are prolific. We have jars and jars of them. But it's the rarer colors of red, blue, purple, orange and black that we are after this summer.
Wikipedia summaries it so well that I'm just going to quote from them: "Sea glass is one of a very few cases of a valuable item being created from the actions of the environment on man-made litter."  The shards are tossed against the water, rocks, and sand until they becomes frosted and their rough edges smoothed.
"Rare and extremely rare colors include gray, pink (often from Great Depression era plates), teal (often from Mateus wine bottles), black (older, very dark olive green glass), yellow (often from 1930s Vaseline containers), turquoise (from tableware and art glass), red (often from car tail lights, dinnerware or from nautical lights, it is found once in about every 5,000 pieces), and orange (the least common type of sea glass, found once in about 10,000 pieces).
These colors are found once for every 1,000 to 10,000 pieces collected. Some shards of black glass are quite old, originating from thick eighteenth-century gin, beer and wine bottles."
We found pieces of red, purple, lavender, and black
on our Lake Erie shores.
I am on the hunt for orange or yellow this summer!

(yes, princess dress & galoshes - spring hadn't totally sprung yet
and it was only about 45 degrees out!)
(rare sea glass chart borrowed from