Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Holidays

This month has been absolutely insane.  I did want to check in with my readers though to let you know, I"m still here and the blog isn't going away any time soon.  It's been festive around here, connecting with amazing new friends I've made in Colorado these last few months.  I feel blessed to be surrounded by so much love.

In our house, we celebrate Yule as well as Christmas.  Yule is an old tradition of celebrating the birth of the sun, as it marks the beginning of the lengthening of days.  I hope to share the pictures of our merry-making once I return from my trip back east to visit family.

There is also going to be a giveaway, as well as quite a few new product reviews.  All green of course. I will continue on with my 101 project, as long as I can keep out of hibernation mode. :)

My goals for the rest of this year are simple.  To slow down, take in the love and support I feel from my friends and family, and to recharge the best I can.  This push through winter is always a hard one, and the post-holiday blues has been known to set in.  I'm looking forward to seeing my loved ones in the next couple of weeks.

What ever you celebrate, I wish you the most blessed and happiest of times.  See you in the new year!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

We're slowly getting unpacked here, and I'm getting used to the nuances of my new kitchen. The space is small, but there's lots of storage. It's definitely not a one butt kitchen like the apartment was. So, anyway, here's the plan for the week. :)

Monday: Bratwurst and rice
Tuesday: Breakfast!
Wednesday: Mac and Cheese Casserole that I'm bringing to our church fellowship dinner.
Thursday: Mushroom Alfredo
Friday: Barbeque chicken and home sliced potato fries.
Saturday: Out!!
Sunday: Still probably out ;)

Enjoy the week everyone!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Small changes for your Christmas

Having had to get rid of most of my Christmas stuff when I moved across the country earlier this year, I'm looking to make greener choices in my decorating and gift giving this year. I've already decided to get a real tree, and now I need lights and other stuff. So here's a few tips I've found online that I thought I'd share with my readers about greening up Christmas this year.

So, this year here are just a few things that are on my shopping list to help me deck the halls.

1. LED Christmas lights. Of course I'm going to use any that I might have, but since I'm buying a real tree this year and only had my artificial pre-lit tree before I need new lights.

2. Present wrapping will likely be done with news paper, or paper grocery bags. I will use whatever wrapping paper I have leftover, but I can hardly think a cute little brown gift with a red bow on it won't be any less enjoyed as one with fancy paper.

3. Gifts. Last year all of my gifts were hand made. I did that for a few reasons. One, I was completely broke. Hubs had no job last year, so our budget was incredibly tight. Secondly, I think a handmade gift is better cherished then some random thing bought at the store. This year will be a blend of special things purchased and things made.

4. Don't buy what you don't need.  I'm going to do a full inventory before I begin purchase stuff to deck my halls.  Don't fall into the consumer trap and buy a whole bunch of stuff you already have.  If you have lights and don't need more, don't run out and buy LED lights.  Use what you have.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesday Hoppin

Happy Tuesday!

BWS tips button

Tuesday Tag-Along

To-the-TOP Tuesday

Linking back to:

Is your tree real or fake?

For years and years our tree has been fake.  My thinking? I buy a tree once, and I keep it and reuse it for years. So here are some pro's and con's for both to give you something to think about this year as you get your own tree up (if you do that sort of thing).

Fake Tree Pro's

1. One tree lasts for years, potentially up to 10 years or more.
2. Saves on carbon foot print from having to shop around for a tree each year.
3. If you kept said tree for 10 years, it could save you up to $300 dollars over the life of that tree.  Savings come from buying a new tree each year and the gas it costs to buy it.
4. These trees are maintenance free, no watering required.  (is that obvious?) ;)
5. Convenient.  Most artificial trees now a days come pre-lit, so no dancing around the tree stringing up lights.

Fake Tree Con's

1.  Most trees are made of petroleum based plastics, and may contain PVC, lead or other dangerous metals.
2.  Most artificial trees sold in America were made in China.
3. These factories use more energy and create more pollution to produce artificial trees then their natural counterparts.
4. Plastic artificial trees are not biodegradable and may end up sitting in landfills for hundreds of years.

Real Tree Pro's

1. Christmas Trees come from Christmas Tree farms, not forests so there is no need to worry about deforestation.
2. Tree farms provide a natural habitat for animals.
3. One acre of Christmas trees produces enough oxygen for 18 people.  With over 1 million acres in production just in the United States that provides enough oxygen for over 18 million people every day.  There's some green.
4. Christmas tree farms stabilize soil, protect water supplies and provide refuge for wildlife while creating scenic green belts. Often, Christmas trees are grown on soils that could not support other crops.
5. Christmas Trees can be recycled into mulch for your yard. Find out more about Treecycling.
6. Every state in the entire United States has Christmas Tree farms.  That makes it very likely that yours didn't travel far, unlike it's artificial counterparts that likely came from Asia.
7. Buying real Christmas Trees supports the local economy.

Real Tree Con's

1. Having to buy a new one every year.
2. They require upkeep, and must be watered daily to make sure they don't dry out and become flammable.
3. Any pesticides or herbicides used to grow the trees creates pollution.

So what kind of Christmas Tree will you put up this year?

1. Artificial Christmas Tree
2. Mom going Green
3. Real Christmas Trees

Monday, November 29, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

The kitchen is open, and I'm excited to use my new kitchen this week.  Time to restock the fridge and get back to frugal green cooking.  Here's the recipe list for this week.

Monday: Homemade Speghetti (sauce) with fresh garlic bread
Tuesday: Penne Sausage and Escarole
Wednesday: Rosemary Chicken and Taters
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Homemade Pizza
Saturday: Out
Sunday:  Roasted Tomato/Alfredo

Monday, November 15, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

This will be my last week of cooking here at this house.  Seems like I was just through this song and dance not too long ago when I moved to Colorado from Virginia.  This however looks to be our last move for a while.  I can only hope.  It's also only 5 miles away, and not 1500.  Makes a huge difference. :)

Monday: Rosemary Chicken thighs with cooked carrots and taters.
Tuesday: Mushroom Alfredo
Wednesday: Pan seared halibut in lemon caper sauce
Thursday:  Closing on the new house, OUT! :)
Friday: Homemade pizza
Saturday and Sunday: Who knows!

Going to work on getting some pie recipes out this week.  Some of my pies have been requested next week at the two Thanksgiving lunch/dinner things I'm going to so I must share the pie.

Have a great week everyone. :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

#4 BPA and you

There have been under "rumblings" about BPA, it's safety, and how it effects the human body. I'm going to share with you what I know, and my point of view on it.  I want you to know before you read any further, I don't have a science background.  So, big words and other scary descriptions won't be found in this post.

Bisphenol A, or BPA for short is found in plastic.  Commonly it is found in products baby and water bottles, sports equipment, medical and dental devices, dental fillings and sealants, eyeglass lenses, CDs and DVDs, and household electronics.  Most concerning though are baby bottles and canned goods.  Cans are lined with a plastic barrier to keep the food from the metal of the can, and the BPA can and does leach into the food. BPA has also been detected in nonstick-coated cookware, plastic wrap for food packaging, recycled food boxes and clothes treated with fire retardants (think...your kids' pajamas???).

So why should you avoid BPA?  Here are a few things that BPA has been linked to.

1.  Obesity.
2. Neurological disorders, brain structure and function, and possibly ADHD
3. Thyroid Function.
4. May be a carcinogen, and also may effect chemotherapy treatments.
5. Reproductive health issues.

At this stage in the game, I have a bad feeling that many politicians have their hands in "the cookie jar" so to speak, and are reluctant to move on any specific ban on BPA.  I know that the research has been done quietly, and new findings are quietly discovered.  However I am going to refer to an old fashioned saying;  When in doubt, throw it out!

Here are a few ways to keep yourself clear of BPA.

1. Don't get receipts.  Receipts are typically laced with BPA coated powder, and I'm sure you don't eat your receipts, but exposure is exposure.
2. Avoid canned foods.  Learn how to can your own things, or stick to fresh (if you're lucky enough to live in that kind of climate).
3. Avoid soda.  Soda comes how?  Either in plastic bottles...or CANS.  Hard to escape that one.
4. Buy water bottles that specifically say BPA free.
5. Don't buy flame resistant clothing or furniture.
6. Stay away from Teflon coated pots and pans.  Even plastic spatulas.  Stick to glass, wood, or uncoated metals.

1. Green LA Girl
2. BPA Not yet Banned
3. The Washington Post

Thursday, October 21, 2010

#4 Ditch the plastic bags

If you're one of those people who roll your eyes at the hippy who brings their own bag to the grocery store, you need to listen up.  Ever hear of the Pacific Garbage Patch?  What about the more recently discovered Atlantic Garbage Patch?

Both of these patches of trash in the ocean consist mostly of plastic debris.  Lot's of this is water bottles, and other containers that don't break down easily, but there is a lot of this that is also the simple one time use plastic bags.

Reusable bags can take up to 450 years to biodegrade!  The process of making paper bags creates more pollution then plastic.  The recycling process for plastic itself is a dirty, pollution causing process. Need to know more? Click here for 25 reasons why you shouldn't be using anything but reusable shopping bags.

There's more when it comes to the bags too.  Cheap reusable bags aren't doing you any good either.  Get yourself about 5 or so good quality bags, and never worry about them again.  I suggest Flip and Tumble or Envirosax.  My favorite cheap bag is from Ikea. I've had my 99 cent bags for YEARS! Crafty types can make their own (which I am crafty, but I haven't done that yet...I'm busy!!).

For those of you who do use them, be sure to clean them out after each use.  I also stick them right back in my car when I'm done with them.  Otherwise, I don't have them when I need them.

1. Reuse this bag
2. Reusit!
3. Altantic Garbage Patch

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

#3 Ditch the water bottle...

Recently I stumbled across this video below.  Stop wasting your money on bottled water, and get yourself a reusable BPA free travel water bottle, and fill it up with tap water.  You'll be saving the landfill, and your wallet.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

#2 Greening the laundry room

Going green in the laundry room is not only good for the environment, but it WILL save you money.  Here are some simple things you can do to lessen your impact when it comes to laundry.

1.  Wash with cold water whenever you can.  Most energy used in hot wash cycle is strictly to heat the water.  Limit your hot water usage to linens and undies and you'll be lessening your impact.

2. Don't wash your clothes after each time you wear them.  Tight fitting shirts and undies should be washed each time, however your jeans can be worn up to 4-5 times before you toss them in your dirty clothes basket.  If you live in a colder climate, you might be able to push it more.  Real Simple Magazine had a very interesting article over the summer called When to wash it.  It's an easy read, and it will put your mind at ease (I'm not totally nuts...I swear).

3. Use green laundry detergents, or better yet, make your own.  Conventional laundry detergents contain phosphates that encourage algal bloom, and damage marine life.  Look for labels that say phosphate free, plant-based, or biodegradable. One of my favorite companies out there right now is Sun and Earth.  I have tried all of their stuff, and recently had a giveaway.  If you're adventurous you can try one of the many laundry detergent recipes here.

4. Hang your clothes out to dry.  For a while I had a load a day method. I'd wash, and hang that load out to dry.  Rinse and repeat the next day.  It was so very nice.  Laundry never got overwhelming.  Now I'm in an apartment, and I can't hang my clothes to dry like I used to.  I hang some, and utilize hangers in the bathroom on the shower rod.  Where there's a will there's a way, and nothing beats the smell of outdoor dried clothes.  Even in the winter!

5.  If you must use the dryer, maximize it's usage.  Clean out the lint traps after each use, and ditch the dryer sheets.  Conventional dryer sheets often have chemicals in them such as toluene and styrene which are carcinogens.  Correction: Toluene is a carcinogen.  For more information on the harmful effects of styrene, read here. For more thoughts on dryer sheets read here.

6. Skip the dry cleaner.  Conventional dry cleaners use a chemical called perchloroethylene, or perc for short. Not only is this chemical bad for the environment, but it's bad for us too.  It's been linked to increased risks of bladder, esophageal, and cervical cancer. Also eye, nose, throat and skin irritation and even reduced fertility. Omg!

1. Top Green Laundry Tips

Tuesday Hoppin

Here's to some Tuesday blog hopping. How to Green your laundry comes later today. :)

BWS tips button

Tuesday Tag-Along

To-the-TOP Tuesday

Linking back to:

Monday, October 18, 2010

#1 The wha about light bulbs...

It's pretty common knowledge that traditional incandescent light bulbs are being phased out because of their poor energy use...I think it's common knowledge, right?  These lights are being banned throughout the world, Ireland being the first to ban them on March 1, 2009.  The EU has a scheduled ban taking place much to the chagrin of some Europeans, who are claiming it's some kind of "light bulb" socialism and they're stocking up on these outdated energy burning bulbs.

So what should the common average joe know about light bulbs so they can make the best purchase for their family and for the environment?

One option is a compact flourescent bulb, or CFL for short.  I personally find these bulbs abrasive to my poor sensitive eyes, however under a lamp shade, they're not so bad.  Each bulb costs considerably more then your traditional light bulb, however they last much longer.  There are some things you should know.  Turning them on and off frequently can shorten the life of the bulb.  The Energy Star program suggests you leave the light on a minimum of 15 minutes when you turn it on.  Another concern about these bulbs is the mercury content.  The amount of mercury is minimal (way less then our old fashioned thermometers), however these bulbs need to be disposed of properly, and precautions need to be taken to prevent them from breaking in your home.  If you use these bulbs, and don't know of a recycling center, you can look that up here at Earth 911 or here.

The last concern with fluorescent lights is something called "Short Wave Ultraviolet Light".  Each bulb releases a tiny bit of this damaging light, which is the same cancer causing light that comes from the sun.  Light bulb technology is getting better every day, and those with the brains are working hard to fix this problem.  It's way better then it used to be.  Look for plastic coated bulbs (like the kind Ikea sell) if you're concerned.

Another option for light bulbs is the Light Emitting Diode, commonly known as the LED light. These have been around a long time.  They light up the numbers in your alarm clock, microwave, and even watches.  There's a lot of complicated stuff on diodes and how these lights work, but I won't get into that.  What you should know is they are the most energy efficient of the bulbs I've discussed today.  They don't contain mercury, or UV light.  They don't burn out, but fade over time, and can last 35,000-50,000 hours.  To use these bulbs as regular light fixtures in the house is a little cutting edge, and may be more common in the next decade or so.

So what kind of light bulb are you using?


1. Lights Out
2. Gettin Around the EU Ban
3. The end of the lightbulb as we know it
4. How an LED Works
5. Why LED?

Menu Plan Monday

I think October is my favorite month.  My favorite foods are ready to harvest, the trees are beautiful, and Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.  This month has been so incredibly busy already, and I'm just happy as a clam.  I love cooked squash, carrots, parsnips, apples, spice cakes...I'm in heaven.

So here's to being green, and having a menu plan that rotates with the wheel of the year.

Monday: Apple and Sausage Pie
Tuesday: Cream of Mushroom Soup and home made bread for dipping.
Wednesday: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with bacon and pear
Thursday: Slow cooker Chili and corn bread
Friday: Home made pizza
Saturday: Leftovers or take out
Sunday: Roasted Chicken with taters and carrots.

Fun fall snacks:
1. Acorn Dough Nuts which will have my own added style of being completely home made.
2. Baked Apples with apples from my friend's tree! :)
3. Maple Butter Spiced Popcorn

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The silent week...

This week I needed a pause.  Life has been crazy, we're putting an offer on yet another house (this will be the third one!) and hopefully three times is a charm, right?  One of my close friends out here is foreclosing on her house soon.  I've been trying to help her as much as I can, yard sales, selling her jewelry (she is an amazing jewelry maker!).  I'll be adding a widget to her new etsy store this coming week on the side so you can see how awesome she is.

I've been brewing up a new project for the blog too.  Starting tomorrow, I'm going to be doing a 101 ways to go green, and I'm going to explain and simplify the tough questions some of us have when it comes to green.  What kind of lights, bags, gas, cars, food, wha?

Just to share a bit of cuteness with you, here's a photo of my girl playing the organ at my friend's yard sale.  She was such an amazing little helper, and the weather has been so nice.  

Ni Hao Y'all

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tuesday Hoppin

Doing some hopping today before I go off to can more tomatoes.  I need to do it quick before they go bad.  Pictures to come later. Have a great Tuesday everyone! :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Jessica over at Who are you calling Crabby? 

She is the winner of the massive loot from Sun and Earth.  

For those of you who didn't win this time around, please go check out their wesbite and try their stuff.  You will be glad you did. :)

Menu Plan Monday

This week began with an awesome weekend.  The fall here is amazing, and I got to have so much fun yesterday. This week I'll be house hunting still, but otherwise nothing exciting going on.  The give away ends today, so if you haven't entered, you still have a good chance of winning.

Anyway, here is the plan for the week.

Monday: Rosemary Chicken with taters and carrots
Tuesday: Grilled Shrimp on a Steeek! with rice ;)
Wednesday: Vegan Mexican Corn Salad
Thursday: Slow Cooker Chicken and dumplings
Friday: Homemade Pizza
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: Undecided :)

Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Saturday Hoppin

I'm going to be entering as many blog hops this week as I can to get the word out about my giveaway.  Who wouldn't want FREE environmentally safe house cleaners?  So much stuff, just check out the Official Giveaway page.

And of course, just follow me for the sake of the blog hop if you'd like. Hope everyone has a great day!! :)



Friday, October 1, 2010

Canning Friday!

Yesterday I got some tomatoes from a farmer's market for super cheap. I'm going to be doing some canning today, so I wanted to link back to my tomato canning post from last year. I'll be posting pictures of these organic beauties and updating my canning process.

Off to the hot humid kitchen. If you haven't signed up for my giveaway, please do! You won't want to miss this one.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wednesday Hoppin

I'm going to be entering as many blog hops this week as I can to get the word out about my giveaway.  Who wouldn't want FREE environmentally safe house cleaners?  So much stuff, just check out the Official Giveaway page.  The giveaway is currently at 18 entries, which still leaves your chances of winning very high.  You can enter up to 8 times. :)

Have a great Wednesday everyone.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dropping Sugar?

While in Florida over the weekend, I had a brief conversation with my sister in law about sugar and purging it from your body for health reasons.  She said one thing that stuck with me, sugar has a horrible impact on the environment.  Why didn't I know this??

According to the World Wildlife Fund, over 145 million tons of sugar is produced in over 120 countries each year.  It does take it's toll on the environment, especially the delicate ecosystems near the equator. The clearing of land for plantations has lead to a lack of biodiversity, and the use of pesticides has contributed to the destruction of coral reefs.

It didn't surprise me after reading some of this that my sister in law learned of this, due to the huge environmental impact of sugar in the Florida Everglades.  Pesticide runoff has caused a diverse subtropical forest to become a lifeless marshland.  I encourage you to read the WWF's report here.

So, what changes can we make as consumers to encourage more responsible sugar farming?  The first is to simply use less sugar.  It is in everything, so limiting processed foods, and cooking everything ourselves is a great start.  My biggest weakness is coffee, and my new goal will be to have it BLACK.  I currently add my organic half and half, and organic sugar to my coffee.  I'm thinking taking both of those out alone may add to weight loss, and other health benefits.  I will slowly add less and less sugar to my coffee until there is none.

You can also switch to organic sugar.  Organic sugar will have been grown without the use of pesticides, limiting water pollution.  It also is less processed, meaning there will be trace amounts of vitamins and minerals in your sugar.  There are even other sources of less processed sugar, such as Sucanat and Rapadura.  On a side note, I have yet to find an artificial sweetener that I am comfortable with.  The options in my house are organic sugar, or honey.

What do you know about the environmental impact of sugar?  What changes have you made for your health, and for the health of the environment?

Tuesday Hoppin

I'm going to be entering as many blog hops this week as I can to get the word out about my giveaway.  Who wouldn't want FREE environmentally safe house cleaners?  So much stuff, just check out the Official Giveaway page.  The giveaway is currently at 13 entries, which still leaves your chances of winning very high.

If your not interested in the giveaway, you can still just leave a comment about the blog hops and we will do our "blog hop thing."  Happy Tuesday. :)

Linking back to:

Monday, September 27, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I'm still glowing from my trip from Florida, and I'm also excited about my giveaway which currently only has 4 entries (you should really enter!). I'm dipping into one of my favorite recipe books Organically Raised by Anni Coulter this week for our recipes. At this point I've tried many of her recipes and I haven't found one that isn't amazing.

Anyway here is the plan for the week. :)

Monday:  Chicken drumsticks and Anni's sweet potato fries
Tuesday: Pan seared fish lettuce cups (my kids love lettuce tacos)
Wednesday: Roasted Salmon with potatoes and mushrooms
Thursday: Slow Cooker Cuban Braised Beef and Peppers
Friday: Home made pizza
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: Perfect Roasted Chicken

It's going to be a full week this week.  I hope you'll hop on down and enter the giveaway.  It's a good one. :)

Spreading the news

I'm going to be entering as many blog hops this week as I can to get the word out about my giveaway.  Who wouldn't want FREE environmentally safe house cleaners?  So much stuff, just check out the Official Giveaway page.

And of course, just follow me for the sake of the blog hop if you'd like. Hope everyone has a great day!! :)

The Not-So-Secret Confessions of a First Time Mom

Friday, September 24, 2010

Promoting Biodiversity - a guest post

The following is a guest post from Kori Bubnack.  TGIF!

Promoting Biodiversity 

“In other environmental issues we tell people to stop something, reduce their impact, reduce their damage,”  states US Ecologist Gary Nabhan in a recent interview. Nabhan is a ethnobotanist/gardener whose promotion of biodiversity has caught the attention of many over the years. He is known for his work in biodiversity as an ethnobotanist. Since Coming Home to Eat was published in 2001, the local food movement has ignited, causing a worldwide green epidemic.

In the past few years there has been a drastic increase in the number of organizations and businesses that have contributed to the promotion of sustainability through conservation. The Earth Day Network has been playing a large part in bringing conservationist and green enthusiasts together, sharing ideas and discussing new ways to support the planet. Other large organizations and non-profits like Doug Band and the CGI (Clinton Global Initiative) have been working on successful emission reduction projects in the San Francisco Bay area. While climate control has continued to worsen, collaborative and individual acts are vital for any successful green campaign. As human beings, we’re constantly told to reduce our carbon footprint, consume less unhealthy foods, and spend less time in the shower! But let’s take a minute to step back and look at this from a different perspective; one that Gary Nabhan strongly suggests.

According to The United Nations' Food and Agricultural Organization, about a quarter of crop diversity is left and that a dozen species now gives 90% of the animal protein eaten globally. In accordance, just 4 crop species supply half of plant based calories in the human diet.

Eating food that are home-grown, Nabhan offers, will have a greater impact on sustainability for our planet as a whole. Otherwise known as “eat what you conserve,” is a well-established theory in that by eating the fruits and vegetables that we are attempting to conserve/save, we’re promoting the granular dissemination of various plant species.

Agriculturist Marco Contiero also mentions that “biodiversity is an essential characteristic of any sustainable agricultural system, especially in the context of climate change.”[1] According to Conterio’s theory, this would suggest that as individuals we tend our own crops/plants, and should make sure to purchase localized farm products at supermarkets and groceries. In the end, this condenses export/import reliance, thus reducing our carbon footprint.

Nabhan and Contiero’s theories both rely profoundly on an action oriented approach at conservation and sustainability. With an abundance of green movements following Earth Day 2010, organizations and individuals have taken a stronger following to expert opinions like the ones demonstrated by both of these highly influential agriculturalists. Make sure, as the fall season approaches, to stop by your local farmers markets to purchase your fresh fruits and vegetables. As eco-conscious individuals, don’t hesitate either to stop the next time you drive by a yard stand with fresh crops. Promoting biodiversity and localized farming is a crucial piece of the conservation puzzle.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sun and Earth -- The Official Giveaway!

As I mentioned on Tuesday, I found a company that I am really going to enjoy. I have gotten together with Sun and Earth on Open Sky, and now I"m offering my readers a giveaway. I'm so stoked.

Here is what you will recieve, compliments of Sun and Earth:
Dishwasher Packs
 Dishwashing liquid soap
Liquid Hand soap
 Laundry Detergent
 Fabric softener
 Dryer Sheets
All purpose cleaner
On the spot instant stain remover
Concentrated Floor Cleaner
I hope I haven't left anything out!!

There are tons of ways for you to enter.  Each entry must be a separate comment to this post to be counted as an entry.

1. Follow me through Google Friend Connect.
2. Follow my facebook page.
3. Follow my twitter @greenmommas
4. Follow Sun and Earth's twitter @sunandearth
5. Visit Sun and Earth's website.
6. Enter their photo contest.
7. Leave them a message on one of their facebook pages, either fan page, group page, or user account. I found them here.
8. Create a post on your blog about this giveaway!

Good luck with your entries friends.  This is a fantastic up and coming company that I'm sure we'll here more and more about.  What great stuff!!

Giveaway ends Monday, October 4th at 10:00 pm EDT.  Winner will be chosen by a random number generator. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sun and Earth

Recently I stumbled upon a new company called Sun and Earth on Opensky.  They hit the two main marks when it comes to green cleaning products.  One, being really green and not fake green (hello greenworks), and two being affordable.  Their prices are so reasonable.

For me to put anything on my open sky store, I have to try them out first.  They sent me this amazing pack of just about everything they sell.

They have a very reasonably priced Value Pack  which is only 34 bucks, or you could buy the laundry detergent on it's own.  The laundry detergent is only ten dollars, which makes it so much cheaper then what you find at the store.  I'm really excited about this up and coming company.  I'll keep my eyes open for any other products they may offer.

Check back with me later in the week.  I'll be hosting a giveaway on all the stuff you see above here.  To see more cool stuff on my open sky store click here

Linking back to:

Monday, September 20, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

So last week I felt out of sorts, and I cured that by getting a job. I put in a few resume's last Monday, and was offered a job last week. Super fast turn around in this economy, and I couldn't be more thankful.

I'm ending the week with a quick trip to Florida for my nephew's first birthday. I hate flying in the giant winged tube o' death, but for his sweet face, I'd do just about anything. It's a short trip, leaving Friday and returning Sunday. Anyway, here's the menu for the week.

Monday: Burgers (organic free range beef) and fries
Tuesday: Spaghetti with homemade garlic bread
Wednesday: Vegetarian alphabet soup
Thursday: Mushroom Alfredo
Friday: Florida!!

Take note, because we're having beef early in the week, we will be spending the rest of the week offsetting that by being completely vegetarian. Beef has huge effects on the environment, even if it is organically raised. It is a rare RARE treat in this house.

Anyway, have a good week!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

High Fructose Corn Syrup -- the debate

This morning I ran across an article that talked about how the makers of High Fructose Corn want to change their name to Corn Sugar in hopes to shed their negative reputation.  I listen to their ads on the T.V. with disgust, it all just sounds like propaganda to me.  So, what is the truth?  Do you avoid it, or is it really fine in moderation like they say?

High Fructose Corn Syrup is a mixture of glucose and fructose which play two different roles in your body.  Glucose is a simple sugar that is transported in the blood and is used by your body for energy.  This is what diabetics test for when they test their blood sugar.

Fructose is a "fruit sugar" and is the primary carb in fruit, and honey.  It does not stimulate insulin secretion and it does not require insulin to be transported into cells like other carbs do.  This causes a problem in the body because insulin controls the hormone Leptin, which tells your body when to stop eating.  With out your body telling you to stop eating, this could lead to weight gain.

What I've noticed over the years is that it's simple to drink a can of soda.  It's gone before you know it, and you reach for another, right?  I cut out soda a couple of years ago to avoid these empty calories, however recently I've allowed myself to have one soda now and then as long as it does not have high fructose corn syrup.  What I saw is that I end up nursing it all day.  Anyone try those throw back sodas when they came out last year or so?  Too sweet for you?  How about that big piece of wedding cake?  Can you finish it with out feeling sick?  That's the signal that's missing from high fructose corn syrup, and I avoid it like the plague.

So they want to change their name to Corn Sugar?  I think that's just deceitful.  It's time for High Fructose Corn Syrup to go away.  Read your labels, it's in everything.

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I wasn't sure if I was going to post today, I've been struggling through the depression "thickness" as I call it. It's like there is resistance to everything I do, like walking through jello to get anything done. I still have no tenant in my home and we can't buy a new one with out a tenant.  I'm feeling lost with out having some kind of work in my life, and I've been going back and forth with either starting a completely new career path, or continuing the one I have been on.

I'm rambling, and this post is supposed to be about food, so here we go.  Food it is.

Here's the menu plan for this week:

Monday:  Spaghetti and Garlic Bread (leftovers)
Tuesday: Chicken Quesadillas
Wednesday: Roasted Chicken Drumsticks and Cooked Carrots
Thursday: Fish Fritters
Friday:  Out for the girl's fifth birthday

Have a great week everyone.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Reducing Stress...

As of lately I've been so stressed out.  To the point where I've been getting headaches, and having to go to bed early.  I'm sure we all know how taxing that kind of stress can be to your mental well being and to your physical health.

Today I thought I'd simply compose a list of healthy and green ways to get your blood pressure down, and help you relax.

1.  A warm cup of soothing tea.  Herbal tea, or your regular black or green tea will calm the senses.  Try adding honey to sweeten your brew, and stay away from artificial sweeteners.  An added bonus of organic teas will ease your mind that your getting healthy good relaxation.

2. Going for a walk.  Right now in Colorado the air is getting brisk.  This is certainly earlier then Virginia, but these cool brisk walks really refresh me.  I grab the dog and I go.  Sometimes it's hard to get out the door, but five minutes into it, I'm always glad I went.

3. Lunch with the girls.  Generally speaking, women need a support system.  We need our girls to listen to our worries and help carry our burdens.  We feel strengthened by our bonds with our girls, and personally I always feel a burden lifted when I've spent time with my girlfriends.  I haven't always felt this way, but with time and wisdom, I've learned what kind of people to surround myself with.  Introverted women may find this more relaxing with their one girl friend.  The key here is to know yourself.

4.  Hydrotherapy.  It's a big word, for an awesome bubble bath.  Warm water relaxes your muscles, and will definitely help bring the BP down.  Pair this with some music of your choice, and maybe some aromatherapy, and you will definitely relax.

5. Sunshine.  It's free, and it helps raise your serotonin levels, (the happy hormone).  This will help if your stressed or feeling blue.

What do you do to reduce your stress?

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

What is Gluten?

I've been curious about gluten lately because my mother has started a gluten free diet to help with her digestion issues following her chemotherapy treatments. She finished chemotherapy I believe almost 18 months ago now, however because of the location of her cancer, it has left her digestive system very delicate.

There are many reasons people choose a gluten free diet, but today I'm just going to talk about what gluten is, and why it can be an issue for some people.

So what is Gluten?  According to Wise Geek, gluten is a protein found in rye, wheat and barely.  In bread making,  gluten provides many qualities.  Gluten helps make bread elastic, or flexible, providing that chewy texture when eaten.  Gluten also keeps the gases that are released during fermentation in the dough, so the bread is able to rise before it is baked.  Gluten also firms up when it is cooked, and helps ensure the bread maintains it's proper shape.

The cross breeding of wheat has occurred for many reasons.  These reasons include high grain yield, good quality, disease and insect resistance and tolerance to stresses.  It is thought that this cross breeding is resulting in more gluten in the wheat itself, and creating more health issues like celiac disease and wheat allergies.  This hybridization is a completely unnatural process in wheat, as wheat itself has a complete flower, and can pollinate itself.  According to Wikipedia, chemical hybridizing agents are used to selectively interfere with pollen development to allow cross pollination to occur.

There is also another train of thought that it is not the Gluten that is causing the allergies and disease, but wheat lectin instead.  I will do more research on that later.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

One of a kind threads

Just before I went out of town last week, I was in touch with Erin over at One of a Kind Threads on Opensky.  I was interested in her product because it's 100% natural and it's priced so reasonably!   She sent me this little sample of her all purpose cleaner along with one of her tubs of laundry detergent.

The first thing I cleaned with the all purpose cleaner was my entire kitchen.  This effective cleaner even took on my oven top, and the inside of my microwave.  I wish I had had something like this when my children were younger.  What a great alternative to cleaning their toys with instead of products with harsh chemicals.  The scent left behind is minimal, so if you're looking for something that's going to leave a strong lingering scent, this is not for you.  Your much much larger bottle is only $11, definitely worth it.

When I opened the laundry detergent container, at first I was worried that there wasn't a scoop inside.  It was there, and it was so very tiny.  It took one tiny little scoop to do a large load of laundry.  At only $14, this laundry detergent can compete with name brands, and can say that there are no other chemicals or synthetic perfumes.  There is a light fragrance while the clothes are in the washing machine, but it doesn't remain on the clothes like conventional perfumed detergents can.  It just comes out smelling clean and wonderful.  If your interested in trying her laundry detergent you can find it here.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Getting home in the middle of the week last week left me so unorganized.  I'm glad to be able to get my menu plan back out. I've started back on my workout too.  Working out in the mornings when the hubs takes the kids to school.  Anyway, here's the menu plan for this week:

Monday: Spaghetti with home made garlic bread
Tuesday: Broccoli and Cheese Quiche
Wednesday: Chicken and Penne with tomato/basil sauce
Thursday: Breakfast! (or leftovers)
Friday: Home-made pizza
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: Out?

Recipes to come this week.  I'm focusing a bit more on vegetarian dishes since fruits and veggies are in season and delicious.  I'll be heading to the local farm to get all sorts of stuff this week.  Have a great week everyone!

Friday, August 27, 2010

I'm back!

I've been back for a few days, but I've been readjusting to the time change, jet lag, and all that.  The crazy tenants are out of my house, and clean up begins.  I did some work outside while there, but I have to replace all the carpets, and she ruined my driveway with her moving truck.  As soon as someone's moved into the house, my property manager and I are moving forward with a lawsuit.  Apparently this woman has been evicted some 16 times, she's got to be using different socials because we did a background check and these didn't come up.

Anyway, I'm going to be researching in the next few weeks about gluten free diets.  My mother experimented with it because of her own digestion issues.  Recovering from rectal cancer has made her system very delicate.  What does gluten have to do with being green?  It's the healthy eating that's green, it's the history of wheat, and the thought that gluten sensitivities and Celiac disease are on the rise due to the environment.   My own eating philosophy is driven through what is natural for us to eat.   In my family we try to base our diets along the lines of what our Western European ancestors ate.  I'm rambling. Eeek!

I also have found some awesome suppliers that Open Sky that sell green products on the cheap.  One product I've been using for about a week now and it's awesome, another is on it's way for me to try out.  Happy Friday everyone!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Out of town

I'll be flying home this morning to take care of the crazy lady who rented my house.  She hasn't paid any rent since she's been there, so she's being evicted today.  The good side of the trip is I'll get to see my parents, and some friends that I've been missing since I've moved to Colorado.

Anyway, have a fantastic weekend everyone.

-- Kim

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Crabapple Jelly

The other day I found an ad on Craigslist from a lady saying she had a bumper crabapple crop and anyone wanting to come pick was welcome to take all they could...for free!  Stoked, I e-mailed her and set up a time to come visiting.  She ended up having two trees, and I may be back to pick her tree some more.  I had considered making relish, but I settled on some spiced crab apple jelly.  Maybe settled is the wrong word, because I think this is the best jelly I've ever made.

I've never made crabapple jelly before, so I losely followed these instructions.  I needed about 8 cups of cut up crabapples.  I had to inspect every apple cut up for worms, and other yuckies.  I only kept the most perfect looking ones for the jelly.  If you maximize the picture to the left, you'll see plenty of apples that have worm holes, and bad spots.  All of those were tossed out.

I cut the apples all up and stuck them in a pot and covered them with water.  I didn't fill the pot up, only just so they were covered, and not floating.  I added a few sticks of cinnamon and a few cloves from a mulling spice blend I had and let it boil for about 15 minutes.  I went light on the spice, a little can go a long way.  Then I set up my cheese cloth and a colander.  The directions I linked said you could also use old pantyhose...I really don't recommend it.  Get cheesecloth from the grocery store.  You'll need a few layers.  I tried to get my jelly to be as clear as I could, so I didn't stir this mixture, or smash the cooked apples to get the juice out.

Here is one view of the set up I had.  I allowed the juice to just drip through the cheese cloth and into the bowl.

Here's another shot of how I drained the fruit.  If you want good and clear jelly, let it drip on it's own.  I let it sit for about an hour and a half.  The juice cooled, then I started the jelly making itself.

Add the juice back into your pot, and get the heat up going again.  I added two cups of sugar to this mixture and cooked it while I sterilized the jars.  I brought the sugar juice mixture to a rapid boil for fifteen minutes, and stirred it almost constantly while waiting.  Once the glass jars were ready, I poured them right in. I did do a freezer test to make sure the jelly got the right consistency.  I didn't use store pectin because apples naturally have so much pectin in them.  Testing for me was important because of that.

In the end I had some very pretty jars of some almost clear jelly.  I have plenty more apples to go, so I'm going to try to make some more before they go bad.  In the end, this cost me the equivalent of two cups of sugar, since the apples were free. Yay craigslist. :)

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

This week's menu has to be simple.  It's going to be an insane week.  My son starts school tomorrow, my daughter on Thursday.  I'm flying out to Virginia on Friday to evict my insane non-paying tenants. That's probably going to be a very ugly situation.  I won't be back until the following Tuesday night.

We had an awesome weekend though this passed weekend.  I took many pictures of things and I"ll be sharing with you guys some of the fun we had.  Anyway, here's our menu plan for the week.

Monday: Chicken wings and corn on the cob (can I say, hello cheap easy meal?)
Tuesday: Shrimp Alfredo with roasted garlic and tomatoes
Wednesday: Potato Cheese Casserole
Thursday: Spaghetti with home made garlic bread
Friday: Hopefully not something incredibly unhealthy, since I'll be out of town!

Have a great week everyone.  I'm going to need prayers and well wishes to get this crazy woman out of my house next weekend.  Uplifting thoughts and prayers welcomed!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Happy Birthday

Today's subject is simple: My mother.

She always walks with grace and wisdom.  Her compassionate heart leads her.

There's nothing that means more to her then her family.  For many years, she was my pillar.  My start in life was easier because I had her close to me.

She's an amazing grandmother, who gives her grandchildren all the love and spoiling they could hope for.  My kids are better people because they have her in their lives.  She is an amazing daughter to her own mother, even though she never hears it from her enough. 

Happy Birthday Mom.  You're amazing, and you deserve every bit of happiness.
Love you

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Bento Lunch Boxes

The other day at wholefoods, I broke down and bought a Bento Laptop Lunch Box.  So far, I'm super glad I did.  My son wanted a Star Wars lunch box to take to school this year since he's actually going and not staying home.  I went back and forth on this, and settled on the Bento Box.  I urged  him use his imagination a little bit, I got the black box with the red inner boxes so he can still have "dark side" colors.  I even dug  up some star wars stickers and let him decorate it himself.  He was happy.

One thing I like about this box is  it's made of plastic that is BPA free, so I don't have to worry about the chemicals that could be leaching into my son's food.  Secondly, because of all the cool little boxes that come inside the box, I don't have to add to the landfill with my ziplock baggies.  Getting rid of any disposable things is one of the most simple green things you can do.  It's easier said then done, I know.

These cool little boxes that come with it make sectioning off a healthy lunch easy.  There's even this tiny box for ketchup or candy or whatever you want to put in there.  It also came with silverware.  My son now has his very own set of silverware to take to school with him every day.

This particular set I got at wholefoods also came with a book with lunch ideas. When my son went to kindergarten, I found it so difficult to make him unique lunches every day.  Sifting through this book, I know it will help me come up with some pretty good ideas to give him unique lunches every day.

I paid about $25 for this set, and I know it's a bit pricey for a lunch box.  In my mind though, I won't be spending money on sandwich bags and plastic ware over and over again.  Its a one time cost that I think in the end will end up being cheaper.  You can purchase replacement inner containers online too.  If you don't have time to clean them every day, or if one gets tossed out accidentally you can just get what you need.

I think we're ready for school to start now.  Colorado starts so early.  He'll be in school next Tuesday. :(


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