Monday, March 31, 2008

My First Composting Efforts

I've half-heartedly considered composting for a while, but the idea comes on strong when I have a babyfood making day. I generally make Marlee's food in huge batches for freezing, and I end up with a huge batch of produce scraps as well. For one reason or another, I haven't composted before. I made some new entrees for the babe yesterday and realized that it was probably my last batch...and the last time I would have a heap of carrot peels, leak stalks, potato skins, and cauliflower "trunks" begging me not to put them down the disposal. So I gathered them up, now what?

After a bit of research, I've decided that the easiest way for me to start is to turn an old trashcan into a compost barrel. I'm going to drill some holes in it for air and fill it with leaves from my yard and the produce scraps from yesterday.

This whole thing is totally foreign to me, so I'm hoping to teach as I learn...are you all along for the ride?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Get Crafty...Repurpose!

A weekend challenge for everyone:

Turn something you would normally throw away into something useful! Email pictures to me at, and I'll post them all on Monday.

We'll use the comment section to vote, and I'll send the winner a great prize: A cute reusable tote bag!

Have Fun!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Hey, Who Turned Off the Lights?!

Join cities across the world- including Chicago, Toronto, Manila, Bangkok, Copenhagen, Melbourne and Tel Aviv- in an hour of conservation.

This Saturday, March 29th, from 8pm to 9pm, the World Wildlife Fund is sponsoring Earth Hour 2008. For one hour, people across the world will turn off their lights in a "
symbolic gesture to remind us that we all share the responsibility of global warming."

If you sign up on the Earth Hour website, you'll receive lots of additional tips.

I'm in!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Don't Throw the Water Out with the Bathwater

As I've mentioned, I love to take baths. Really long, hot, turn-my-skin-red baths. It's something that, for my sanity's sake, I'm just not ready to give up. Instead of letting all of that perfectly good water go down the drain, I scoop it up by the bucketful and water houseplants and outdoor plants. I use what's left to pre-rinse any of MJ' stained clothes instead of running them under the tap.

Don't forget that water is recyclable too!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Shark Steam Mop

I never thought I could give up my Sw1ffer, but I love love love my Shark Steam Mop. It takes regular tap water and turns it into a deep cleaning, germ killing steam in about 30 seconds. I don't have to use any harsh chemicals, and my floors are clean and sanitized. It's safe on most floors, including tile, hardwood, and bamboo.

I love to conduct my own private infomercials to test products :). I cleaned my kitchen floor first with my Sw1ffer, then with my steam mop. Here's the result. Their slogan is, "The proof is on the pad"...I'd say so! It's amazing on sticky messes. The mop comes with two microfiber pads. When dirty, I just toss it in the basket with my kitchen cloths and machine wash.

I'd really like to get rid of all the carpet in my house. This mop makes me feel like my floors are truly clean, something I just can't get with carpet.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Grocery Bags

For the longest time, I didn't really think twice about plastic grocery bags. I repurposed a lot of them and recycled what was left. A few months ago, on a Monday, I took all the bags I had to Marlee's former daycare, where they use them to send soiled clothes home. That week, I made two trips to Super T@rget for groceries and miscellaneous other household stuff. On Sunday, the cabinet where I stored bags seemed awfully full. So I counted-41 bags! I didn't even buy that much, but several items were bagged alone and heavy things were double bagged. I decided then and there that I was done with plastic bags. The next day, I bought 16 reusable bags. They're strong, and the "paper bag" shape is easier to pack full of groceries. I also like the long handles which I can sling over my shoulder, making the bags easier to carry. My decision was reinforced that same week when my recycling man saw me outside and told me that he had to pull the bags out of my bin each week because Georgia doesn't recycle them.

Go and get yourself some reusable shopping bags. A popular brand is GreenSak, but I got mine for just 89 cents each at the supermarket. Some stores, like WholeFoods and Trader Joe's, even offer a discount if you bring your own bags. The don't even have to be purchased from that store-- WF still gave me my 5 cents off per bag even though my bags have "Publix" written on them. Keep them in the car so you'll remember to bring them to the store. So far, this has been the hardest part for me. I love that Trader Joe's has a giant banner outside the store that reads, "Don't forget your bags!"

I also decline bags often at the mall. If I have a diaper bag with me or have made one purchase, I just put other things I buy in that bag if possible.

Click here to read more about the cost of free plastic bags.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Instead of a Tip Today...

I've added the fable at the right of the page. It seemed fitting of this blog. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Compact Fluorescent Bulbs

Here's a powerful statistic for you from

"If every American home replaced just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars.

Wow, right? What if we switched out all our lightbulbs? I have 26 in my small house alone!

Buy some compact fluorescent bulbs from Go Green Utilities for as little as $1.49 each. Sure they're a little more expensive than your standard bulb, but the impact is huge, and they last (almost) forever!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Cloth Diapering

I know what you're thinking, but don't scoff until you've done some research. Today's cute dipes aren't your mama's cloth diapers! When Michael first mentioned the idea after reading it in a magazine, I told him he was nuts. I thought he was kidding. I realized he meant it, so I did a little digging. There are lots of options out there, and we settled on BumGenius One Size. I love that they'll grow with Marlee until she's potty trained, and we can even use them if we ever have two kids in diapers.

They're really no more work than disposables. Just 3 extra loads of laundry per week (don't even try the water argument...I'll win ;)).

Changing a Disposable vs Changing a Cloth

1. Open old diaper Open old diaper
2. Clean the tush Clean the tush
3. Wrap wipe in old diaper Wrap (cloth) wipe in old diaper
4. Put on new diaper Put on new diaper
5. Thow old one in diaper pail Throw old on in diaper pail (flush solids if needed)
6. When full, take out to trash When full, wash and reuse!

My top five reasons for loving cloth diapers:

5. Better for snugglin': They're soft, comfy, and super cute
4. Better for the wallet: $250 for multiple kids v. over $1500 for one kid in 'sposies
3. Better for the Earth: fewer diapers in landfills, eco-friendly production
2. Better for the bum: No Leaks, No Rash
1. Better for her health: No harmful chemicals against my baby's tush!

MJ is Cute and Comfy in Cloth

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Paper Towels **Updated**

It seemed fitting to start the blog by sharing the easiest change I've made so more paper towels. We went through an insane amount of paper towels in my house. I'd buy the jumbo pack, and it was gone before I knew it. I switched to recycled paper towels. They're lousy. They only contain a small percentage of recycled paper, and they don't absorb worth a lick, so you actually use more. When I finished my last roll, I went to Target and bought a pack of 30 white washcloths for $9.99. I folded them in half and put them in a cute basket by my sink. On top of the fridge is another basket for the dirties. They don't take up much space and just get tossed in with my regular load of towels. In addition to an eco-friendly change, it's cheaper, and they work better. Why did I ever use paper towels?

**Pictures? Why didn't I think of that?!

clean cloths in basket on right side of sink

dirty ones in basket on top of fridge