We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow the earth from our
-Native American Proverb
We have been treating the Earth like we don't live on it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Other End?

Where do I start? I don't kow if I will ever make it back here before Christmas. My days are so full right now I can't tell morning from night. I want to write so badly but I can't. My blog takes last place after laundry, meals, dusting, running to football, running to cheerleading, vacuuming, and whatever else busy moms do with their time (just read my last post.)

This is frustrating because I worked hard to get my blog where it is and then it seems like I have left it. I didn't, really. I even have a blog theme going right with Save Green while Being Green. And I can't even spend time for that. I am so sorry.

So keep using your canvas shopping bags instead of plastic. And drink from the sink. (Hey, when I get time I think I will make a banner that says that.) I will be back in due time. In the mean time there are some great blogs on my right margin you can explore if you have not already.

Be Green.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Week with Busy

I know there are times I am sporadic in writting posts but this week has been my worst so far. Since last Friday I have not had a chance to breathe let alone get on my computer to do anything.

Last Friday I started to feel sick. In true me nature I fought it. Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday I woke up with headache and sore body. This morning nothing! Just tired from my busy schedule. I won! If I just pump myself with lots of veggies and fruits, a multivitamin, some green tea and don't stress over things I make it through.

This has been the busiest week I can remember in my recent history.

  • Sunday- football and cheer game about 70 miles away, then it was my daughter's birthday so we took her to buy a bike and lunch. Did I mention the game started at 9 AM and we are required to get my son there 2 hours early and we live 1 1/2 hours away from the football field (we travel a bit for this league). You do the math on what time I woke up that morning. Hint: it was still VERY dark outside.
  • Monday- Plan for special Girl Scout meeting that happens on Tuesday. I wanted to dress like a mad scientist and have my house be a lab. Upload all 192 photos I took at football game and send to 50 parents (still not complete). Prep clothes and items to give to Salvation Army, which means I have to clean out my kids bedrooms of old toys and clothing. And football and cheer practice that night.
  • Tuesday- The Halloween Girl Scout meeting at my house. Had to go buy a pretend lab coat and some decor. Set up my house like a lab with bottles of fake bugs and a human hand and darken the house. The girls loved it! We did experiments with static electricity and vinegar and baking soda (don't ever mix those while your cleaning). Football and cheer practice that night.
  • Wednesdays- Right now I am tired. And hopefully not sick. BUT my right eye has been tearing since I woke up, pink eye? I have never had it. But can't stop now! I have to finish what I started at the beginning of the week. At 11 am I am suppose to help my friend at the kids' school with Jump Rope for Heart. My daughter has a school musical tonight and cheer practice that she will be late to. And I need to do laundry, I have no pants to wear.
  • Thursday- Oh, the fun does not stop today. I have to plan a Halloween haunted house for our Cub Scout meeting tonight. I do have the props for the Girl Scout meeting so I am mostly there. And my son has football practice tonight.
  • Friday- normally I veg today. But, no, my daughter has a birthday party to go to at the movie theatre. High School Musical 3! I will be staying home with my son. Hopefully I can sit down but I know the house will be a mess and dinner will need to be made. Oh, I forgot I help with math now in my son's classroom on Friday mornings.
  • Saturday- Don't let the fun stop now. Football game in the morning. Then Girl Scout overnighter that night at the mall. Rollin' in the fun times and no sleep.
  • Sunday- Cheer competition. Yes, no sleep the night before for me or my daughter and she has competition. Actually, at her age, 8, they don't compete but they perform and they like to have us there bright and early. You ask why I did a sleep over the night before? Well, I didn't plan it that way. Originally the cheer competition was Saturday and we would have gone to the overnighter after. But the league changed to the date on us.

I don't normally stay this busy year round. This time of year everything converges-football, cheer, scouts, birthdays, and holidays. And you still need to make sure great wholesome meals are on the table, the house is clean and everyone washes their hands a lot to avoid getting sick. And I need to shave my legs! All you working moms, I applaud you for getting through busy days and weeks.

I am not looking for sympathy. I just wanted you to know where I have been and why.

So I apologize for no posts this week. See you on the other end...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

GSG: Brew Your Own

I am uber busy today. I have so much to do my head is spinning. So I was going to just come in and say have a nice, green day see you tomorrow. But before I did that I checked on Robin's blog and had the most pleasant surprise this week. She wrote about brewing your own coffee. How perfect for me! It is a great follow up to my post from yesterday, Eat at Home.

Robin has a great story about brewing coffee at home and how much it saves money and the environment. She mentions buying fair trade coffee and organic milk to put in it. I would have written the same post except I use Silk Creamer in my coffee. (I wish they sold it in more enviro-friendly containers but I needed to give up my non dairy creamer and this is where life took me.)

Don't like coffee? I'm sure you are brewing your own tea at home. Just don't forget to look for the same great green standards you would with anything else you eat. Look for fair trade, organic, loose-not in bags and try to find it local, well, at least a local seller.

Have fun today. I am off to walk my dog and plan for my cub scout meeting I have this afternoon.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

GSG: Eat at Home

(My local meal from this summer.)

We all know eating at home saves you money, that is the given here. We also know eating at home, with your loved ones, promotes family togetherness. And we all know that it is healthier, if you don't fry everything you eat and bring lots of veggies to the table. But greener? Is it really greener to eat at home. Yes.

Having your meals at home is a lot greener than eating out. Let's start with the basics.
  • Less air pollution. You don't have to drive to the restaurant. But, you say, I have to drive to the grocery store. Yes you do but you can do multiple meal shopping while there.
  • You have more opportunity to choose organic, fair trade or local. More and more restaurants are providing greener options but not like your local grocery store is. For instance, I like to go to Panera Bread for lunch at times. They offer organic peanut butter and organic milk for the kids to eat but my meal is not. But if I eat something similar at home I can bring home an organic salad with homemade soup made from organic vegetables.
  • Less waste. This mostly applies to fast food where you are served on disposable containers. At home we can eat on reusable glass plates and glasses. And cook in them also.
  • Less pollutants. This can cover so many areas I don't think I can list them all. But one that comes to mind is your cookware. If you cook without Teflon, say glass baking dishes or cast iron, you know your kitchen is environmentally friendly. But what does your favorite restaurant cook with? Who knows. Maybe we should ask.
  • And lastly, you have better portion control thus not wasting food. How many of you eat half of a hamburger at a restaurant and just leave it there to be thrown out? I am guilty of that sometimes. This is wasteful on many levels. But if you eat at home you can have half a burger and refrigerate the rest for tomorrow. I know, you can bring food home in a doggy bag. One, better bring your reusable container to do that. And two, who really brings home a full hamburger and then eats the mushy lettuce and soggy bread later? At home you can easily store everything separate and eat non-soggy leftovers later.

I know I probably missed a lot of reasons eating at home is just generally better than eating out but you can add those in the comments. I think my readers got the idea.

Oh, one more thing, eating at home does not include delivery. That is more expensive and is still non-green. So make your own pizza with the kids.

Monday, October 13, 2008

GSG: Do Buy This

In a previous post I talked about the best thing you can do to be green and save some green is to just don't buy things you don't need. But what if you do need something, like furniture. Buy used, eh, previously owned.

Buying used not only saves you money but it also saves the environment. How you ask? Buying used saves new resources from being cultivated like trees or metals. No need to cut down new trees or mine for new metals to make anything. Also, it takes a lot of energy to make new stuff. Much of the energy in the United States is produced by burning coal (which was mined, destroying the earth to leave it barren) and this pollutes our air and soil. The used item is just being recycled to a new owner.

Here is a list of items that you can buy from someone else at a much cheaper price and what I have learned about them.

  • Books. My favorite thing to buy used. It is easy to buy even from Amazon but you can find used books all over the Internet, just Google search it. Caution: When ordering the book request homes that do not smoke or maybe have animals, the smell will travel with the book.
  • Clothes. This can be fun. You can find name brands for less than a quarter of its original price. Search for Goodwill stores, thrift stores or even consignment shops. Caution: Same as books. Also check the item for discoloration, missing buttons, rips etc.
  • Housewares. Cast iron pans are environmentally great and if the previous owner took good care of the pan and seasoned it well you have a jewel in your kitchen. You can also find glassware for cooking or eating, jars for preserving, cloth napkins, blankets. You name, you can find it.
  • Furniture. This can save you a lot of money. I have not personally bought used furniture except for small pieces like a lamp or book shelf but always look for the same quality you would look for in a new piece. And again check for smells. Garage sales are great for finding these deals. Caution: When buying mattresses and couches or anything with a filling try to buy from someone you know and/or trust. These items can bring mold or microorganisms into your home. And sometimes bedbugs.
  • Vehicles. If you have the cash this can save you a load of green. The original hybrids are now selling used at great prices. Beware of smog regulations for older cars and outdated cars can be huge smoggers. Loans on used cars tend to have a higher interest rate so you end up with paying the same amount you would with a new car in the end; go in with cash. I have not had the pleasure of owning a used car because my knowledge of cars is very limited but if you have that knowledge go for it.
  • House. I can say we bought a "used" house. We know this saves trees and building materials because new homes are not produced using pristine resources, but how does this save money? When my family was in the market for a house the new and used were about the same price, it seems you pay for the neighborhood and the homes features. BUT we saved our money by not having to landscape and get window coverings. Those are huge! Our home was not very old when we bought it so our immediate costs and short term costs were minimized. Over the years we had to replace a water heater and paint but you do that for any house that you live in long term. (Not to mention we scoped out the neighbors that were already established and we loved them, and still do. In new neighborhoods you have no clue to who your neighbors will be.)
  • Other things to get used: your bike, kids' toys (classic wooden ones are great or electronic ones work just fine), plants or trees (sometimes people relandscape and if they take the plant out properly you can snag these for free), appliances (watch for energy saving and cleanliness)
  • Things maybe you should not buy used: underwear (yuck), pillows or hats or stuffed animals (may have lice, unless you know how to get rid of this problem, I just avoid them), old computer software (usually outdated, but if you don't mind then buy it)

Remember to always check the item, thoroughly. Are there leaks, rips, smells or discoloring?

Buy here: EBay, Craiglist, PaperbackSwap, consignment shops, thrift stores, garage sales, estate sales or just search the internet.

Do you have any other ideas? What is your story?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Finds: Found Myself in Books This Week

I'm at a loss for words this morning. I am computered out. And frankly tired of hearing about our weakening economy. To cope and not worry so much I have lost myself in books.
I am reading The Secret Life of Bees. I started it because the movie will be released soon and I want to try to read the book before the release. I never do that. I mean read books. I read blogs and internet articles but rarely novels.

I am about half way through and it is a great story. It takes place in South Carolina, 1964. The author does a wonderful job of describing the South during a time of Civil Rights upheaval but manages to keep the tone positive and the intertwined stories interesting while using the beautiful imagery of bees.

As if that is not enough I almost finished with The Girl's Guide to Starting Your Own Business. Yes, I am looking into starting a business. The economy is throwing a wrench in it but I am in the research part of starting so I still have some time for the economy to strengthen. I won't tell you what I want to do just yet, some day.

Anyway, this book is awesome. The author's take a bland subject and makes it fun. It addresses serious business with a girlfriend's advice. I love it!

And lastly, I was at the book store yesterday and found this materpiece. I went against all my green morals and bought a new book. I had to have it. I usually go to the book store to get lists of books I like then go home and order them used online. But this book wanted me to take it home.

I haven't started it yet. Actually, it is not a novel. It is a "how to" book. The whole book is hand written, even the copyright page.

Keri Smith, the author, seems to trully be an "color outside of the lines" girl. I am looking forward to exploring this book and exploring my word through different eyes.

How to Be An Explorer of Your World:

p. 5 Keri Smith

1. Always be looking. (Notice the ground beneath your feet.)
2. Consider everything alive and animated.
3. Everything is interesting. Look closer.

It goes on for 10 more. You gotta get the book to read the rest.

Have a green weekend.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

GSG: Bank Online

I know talking about banks is a sore subject right now but overall banking online is still safe, easy, cheap and green.

I have been banking online for many years now and I truly love it! I check my balance, pay my bills and have even paid my dentist with online banking. It actually makes dealing with my bills fun. Just kidding but it is faster and easier. Here is why you save money and time with online banking with personal accounts:

  • Most banks offer free access to your accounts, checking and savings.
  • They also offer free bill pay.
  • You save stamps. I pretty much only buy stamps at Christmas time for sending greeting cards to friends and family.
  • You save time. Once all your accounts are entered all it takes is a click to pay them. No more check writing and mailing.

But how does this save the environment?

  • No more checks, envelopes, and stamps. Saves paper. Thus saves trees. (Some bills may require the bank to send a check to them but many institutions have set up electronic bill pay accounts with banks.)
  • The check doesn't have to travel to its destination. Saves gas. Thus less air pollution.
  • You can ask your bank to stop sending paper statements and you can view them online.. Saves trees. Some of your creditors and utility companies have started this practice also, call or go online to find out more.

If you are worried about the security of the online banking call your bank to find out what steps they take to secure your money and information. I have done online banking for over 10 years now and not one negative incident has occurred. Knock on wood, now I have cursed myself, ha ha.

Online banking is easy. Try it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

GSG: Turn Off the Lights

(Image snagged from Treehugger.com, go read.)

There are so many ways to save on your electric bill and the environment that I could write for days on the subject. And if you are an avid green blog reader you already know what to do. If you don't here is a helpful source for you at Mr. Electricity.

What I found was it is so easy to do everyday saving for the planet and your bill with the appliances you already have at home. Turn them off or down. Over this last summer I turned up my A/C and saved an average of $150/month. I asked if I could compare my bill to my neighbors' bill. Her electric bill in August was over $300 and mine was $160. I could have done better, and I will next year. I also turned off lamps in rooms I wasn't using at the moment, shut down my computer at night, kept curtains closed. and washed with cold water. The biggest energy hogs in my house are the KIDS. They leave lights on everywhere. I had to follow them around, and still do, to turn off lights. It is tiring work. I even let my hair air dry to avoid the hairdryer. (This is huge for me, hee hee.)

Simple solutions. I wish I could go solar but money is tight so we won't be buying any solar panels at the moment. I also tried to convince hubby to look into electric companies that use alternative, cleaner sources of energy and he wasn't ready for that yet. So I did what I could to help my pocketbook and the planet.

San Francisco

(Diego Rivera "Vendedor de Flores", SFMOMA)

Yesterday my Green Saving Green post was never accomplished. Instead I took a sporadic trip with my daughter to San Francisco. My husband took my son fishing so I wanted to take advantage of the time alone with my daughter and make it a "chick" day. We took BART into "The City" (in the Bay Area you call SF "The City") to enjoy some free tourism. On the first Tuesday of every month certain museums offer free admission so we went to the Museum of Cartoon Art and the SF Museum of Modern Art. I thought my almost 8 year old daughter would be bored but she loved the museums! We looked at originals drawings of Casper, Snow White and Richie Rich. Then at the SFMOMA we "discussed" how the art made us feel and whether or not we could paint like that. She thought it was funny when I called the pigeons there "city pigeons" and how they were tougher than our pigeons at home. (We live about 50 miles east of SF in a more rural community with some farming but mostly comprised of families that have mom or dad commute.) We really enjoyed ourselves.

(City pigeon)

I will write my entry for Green Saves Green and it will appear later today.

You know, I have been thinking, next month I am going to change up my blog just a little. I am going to start blogging a little more about my life, not just my green life. I seem to have hit a plateau with green writing and doing. I can go more extreme green and I constantly work on that but it seems to be a slow process, too slow for blogging. So I may start writing about other things because I am not just striving to be greener I have other hopes and dreams too. And I would love to share them with my blog friends.

P.S. My kids are on a fall break for 2 weeks.

Monday, October 6, 2008

GSG: Tapping the Tap

When it comes to drinking water we have many options but the cheapest and greenest one is your tap! Yes, the good ol' kitchen sink. The most convenient, accessable and cheapest way to get water.

When I was a kid I drank out of the backyard hose in Los Angeles. Yes, L.A. water, the horror! But I am still alive. (And I think I have no brain defects, ha ha.) Actually it tasted a little metallic but as a kid you stop for nothing when fun play is involved. No pee breaks and no water breaks. So why has this changed? Many people today will not drink tap or hose water. Study after study has proven our tap water in the United States is above standard.
Is it the taste? Put a lemon sliver in your glass or use a filter. ( A filter is still less money and less plastic than a plastic water bottle.)
Was it the advent of bottled water? Yes, this water does taste better but I have read that the regulations governing tap water are more stringent that bottled water regulations.
Is it convenience? Yes, it is more convenient to grab that bottle of water when on the go. But honestly, how long does it take to fill a reusable container? A minute? And convenience costs more. A simple 16 ounce bottle of water costs about $1, no big deal right? A glass of water costs pennies. Yes, you have to buy the container it goes into but those last years. Over time the cost for the container will make up for the hundreds of plastic bottles you buy during the same time period.
If you are green you will stop the plastic insanity and buy a reusable water container. They are beginning to look cool too! Be the first mom on the soccer field with it, you will be so cool! Especially if you get a "designer" container.
And, hello? This goes for other drinks also. Coffee: brew it at home (organic, fair trade of course) and use a thermos. When out at your favorite coffee shop take your own container. Many shops will give you a discount.
I think I have ranted enough. And there is a plethora of articles to support my claims here, I have them below.

Resources and links for more info:

The Tappening- Switch to Tap Water
ReusableBags.com- Buy your water container here.

Friday, October 3, 2008

***Go Mitch, Go- Please read and pass this on***

I just happen upon a blog today and prompted me to write one more simple post for today.

I am a lucky mom. I get to stay home with my children of almost 8 and 10. They are healthy and smart and loving.

If you are a mom or just have someone you love deeply imagine losing him or her. That is what happen to a mom, Tracy, I just read about. She lost her son at 10 years old to Leukemia. Her story has touched me and I want to pass on this story to my readers. What makes this story beautiful is her friend at JenX67 has agreed to donate $1 for every original comment made here to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in the name of Mitch. Take 1 minute to help the Go Mitch, Go fund.

JenX67 "Go Mitch, Go"- to comment so she can donate another $1

Have a great day.

Friday Finds: GSG

I am going to take a break until Monday for my Green Saves Green posts. And I haven't done my Friday Finds for a while. Call me lazy and busy, I'm sorry.

But today I will stay with my October theme and I found blogs that posted about being green and saving money.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

GSG: Don't Buy That!

(I stole this picture from ShirtWoot.com.)

I have a secret. Don't tell anyone! It is the ultimate secret to being green and, wow, it saves a bundle of cash! Here it is: don't buy what you don't need. Simple isn't it? Logically green. If you don't buy crap, and I mean useless crap, you won't need to throw it out and it won't end up in a land fill. And if we stop buying what we don't need the raw resources and energy it takes to make crap is lessened. Thus, Green. Don't buy a new purse just because it is fall, buy a good quality one that is eco-friendly because you need it. Do you really need a new car? Sofa? Shoes? Twinkies? Come on ladies, our rear ends don't need Twinkies (sorry Hostess). That also applies to the air conditioning (read Robin's take on this), turn up that thermostat and sweat just a little more. Before I buy something I always think, "do we need this to live and be healthy?" You will be surprised how many times the answer is no.

Oh, don't get me wrong, I enjoy Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Ice Cream every once in a while. And, yes, I do buy things on occasion if I don't need them but I take care of it after and I don't abuse what I consider a privilege of today's standards. If it were 100 years ago many of the modern conveniences we have were not around and people survived. Change the way you think and life will uncomplicate itself and you'll find you are a greener, happier person. And have more in the bank (or under the mattress these days, hee hee.)

Ok, you bought crap. And you need to remedy yourself of it. Don't throw it out if it is still viable. Give it away, yardsale it, trade it or freecycle it. Here are resources you can use to get rid of your crap:

And you can also buy from any of these locations. I found a great Limited Too jacket at Goodwill for my daughter and you can't tell anyone wore it. That helps to keep items out of landfills and no new resources are needed in the creating of these items.

Don't forget your new reusable bag when you shop!

How do you refrain from buying useless stuff? Do you have a favorite place to buy "recycled" clothing? Have you joined a challenge to buy nothing on another blog?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Green Saves Green-BYOB

Good Day! October is a great month to review what is green that saves you green, money that is. The weather is changing and the stock market is looking pretty bad so let's see what we can do to not only save money but the environment as well.

Robin has started off our journey with a great green term, stewardship. Her post today rings true for all of us in that we need to take care of our earth and our money.

With that in mind I am going to talk about my favorite way to save money and the environment. Back in April 2008 (yes, barely this year) I was tooling around the internet and discovering all these nifty ways to be green. I was amazed at how much more I could do besides just recycle and throw trash in the garbage. Thus I started my new quest in life to be as green as possible to myself and my environment. I started reading bloggers like Life Less Plastic and Fake Plastic Fish and these women inspired me to review my plastic usage. One simple way to curb the use of plastic was to BYOB. No, not your own beer! Your own BAG!

I had been practicing this concept for many years before I read about this with some very sturdy canvas bags I bought for 20 cents when Montgomery Ward went out of business. But I would only use them when I would remember (almost never) or when it was convenient for me (not embarrassing). So I decided to make it convenient and not embarrassing and left them in my car all the time.

Soon it was a no brainer. Safeway, Target, Trader Joes, Goodwill, Farmer's Market, wherever I shop I take my bags. Since then I have expanded my bag army to include ones that fit in my purse (above), Trader Joe bags and my favorite "Plastic Bags Blow" bag (below). Not only that but the kids get reusable lunch bags and I buy the best purse so I only need one for years (there are purses made of seat belts now, awesome!). I have actually had the clerk take my food out of the plastic bag and use mine. So what, he should have listened when I said, " I have my own bags." And the clerk at Kohl's gave me the funniest look when I handed her my bag. But I bet I was the topic of conversation with her friends that day. The word gets out in any way. I have gotten to the point where I don't like the feel of plastic anything-bags, cups etc.

Why should you take your own bag? Duh!? Because plastic bags kill animals. They pollute. They are toxic when breaking down. They are ugly. They produce toxins when made. You can read a little at ReusableBags.com (and buy a bag while you're there.)

So how do plastic bags save you green? One, many grocery stores will give you 3-5 cents back per bag you use. Not much, I know. Two, is an indirect answer. Retailers have to buy those plastic bags that everyone uses. They just pass the cost to you. If everyone started to bring their own bags that cost could be minimized. BYOB saves in clean up costs around the world. And it saves in animals lives. Not to mention, to clean up the animals is not free either. Many times saving animals is run by volunteers but where do they get the tools to clean the animals? They have to buy them or they are donated, both cost money. So you may not see the savings directly in your pocket book but you will see it in a more beautiful world.

P.S. While you are shopping for that perfect bag, look for recycled and organic materials made where labor laws are good and local.
(I do not get any money from ReusableBags.com, I just like them.)