Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A year of changes...

When I started this blog at the beginning of the year my goal was to share our experiences with others and to encourage more people in our circle and out in the world to start on their own greener path. It's been a busy year full of great experiences and many changes, here's a recap of our year:

1. We have completely switched to washing our clothes in cold water.

2. We are all using reusable bags including my husband at the grocery store. With my purchase of the Green3 bag for my purse - I always have a bag available for my other shopping.

3. We have switched all our light bulbs to CFLs.

4. We recycle everything possible! This has reduced our waste to one small bag a week.

5. We adopted our road and have cleaned it several times.

6. We have all switched to reusable water bottles.

7. We participated in 4 beach clean-ups this year.

8. We now receive all our bills online are doing our banking online - eliminating tons of wasted paper.

9. We have fostered 9 kittens for our local animal shelter. We also adopted a shelter cat who has turned out to be a loving addition to our family.

10. We have all eliminated a bad habit of brushing our teeth with the water running.

11. I have switched to all organic makeup.

12. I have participated in the local Freecycle network as both a giver and a taker.

13. We have done both a Live With Less and a Financially Free week - basically a week of buying nothing. I learned a lot from these weeks about why we buy, what we buy, how to save money, and what we really need.

14. We did a Reverse Trick-or-Treating where we passed out fair trade chocolates along with information on what fair trade is and why it is important to the houses we visited on Halloween.

15. We have adopted a new habit of unplugging items when they are not in use - eliminating phantom loads.

16. I participated in Buy Nothing Day on Black Friday, where instead of heading out with the hoards of Christmas shoppers I enjoyed the day at the beach gathering items for our Christmas decorating.

17. As a family we volunteered in many ways - we raised a guide dog puppy for Southeastern Guide Dogs who graduated and is currently working, we are currently raising another guide dog puppy, I donated 12" of my hair to Locks of Love, we donated food to the local food pantry, we headed up a food drive for the animal shelter, I've handed out reusable bags to shoppers at the grocery store, as well as many random acts of kindness.

18. Instead of sending out paper Christmas cards we sent a Smilebox greeting which everyone loved and several people were inspired to send Smilebox cards themselves.

19. We wrapped all our birthday and Christmas presents in reusable fabric gift bags we made ourselves.

20. Hopefully through our actions, gifts, store, and blog we have educated and inspired others to make some green changes in their own lives.

I think we have accomplished our goal of living our life according to Gandhi's saying - "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." Thank you for joining us on our journey this year and I hope you will continue to join us in the new year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Help Save the Rainforest

Make one of your New Year's resolutions a commitment to live your life in a way that helps save the rainforest. Making a few simple changes can make a big difference:

1. Reduce your paper and wood consumption since logging companies are cutting down some of the most endangered forests on the planet to make wood and paper products. How can you help - use both sides of each piece of paper, purchase paper with high post-consumer recycled content or tree-free paper, use your own cloth bags at the grocery store, use cloth napkins and towels, and avoid disposable paper plates and cups. When you need wood for home projects, choice reclaimed or recycled lumber or Forest Stewardship Council certified wood.

2. Reduce your oil consumption. Oil exploration is a threat to ecosystems and can result in massive deforestation. Also the burning of fossil fuels is the leading cause of global warming. When purchasing a car choose one that gets good gas mileage, carpool, use local mass transport, ride your bike or walk when possible.

3. Reduce your beef consumption as the U.S.'s demand for meat has resulted in two-thirds of Central America's rainforests being cleared.

4. Hold businesses accountable for their actions. If a company's actions are socially or environmentally irresponsible write the company to voice your concerns and let the company know you will boycott it until they change their practices.

5. Support companies that sell items that protect the rainforest. Check out

Monday, December 29, 2008


Now that Christmas is over what to do with the tree? Assuming you went the greenest route and bought a replantable tree, there are many online resources with tips to plant your tree. We personally went with live trees this year and recycled them in our curbside recycling program which turns the trees into mulch. To find out if your town recycles Christmas trees check If you used an artificial tree and aren't keeping it, donate it to a hospital, thrift store, or Freecycle it - anything to keep it out of the landfill!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Greening your Christmas Cards

If you're like me, you're torn on the whole Christmas card issue. On one hand it's a time honored tradition and on the other hand it's not very earth friendly - all the paper which rarely gets recycled, the chemicals in the photos, the gas used to transport the cards...the list goes on and on. This usually results in a yearly debate with my husband on whether or not I'm doing cards this year. In previous years I have done handmade cards with gorgeous photos of my daughter which some people still display, this does eliminate some of the waste issue but is very time consuming. Last year I rebelled and went the earth friendly route and didn't send cards - while this was better for our planet it felt like something was missing. This year I feel that I have found the perfect solution - Smilebox. Smilebox is an easy way to go green and send environmentally friendly digital photo scrapbooks with personalized messages to family & friends. There are tons of designs to choose from and customizing you scrapbook is super easy and best of all it's free. I personally upgraded our scrapbook to the premium package for just $2.99 - this allows my family & friends to watch my scrapbook free of commercials and for those who would like to have a hard copy of our scrapbook they can print the scrapbook out. To me this is the best of both worlds - no wasted paper, but for those on our Christmas list that would like to keep the photos they can. Best of all it's not to late to send your card - scrapbooks can be completed in just a few minutes and can be send via email immediately or even posted on your family's blog.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Day Without A Bag

Heal the Bay is hosting its second annual A Day Without A Bag tomorrow December 18,2008. This is an educational grassroots event coordinated by Heal the Bay that encourages businesses and individuals throughout Los Angeles County to forgo single-use, plastic shopping bags in favor of reusable bags. A Day Without a Bag focuses on education and raising consumer awareness about personal choices.

Even though I live in Florida I plan on sharing information about this event with my friends, family, and community. I personally use reusable bags every day and have given my family & friends reusable bags as gifts to encourage them to make a change in their shopping habits. Tomorrow I plan on heading to my local grocery store and handing out reusable bags to shoppers.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Driving Log

Now that gas prices have fallen drastically, have you changed your driving habits back to your gas-guzzling ways? A lot of people reduced their driving when gas was hovering around the $4 mark, now that it has dropped continue with those changes and save money and the planet. A great way to track your driving habits is to keep a driving log. It’s a great way to track where you're driving and for what purpose. Try to keep a log for one week where you note your destination, mileage, and purpose of the trip. At the end of the week, look to see if there are any trips you can combine. By planning your routes ahead of time you can run your errands more efficiently - saving gas and time.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Green your TV

Will you need to replace your television soon - or is it just hype? The switch from analog to digital broadcasts could needlessly send millions of analog sets with toxic lead-filled cathode-ray tubes to landfills. If you currently subscribe to cable or satellite service you will be fine. If you are using an antennae now to get a signal you could have a problem come February 18, 2009. If your TV was built after 2003 it may have a built-in digital tuner that will allow you to receive a signal. If your TV doesn't have a digital tuner you can purchase a converter box to receive a signal. Every household is eligible to receive two $40 coupons from the government to purchase a converter

When your old tv finally dies, avoid energy wasting plasma tvs which use more energy a year than the refrigerator - which is the largest energy user for most households. The most efficient model would be an LCD TV less than 42 inches with the Energy Star symbol. Be sure to safely recycle your old television to keep all those toxins out of the landfill, check to find a local recycling center. Remember to plug your new television into a Smart Strip which will shut down your home theater components when the television is turned off.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Delaney's Green Tips

Delaney is my 9 year old daughter and she is writing today's post about her favorite living green tips:

1. Always remember to turn off the lights when you aren't in the room.

2. Recycle cans, bottles, paper, and cardboard.

3. Buy food with less packaging.

4. When you get rid of stuff, donate what you can instead of throwing it away.

5. If you need items for craft projects, go to your local recycling center or reuse stuff you already have.

6. When you have parties don't use paper or plastic, use real silverware and plates.

7. Properly dispose of trash.

8. When you go to the beach, bring an extra bag to put trash you collect in.

9. Try using natural cleaners instead of chemical cleaners.

10. Adopt pets from animal shelters instead of purchasing them from pet shops.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Green Gift Ideas Under $35

Give a great earth friendly gift without breaking the bank. Check out my great finds for under $35:

1. Tees For Change tees - these fabulous tees are incredibly soft and sport great 2 word messages on them like breathe deeply, live simply, etc. For every shirt sold the company plants a tree. The organic cotton or bamboo tees are $32 and the tanks are $28

2. Prepare a gift basket of eco-friendly and healthy beauty products. Include some wonderful all natural soaps from Sustenance Soaps some silky lotion from Pangea Organics and some terrific cosmetics from Peacekeeper Cause-metics the first cosmetics line to give all of its after-tax distributable profits to women’s health advocacy and urgent human rights issues

3. Give the gift of green knowledge in the form of a magazine subscription. Check out Positively Green a great new magazine with wonderful tips for going green. A one year subscription is only $16.00 or for those on your gift list with kids, Kiwi magazine is great for parents trying to raise their kids a little greener and you can't beat the price of $11.95 for a year's subscription!

4. Want to give the gift of a little scandal? Check out Scent of Scandal's awesome candle line with it's great vegan soy candles with naughty little names like - Tighty Whities, Santa's Pole, and One Night Stand you are sure to find the perfect scent for everyone on your list. The company even has two candles that support organizations that work for animal rights - Farm Sanctuary and Sea Shepherd - the star of Animal Planet's new series Whale Wars.

5. Make a gift basket of little indulgences such as organic fair trade chocolate, locally grown wines, fair trade coffee, and fresh fruits from the farmer's market.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Greening the yellow pages

Here's a startling statistic - about 540 million unsolicited phonebooks arrive at American doors annually. Phonebooks account for about 660,000 tons of trash every year. With the internet, when was the last time you looked up a number in the yellow pages? Want to help save some trees and clutter around your house - remove yourself from the phone directory list at If you like receiving the yellow pages and use them, be sure to recycle your old book when you get a new one, many cities accept them in their curbside paper recycling bins. Not sure if your city recycles phone books - check

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Give the gift of time...

It's holiday shopping time again, but instead of heading to the mall why not give a different type of gift this year and help a friend or family member by sharing your time and talent. Everyone has little projects that get put off due to lack of time or the skill to complete them. Think you don't have a talent to share, check out some ideas:

1. Help someone by organizing their photos, closet, pantry, or collections.
2. Prepare some homemade meals to help stock a friend's freezer.
3. Help organize items for a garage sale.
4. Help with home decorating projects.
5. Lend a hand with any handyman projects - installing lights, cleaning gutters, lawn care, painting, etc.
6. Prepare and plant a garden.
7. Sew curtains, pillows, or perform wardrobe repairs such as hemming or sewing buttons.
8. Computer help - set up a blog or family website.
9. Help train a new puppy or attempt to teach an old dog a new trick.
10. Everyone has a special talent that friends admire them for, find out what yours is and share it with those you love.

Giving a gift of your time is green since it adds less stuff to the planet. An added benefit is that every time your friend looks at their well organized closet, they will remember the love you shared with them.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Skip the fabric softener

Ever wonder what's in fabric softeners like Downy and other major brands? Well one startling ingredient is dihydrogenated tallow dimethyl ammonium chloride - a derivative of rendered fat from cattle, sheep and horses mixed with ammonium. Gross! Fabric softeners also contain cancer-causing and neurotoxic solvents such as toluene and styrene. Looking for some greener options? Check out:

1. Earth friendly brands like - Method, Ecover or Seventh Generation

2. A cheaper and greener option - add a 1/4 or 1/2 cup of white vinegar to your laundry rinse cycle. Your clothes will be softer and static free without any vinegary smell.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Unique Green Gift

I got a great gift for my birthday that would make a unique earth friendly present for someone on your holiday shopping list - Retro 51's Bamboo Tornado pen.

This pen is fantastic - it is lightweight, beautiful, and writes like a dream. The pen barrel is solid bamboo, which despite it's hardiness is not a wood but is actually the fastest growing woody plant. The pen has a cute picture of a panda engraved on it, as bamboo is a favorite treat for pandas. In addition to its eco-friendly bamboo barrel, the pen also is refillable which is much better for the environment than disposable pens.

Despite it's great looks the best feature of the pen is when you purchase the Bamboo Tornado you are saving 250 square feet of endangered rain forest through the Arbor Day Foundation's Rain Forest Rescue Program. This great program has already saved more than two billion square feet of rain forest. Why is saving the rain forest so important? Despite the fact that the rain forest only covers 2% of the earth's surface, it is home to thousands of plant species that may help us find a cure for cancer and other diseases.

For more information on this gift that you, the recipient, and the planet can all feel good about visit

Monday, December 1, 2008

Fridge Facts

Refrigerators are the largest energy hogs in most homes, consuming about a third of the total energy used in a home. Here are some tips to improve your refrigerator's efficiency:

1. Fridges work more efficiently when they are full. If you have open space in your fridge, fill up some containers with water to help your refrigerator stay colder.

2. Store your food in glass containers. Not only is glass free from the harmful ingredients found in plastic, it helps food stay colder which helps the fridge work more efficiently.

3.Vacuum the coils twice a year since dust and pet hair make the coils work harder.

4. When planning a new kitchen or a kitchen remodel, place your refrigerator away from the oven and sunny windows to help it stay colder.

5. If your fridge was purchased before 1993, replace it with a new Energy Star model. When checking out all the great features available on new refrigerators remember, models with the freezer on the bottom or top use about 20% less than side-by-side models.

6. Remember your mother's reminder to close the refrigerator door? As usual mom is always right, the longer the fridge door is open, the more cold air you’re losing and the harder your fridge will have to work to replace it. So when getting items out of the fridge do so quickly. When putting foods away after your grocery trip instead of opening the refrigerator door multiple times, gather all the items that belong in the refrigerator together and open it up once to put everything away.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Holiday Gratitude

Looking for a way to express your gratitude for all the blessings you have experienced this year? Find a way to help in your community this holiday season. With the struggling economy we are experiencing, charities are also feeling the strain on their wallets. This week we visited the local animal shelter to drop off some food to help them feed the many animals they care for daily. Well we dropped off the food and left with 5 foster kittens. Kittens are at risk in the shelter since they are to young to be vaccinated against respiratory diseases and other diseases they may be exposed to in the shelter. We will help by administering the medicines they need, feeding them by hand to help them gain weight, and lots of TLC to make them great candidates for adoption. When they are older they will return to the shelter for their vaccines, be spayed or neutered and will be available for adoption. This is a great idea for families that are considering getting a pet, but aren't sure they are ready for the commitment or if a family member has allergies they may have outgrown - you can find out if the pet will work for you without making a permanent commitment. If you fall in love and find that perfect match for your family - wonderful, if it doesn't work out you have still helped the shelter by reducing the overcrowding they experience and hopefully helped an animal grow strong enough to find their forever family. Contact your local shelter for fostering and volunteering opportunities.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Buy Nothing Day

Avoid the madness of Black Friday and stay home and celebrate Buy Nothing Day on November 28, 2008. Instead of fighting the crowds, burning gas looking for parking spaces, and getting caught up in retailers holiday hype use the day after Thanksgiving to reflect on how your family wants to celebrate the upcoming holiday season. Ask yourself some important questions: Are the gifts you're buying worth all the time you spend working to pay for the gifts? Could you increase your family's happiness in other ways that have less of an impact on the environment? It's easy to get caught up in the holiday shopping experience and purchase items that are "a great deal" without thinking about the environmental impact and whether it is something the recipient will truly love. Spend time this Friday making a list of gifts that are earth friendly that everyone on your shopping list will love instead of at the mall and everyone will be happy especially Mother Earth.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Green Your Thanksgiving

Looking for some great ways to green your Thanksgiving while still enjoying your time with family and friends? Check out these tips for celebrating an earth friendly holiday:

1. Get information on hosting a 100-mile Thanksgiving feast at The idea of buying local to help the planet is really taking off, it was even featured on Lipstick Jungle as Wendy hosted a 100 mile Thanksgiving. Even if your entire feast can't come from the 100 mile range, strive to include as many local foods as possible. Hit your local farmer's market for farm fresh veggies, fruits, eggs, flowers and more. As always be sure to shop with your reusable bags.

2. Consider a vegetarian feast as eating meat is the largest contributor to greenhouse gases. Can't get your family on board with that, buy a small organic turkey raised free from hormones and antibiotics.

3. Give thanks to farmers who are trying to make a difference by purchasing as many organic ingredients as possible. Organics are grown free from pesticides which are harmful to people and the environment.

4. When shopping buy items with the least amount of packaging. When given a choice between items packaged in plastic or glass, remember to choose glass as it can be recycled forever.

5. Eliminate disposables. After cooking a fabulous meal, be sure to show it off with china plates, silverware, and cloth napkins. Encourage guest to bring reusable containers to bring leftovers home.

6. Decorate with items found in nature - pine cones, leaves, acorns, and other natural finds can create a festive fall display.

7. Compost food scraps. Remember that meat and dairy products can't be composted but veggies and fruits will give a great Thanksgiving feast to your compost friends.

8. While everybody loves leftovers, make sure you only cook as much food as you and your guests can reasonably eat. Creating lots of waste is never green.

9. Remember that Thanksgiving is not about a huge feast, it is a day to reflect on what we are thankful for in our lives. Share with your family and friends what you are thankful for this year. We have a thankful tree that everyone has been adding leaves to with notes about what we are thankful for - family, friends, our rescue cat, the ability to give to others and so much more. We will save our leaves to look back at in future years to remember our many blessings.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A week of giving thanks...

This week in order to give thanks for my family's blessed life we will be giving thanks in small ways every day.

Sunday - I helped raise money for charity by searching the net for info using

Monday - We will be giving away items our family no longer needs. We are donating clothes that my daughter has outgrown to Goodwill and several books my daughter no longer reads and several current magazine issues to our local library.

Tuesday - We are donating food to our local food pantry. Our local grocery store has been having great buy one get one free sales and I have been stocking up on sale items to help those in need.

Wednesday - Our local animal shelter is in desperate need of food for the many animals they care for, so we are donating food to help them out.

Thursday - We will read all the leaves my family has added to our thankful tree and discuss ways to give back to our community during the holiday season.

Friday - Instead of getting caught up in the shopping madness of the busiest shopping day of the year, we will reconnect with nature with a trip to the beach to gather items from nature to decorate for the holidays and while we're there we will clean up any trash we find.

Saturday - My family will be cleaning up our road we adopted to help keep our city clean.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sustainable Holiday Shopping

With the holiday season approaching, shop for gifts that everyone including Mother Earth will love. Choose gifts that are made from sustainable materials, recycled content, or are fair trade certified. Here are some great ideas for everyone on your shopping list:

For kids:
1. Xeko - a unique trading card game in which players learn about endangered ecosystems and the plants and animals found in these hotspots. The cards are made from recycled paper and are printed with soy based inks. To support Conservation International and their work in ecological hotspots, Xeko donates 4% of the net sales of the game.
2. Earthopoly - a Monopoly style game where players work to save the Earth. The gameboard is made of recycled paper and printed with vegetable inks. The game pieces are all natural or recyclable.
3. The Lorax - this great book was written by Dr. Seuss in 1971 and is now available in an earth-friendly version printed on recycled paper. It tells the story of the Once-ler and his destruction of the Truffula trees and is a great story to teach children about humans and their impact on the environment.
4. Gift memberships to local museums or zoos.
5. Tickets to local theatre performances.

For the home:
1. Plates and glasses made from recycled glass. My favorite recycled glass find is the great glasses made from recycled wine bottles available from Green Glass Co.
2. Give the gift of a good night's sleep with organic cotton or bamboo sheets.
3. Look for earth friendly products made from bamboo a fast growing grass that has natural antibacterial properties. Bamboo can be made into kitchen spoons, cutting boards, bowls, towels, table linens, and so much more.

Hostess Gifts:
1. Fair trade chocolates or coffee - fair trade certified items empower farmers and workers buy insuring they have safe work conditions and receive a fair wage, they use practices that protect the environment, and are taught the business skills they need to compete in the global marketplace.
2. Gift baskets filled with local produce, local wines, and homemade food items.
3. Gift certificate for a massage, green cleaning service, or homemade gift certificates for babysitting, or help with household chores.
4. Introduce a friend to the joy of journaling with a beautiful banana paper journal from Green Apple School Supply. The journals and sketch books have paper made from banana bunch stock fiber and post consumer paper which look like gorgeous handmade paper. The front of the books are adorned with beautiful sketches of animals like treefrogs and dolphins. Green Apple also sells great office supplies like pens, marker, highlighters, and rulers that are made from recycled materials

Once you have the perfect gift, wrap it in a reusable gift bag or a canvas shopping bag that can be used after the holidays.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Finding green...

Have you been finding more green in your wallet lately in the form of extra dollars? With gas prices plummeting to the $1.90 range, you have a great opportunity to save some green while living green. Almost everyone I know limited their driving when gas prices were hovering near the $4 mark, stick with your lifestyle changes and you can save money and the planet. For example, I limited my driving so I only filled up my gas tank once a week. My tank is around 12.5 gallons, so with gas prices dropping over $2 a gallon I can pocket at least an extra $25.00 a week if I stick with my reduced driving plan!! With the holidays approaching that will make buying all the great sustainable gifts on my shopping list that much easier. Do the math - how much could you be earning without changing a thing?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Buy in Bulk

When you head to the store, rethink your purchases to buy in bulk. That doesn't mean you have to head to the warehouse stores to buy extra large containers of items you don't need just because they are a bargain. A bargain is only a bargain if it is an item you need and will use that saves you money. Green bulk purchasing means buying the largest size of an item that is on your shopping list. Your local grocery store will have items for sale in larger containers - think family size shampoo, or larger bottles of dish detergent or laundry detergent. How is this green? Containers and packaging make up more than 31% of all solid waste. Bulk buying uses less packaging per unit and usually saves you money in the long run. Another great bulk buying opportunity is to hit the local health food store to purchase dry goods like pasta, rice, popcorn, cereal, nuts, and more in bulk.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Calculate Your Footprint

In your mission to go green it's a good idea to find out what your current carbon footprint is so you have a starting point for your journey. What's a carbon footprint? It's your impact on the planet based on your lifestyle and daily actions. A great carbon footprint calculator can be found at It calculates your footprint by asking you questions about your home, energy use recycling habits, travel, commute and more. Along the way it gives you great hints to reduce your footprint. After it calculates your footprint, it has pledges you can take to reduce your impact on the environment. It will help you see that every small change you make in your lifestyle can have an impact on the Earth.

Friday, November 14, 2008

America Recycles Day

Tomorrow, November 15th is America Recycles Day the only day nationally recognized to encourage people to recycle, to purchase recycled products, and to pledge to improve their recycling habits.

The National Recycling Coalition strives to educate people on the importance of recycling and its positive impact on the environment through it's America Recycles Day program.

Why is recycling important?

1. By recycling you reduce the amount of waste that ends up in already overcrowded landfills.
2. Using recycled material instead of virgin materials uses less energy and conserves valuable resources. For example, five plastic soda bottles can be made into enough fiber to make one extra large T-shirt, one square foot of carpet or enough fiber to fill one ski jacket.

Interested in learning more and taking the America Recycles Day pledge, check out

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Eliminate Excess Packaging

As you begin your holiday shopping, take a good look at your purchases and try to avoid gifts with excessive packaging. Most kid's toys come packaged in plastic, with wire ties, and unnecessary cardboard. You can spend more time freeing your child's toy from it's plastic prison then your child spends playing with it! Look for the many great toys out there that limit their packaging like:

1. Xeko - a unique trading card game in which players learn about endangered ecosystems and the plants and animals found in these hotspots. The cards are made from recycled paper and are printed with soy based inks. There is no extra packaging on the games and kids can recycle the booster pack packages for Green Points.

2. Earthwise Kids - their great earth friendly books and organic tees come in a reusable jute tote

3. Check out Amazon's effort to eliminate excess packaging - "The Frustration-Free Package is recyclable and comes without excess packaging materials such as hard plastic clamshell casings, plastic bindings, and wire ties. It's designed to be opened without the use of a box cutter or knife and will protect your product just as well as traditional packaging. Products with Frustration-Free Packaging can frequently be shipped in their own boxes, without an additional shipping box." Unfortunately Amazon only currently offers 20 items in this packaging, but hopefully this is a sign of changes to come.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

10 Great Green Books

When you are looking for more great information on going green, head to your local library and check out some of these great books:

1. Go Green, Live Rich - David Bach

2. Gorgeously Green - Sophie Uliano

3. Organic Housekeeping - Ellen Sandbeck

4. Green Babies, Sage Moms - Lynda Fassa

5. Baking Soda - Vicki Lansky

6. The Naturally Clean Home - Karyn Siegel-Maier

7. It’s Easy Being Green: A Handbook for Earth-Friendly Living - Crissy Trask

8. Green Living - The E Magazine Handbook for Living Lightly on the Earth

9. Living Like Ed - Ed Begley, Jr.

10. The Everything Green Living Book - Diane Gow McDilda

Now curl up with a cup of fair trade tea and enjoy some green reading.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Phantom Loads

A phantom load is the electricity used by electronics and appliances when they are in standby mode or turned off. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 75 percent of the electric power consumed in the average home comes from appliances like VCRs, televisions, stereos, computers, and kitchen appliances when they are turned off but plugged into the wall. How can you tell if an item is using energy? If it has a clock or a glowing light it is using energy even when turned off. Preventing phantom loads is easy - get in the habit of unplugging items when not in use or plug them into a power strip you can switch off. A great power strip is the Smart Strip which has a plug for a control (ex. computer) and plugs for all the peripherals. A small electronic device inside the Smart Strip monitors the current on the computer, when the computer is finished shutting down, the Smart Strip senses the current change, automatically shutting off all of the computer peripherals. The Smart Strip can also be used for home entertainment centers, where the television can be plugged into the control plug and the components can be shut down when the television is turned off.

Friday, November 7, 2008

More Green Money Saving Tips

During the current economic crisis, you probably won't be looking at many large scale green changes such as buying a hybrid car, installing solar panels, or replacing all your old appliances with Energy Star ones. However you can make significant green changes that will actually save you money.

1. Bring your lunch in reusable packaging. Packing a lunch at home is always cheaper than eating out. You will also reduce the amount of waste you generate in the form of Styrofoam containers, plastic cutlery, paper napkins, etc. By packing your lunch in a reusable container you also save the money you would spend on sandwich baggies while reducing your waste.

2. Plan your week's meals before going shopping. By planning ahead you can research what's on sale, check for coupons, plan meals that will use up items in your pantry, and avoid waste from items that you buy and don't use up by planning multiple meals that will use the ingredients. You will also spend less at the store if you make a list and only buy items on the list to avoid impulse buys.

3. Become a smart shopper. Shopping online will save you money on gas and may help you stick to your gift list better. Buying in bulk will save you money and reduce the amount of packaging you dispose of, just make sure not to overbuy or buy an item just because it seems like a good deal. Buying items used from thrift stores, ebay, or craigslist keeps items out of landfills and reduces the production of new items while saving you money in the process.

4. Over the past few months when gas prices were at an all time high, many people changed their driving habits in order to save money. As frustrating as high gas prices are, they are actually good for the environment as people reduce their driving. Now that gas prices are thankfully lower, keep in place the changes you made and save even more money.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Go Green & Save Some Green

While the economy is in such a slump, there are many earth friendly choices that can save you money while saving the planet.

1. Hang your laundry out to dry as your dryer is the second largest energy user in your house.

2. Go vegetarian. Fruits and veggies are good for your health and bank account. Fruits and veggies average out to about 70 cents a pound whereas beef averages $4 a pound.

3. Bike to do one errand a week.

4. Make your own cleaners.

5. Think before you print - do you really need to print everything you receive on your computer? Save it electronically and save money on paper and ink.

6. Use cloth napkins and replace paper towels with cloths you can wash and reuse.

7. Carpool.

8. Support your community and shop the local farmers market, the prices are better than the local grocery store and the freshness can't be beat.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Take the Ten Mile Pledge

What is the Ten Mile Pledge? Plan to reduce your driving by ten miles each week, reducing your driving will cut approximately 500 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each year.

How to save ten miles a week:

1. Combine trips for errands.

2. Plan your meals and shop only once a week.

3. Carpool to work.

4. Make one day a month a car-free day. Slow down, spend time with your family, enjoy a good book in the hammock, enjoy time at home, run your errands on your bike.

5. Telecommute one day a week and reduce your weekly commuting miles.

Visit for more information on the ten mile pledge.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Vote Green

Today is election day, before heading to the polls be sure to research where the candidates stand on issues that are important to you. I found a great site that allows you to decide where you stand on many political issues and compare it to the candidates views - Also when comparing the candidates be sure to investigate how green they are at Use your sample ballot to research any local elections or issues that may impact your community so you can head to the polls informed and prepared to vote.

Monday, November 3, 2008

National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week

Today is the start of National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week. How can you show your support for the animal shelters and all the great work that they do?

1. Donate money or much needed supplies to your local shelter. To find your local shelter visit

2. Foster animals waiting to be adopted to help ease the overcrowding at the shelters and to help the animals up for adoption be more comfortable in home settings.

3. Donate your time - many shelters need help with dog walking or training. Dogs that are leash trained and have good manners are more likely to be adopted.

4. Donate your skills to help the shelter - they may need clerical help, photographers, help with websites for adoptions, or help with fundraising events.

5. Speak out for animals and support organizations that help protect animal rights.

6. Don't buy animals from pet stores or irresponsible breeders, save an animal's life by adopting your new friend from the shelter.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Improve Your Gas Mileage

With gas prices so high, improving your car's gas mileage is not only good for the environment it's good for your wallet. Here are some easy tips to help you out:

1. Make sure your tires are properly inflated.

2. Empty out your trunk, carrying around excess weight will increase your fuel consumption.

3. Follow your car's maintenance schedule. Proper maintenance will keep your car running efficiently.

4. Go the speed limit.

5. Avoid idling, if you are going to be waiting in your car for more than a minute, shut the car off.

6. When driving remember to practice patience as aggressive driving uses more fuel. By avoiding sudden starts or stops you will see significant fuel savings.

7. Save fuel by combining errands and planning your trips to avoid unnecessary driving.

8. Try to reduce the amount of driving you do, by choosing to bike or walk for short trips.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Green Your Halloween

Halloween can be scary with all the toxic face paint, huge amounts of candy, plastic masks, and more. This year try to green your Halloween.

1. Buy your organic pumpkin at a farmers market. Pumpkins are grown with a lot of pesticides and end up taking a lot of space in the landfill after the holiday. Try something different this year and paint your pumpkin with non-toxic paint so you can still use it for a pie after roasting the delicious seeds. If you do decide to carve your pumpkin be sure to compost it after Halloween.

2. When trick-or-treating walk in your neighborhood instead of driving.

3. Make your own costume and avoid using face paint (check your make up at

4. Light soy candles scented with essential oils rather than synthetic chemicals.

5. When choosing treats to give out avoid the artificial colors, flavors, and dyes found in traditional candy. Instead hand out fair trade chocolate from Equal Exchange or Sweet Earth Organic Chocolates, Yummy Earth Lollipops which are vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, contain 100% natural colors, and are certified organic, or check out Clif bars new mini bar – Spooky S'Mores which have a Halloween wrapper. Or you could always hand out goodies like crayons, coloring books, stickers, or coins.

6. When out trick or treating be sure to use a reusable bag. The Reuse bag by 3G comes in a great orange color perfect for trick or treating. After Halloween put the bag back into it's handy purse size bag and toss it in your purse so you'll always have a bag handy - it's bright orange color will make it easy to find!

7. Give the houses you visit a treat - fair trade chocolate. Equal Exchange is sponsoring a Reverse-Trick-Or-Treating event where you hand out an informational card on fair trade chocolate with a yummy piece of chocolate attached. For more information check out

For more great information on greening your Halloween check out

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Be a mooch...

A Book Mooch that is - I found this great website recently and needed to share it. is a great site that allows you trade books with others. I listed books that I am willing to trade just 3 days ago and I already received my first book! The site is super easy to use - list the books you want to trade, receive requests for your books, mail the books and earn points so you can mooch books you want. What a great way to keep books out of landfills while keeping your bookshelves fresh.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Should you preheat your oven?

As the holiday season rolls around, many people increase the use of their home's oven. Most recipes will call for you to preheat the oven, but is this step really necessary? Preheating the oven uses a lot of energy to heat up a small amount of air which then escapes when you open the door to put your food in. When older recipes were developed, wood & coal ovens were slow to heat, therefore preheating made sense to our ancestors and early cookbook authors. With modern electrical or natural gas ovens, preheating may save some cook time but wastes a lot of energy in the process. When cooking remember these energy saving tips:

1. Don't preheat your oven.
2. While your food is cooking avoid opening the oven door to peek at your food.
3. Cover your pots when boiling water.
4. Consider turning off your oven a short time before the food is done. With the door closed, it will retain the heat.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Green Your Weekend

If you are like most people, your weekend is full of household projects and chores. This weekend tackle those chores with an earth friendly approach.

1. When you wash your car, avoid letting your dirty, soapy water head for the storm drains. The water that enters the storm drain is deposited directly into our lakes, rivers and streams, untreated. If you must wash your car at home, park it on the lawn so that the water can be cleaned by the grass. If your car just needs a light cleaning, a better alternative would be using a spray-on “waterless” car wash - you just spray the eco-friendly formula onto the car, and wipe off with no wasted water. For a really dirty car your best bet is a commericial car wash. Although it seems like they use a lot of water, they actually use less than you will at home and most of the water they use is recycled. Any runoff is sent to the sewage system for treatment, keeping the suds out of our waterways.

2. Laundry time! Remember wash only full loads in cold water with an eco-friendly detergent and hang your clothes to dry on the clothesline.

3. When working in the yard, be sure to use earth friendly methods - natural pest control, hand weedin instead of toxic sprays, and composting. To really minimize your impact on the enviroment consider a push reel mower - no gas needed and zero emissions.

4. Consider cooking meals in bulk for the upcoming week which will save you money.
Head to the nearby farmer’s market for the freshest ingredients available, reducing the distance your food travels cuts the energy used for shipping. If possible, buy organic, you will reducing the pesticides you ingest and will reduce your foods impact on the Earth. Go vegetarian or at least eat less meat, especially corn-fed beef, which takes a lot of water to produce. At the store, buy in bulk to reduce the amount of packaging. Once you've cooked up all your delicious food, remember to bring your lunch to school or work in an earth friendly container.

5. After all this hard work, be sure to relax in the hammock with a good book from the library - a great green & free resource!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Plastics - Know Your Numbers

While you should limit your plastic use, it is impractical to eliminate all plastics from your life. When given a choice at the grocery store - opt for items sold in glass containers versus plastic as glass can be recycled over and over. When you must choose plastic check the underside of the container for the number that tells what type of plastic is in that product.

Safe to use and recycle:

#1 - PET or PETE (polyethylene terephthalate) thin clear plastic use for bottled water, cooking oil, etc. Safe for one use, but don't refill or heat.

#2 - HDPE (high density polyethylene) thicker opaque plastic used for milk jugs, juice bottles, and detergents. Safe to refill and reuse.

#4 LDPE (low-density polyethylene) found in soft plastics such as grocery bags and plastic wraps

#5 PP (polypropylene) hard but flexible plastic used in ice cream, yogurt, and take out containers

Use with caution:

#7 Other - this code is a mix of plastics - only use containers labeled as bio-based (corn, potato, or sugar cane)


#3 PVC (polyvinyl chloride) - many contain phthalates, which are suspected endocrine-disrupting chemicals often used to wrap meats and cheeses

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Plastic - not fantastic

Most kitchens are full of plastic products - plastic baggies, plastic wrap, reusable containers, and plastic shopping bags. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics hurt the environment during their manufacturing, they can leach dangerous chemicals into food as the plastic degrades through heating or over time,and end up filling the landfills for years to come.

Making safer choices:

1. When microwaving foods, choose glass or ceramic containers instead of plastic.

2. Replace plastic wrap with wax paper for covering foods while microwaving.

3. Pack lunches using reusable sandwich wraps like Wrap-N-Mats or using the Laptop Lunch system.

4. Pack snacks in unbleached wax paper bags or reusable fabric bags.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

5 Minute Earth-Friendly Changes

There is so much info out there about going green, at times it can be a little overwhelming. Start small with some simple changes that will make a difference for the environment and your bank account.

1. Lower your thermostat in the winter and raise it in the summer.

2.Turn off lights when you leave the room.

3.Unplug appliances, cell phone chargers, DVD players and other "phantom loads" when you are not using them. Phantom loads are items that use energy while in the instant-on mode - if it has a clock or a glowing light it is using energy. It is estimated that, 75% of the electricity used to run home electronics is consumed while the products are off.

4. Switch your old incandescent bulbs to compact flourescent lamps (CFLs). CFLs last 10 times longer, use a quarter less energy, and give off 90% less heat.

5. Improve your indoor air quality - the EPA states that indoor air quality can be more polluted than outdoor air. Furniture, flooring, paints, and adhesives offgas VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Look for low or no VOC choices which are now widely available.

6. Weatherproof your home - attach rubber sweeps to the bottom of doors, apply low-VOC caulk to cracks in window and doorframes, insulate outlets and light switches with inexpensive foam gaskets.

7. Conserve water. Install a low-flow showerhead and shorten your shower time. Check toilets for leaks, only run the dishwasher and washing machine when they are full, install aerators on your faucets.

8. Replace your air conditioner or furnace filter monthly. Also look for reusable filters that can be cleaned which reduces waste.

9. Lower the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees and insulate your hot-water storage tank.

10. Switch from using hot water in your washing machine to cold water and use half the energy.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Water Saving Tips

Looking for some ways to reduce your family's water usage? Here are some easy ways to save on your water bill and to reduce your family's environmental impact.

1. Reduce your current shower time by one minute. The average shower head has a flow rate of 5 to 8 gallons per minute. Time your shower for a few days, then subtract a minute to come up with your goal time. If you shower every day, you’ll easily save a thousand gallons a year by cutting the time you run the water by just 60 seconds.

2. Locate and repair silent toilet leaks. Worn hardware can easily leak several gallons per day. Put some dark food coloring in your tank, if you notice color in the bowl within 15 minutes, you have a leak.

3. Water lawns on demand, not on schedule. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 30 percent of all household water consumption is used outdoors. Of this, up to 50 percent is simply wasted due to wind, evaporation, broken irrigation systems — and overwatering. Check your lawn instead of automatically watering it. Here’s a quick test: step on a patch of grass. If it springs back, it doesn’t need watering. Planting with native grasses and plants will reduce your need to water.

4. Turn off the faucet while you brush your teeth. Running water while you brush, sends 5 to 8 gallons of fresh water straight down the drain.

5. When washing dishes use an Energy star rated machine and make sure you only run it when it is full. If you wash dishes by hand don't let the water run while rinsing.

Want more great water saving tips? Check out -

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Waste Free Lunches

Now that school is back in swing, it's time to look at your child's lunch box and it's impact on the environment. Many typical lunch boxes contain a lot of waste in the form of single serving packages, juice boxes, and plastic baggies. It has been estimated that on average a school-age child using a disposable lunch generates 67 pounds of waste per school year. That equates to 18,760 pounds of lunch waste for just one average-size elementary school. How can you pack a waste free lunch? Start with your lunch box - check out Laptop Lunch systems The Laptop Lunches are a lunch system which feature great containers that all fit together to help you pack a healthy lunch. By using the container system, you can reduce the waste of single serving packages and can save money by buying in larger packages. Instead of putting your sandwich in a plastic baggie, check out Wrap-N-Mats a reusable sandwich wrap and placemat in one. Put your child's juice or water in a reusable stainless steel bottle instead of packing a plastic water bottle or juicebox.

Want to make a bigger impact on the environment? Check out ways to encourage your child's school or your workplace to go waste free at

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Fall Spice Pancakes

Despite the high temperatures outside, I was in a fall mood this morning and whipped up some pancakes reminiscent of a crisp fall day.

Fall Spice Pancakes

1 cup organic whole wheat flour
1 cup organic unbleached flour
3 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 cups soy milk
3 Tbsp. canola oil
2 tsp. vanilla

In a bowl, combine flours, baking powder, salt, spices, and brown sugar. In another bowl, combine soy milk, canola oil, and vanilla; stir into dry ingredients. Pour 2 Tbsp. of batter onto griddle preheated to 350 and cook until batter bubbles and pancakes begin to brown around edges. Flip and cook 2 minutes more. Enjoy!

Monday, September 15, 2008

How to Recycle (almost) Anything...

Try to make your garbage can the last resort for items you no longer need. Hopefully you are already recycling the big 3 - newspaper, cans, and bottles. But what about the other stuff?

1. Check with your city's waste management department about what exactly your town recycles - our town also recycles office paper, magazines, and paperboard (cereal boxes, cracker boxes, etc.)

2. To recycle your computer give it to a local non-profit organization after cleaning the hard drive or if it no longer works see if your town accepts computers for hazardous waste recycling.

3. Many organizations accept cell phones for recycling including schools and charities.

4. Recycle printer ink cartridges at Staples or Office Depot.

5. Recycle old clothes at Goodwill or the Salvation Army.

6. Most counties host a hazardous waste disposal events where you can recycle batteries, paint, household chemicals, motor oil. etc.

7. When you recycle plastic bottles, the caps are thrown away. However, now Aveda has come up with a way to recycle them into shampoo and conditioner bottles. Recycle your caps at your local Aveda store - for more info check out

8. Freecycle it - your trash could be someone else's treasure. Check out

9. Still have questions on how to recycle something? Check it will tell you what and where you can recycle based on your zip code

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Lush Goes Naked

Several employees at Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics stores around the country went naked last week to get the message out: packaging is a waste. Staff wore white aprons with the words "Ask me why I'm naked" as part of a promotion to draw attention to the fact that the store's bath and beauty products largely come free of packaging. Lush has many products formulated into bars, cakes or balls which can be sold without packaging. Some products are cut from a large cake and sold by weight. Lush sells solid shampoos, solid bubble bath, soap without packaging, and even massage oil bars. According to literature from Lush, packaging contributed to 2 percent of overall greenhouse gases and plastic uses 8 percent of the world's oil resources. The U.S. consumes 79.6 million tons of packaging a year, with more than half sitting in landfills.

So do you need to shop naked to help the Earth? No, but remember the naked idea when shopping.

1. Don't buy produce on foam trays wrapped in plastic wrap, instead buy bulk produce that you put in a reusable produce bag.

2. Try to buy more bulk items - this can reduce the amount of packaging.

3. Look for products that have more than one job, especially cleaning products, this will eliminate excess bottles or better yet make your own cleaning products.

4. Eliminate plastic water bottles from your house - switch to a reusable bottle.

5. When packing your child's lunch, avoid single serving packs which generate a lot of waste - instead buy a large package and put food in a reusable container in your child's lunch.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Cinnamon Citrus Pancakes

Cinnamon Citrus Pancakes

1/2 cup organic whole wheat flour
1/2 cup organic unbleached flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. evaporated cane juice
1 1/2 tsp. Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 2 Tbsp. warm water (or 1 egg)
1 cup orange juice
1 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice

In a bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and evaporated cane juice. In another bowl, combine egg replacer mix, orange juice, water, canola oil, and lemon juice; stir into dry ingredients. Pour 2 Tbsp. of batter onto griddle preheated to 350 and cook until batter bubbles and pancakes begin to brown around edges. Flip and cook 2 minutes more. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What to buy organic

As food prices continue to climb, you may be wondering which organic products are worth splurging on. The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit association that tracks pesticide residue levels has a list to help you on your next shopping trip.

1. Fruits: Buy organic when buying apples, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, blueberries, imported grapes and other fruits without a peel. Save money, and opt for conventional bananas, oranges, lemon and other fruits with thick peels.

2. Vegetables: Buy organic when you're buying spinach, lettuce and leafy greens, bell peppers, potatoes, and carrots. Buy conventional broccoli, asparagus, frozen corn, sweet peas, avocados, and onions as these tend to have lower levels of pesticide residue.

3. Milk & Dairy: Buy organic milk and other dairy products. Organic milk comes from cows that are given pesticide-free organic feed or graze on pesticide-free land.

4. Meat & Poultry: If you can afford it, splurge on organic meat. Buying organic poultry may not be worth it, because the USDA requires that chickens must have access to the outdoors, but doesn't control how much access is necessary for each bird.

5. Seafood. Never spend extra for organic seafood, as there are no standards for organic seafood.

6. Grains: Save some money by buying conventional grains, breads, pastas, chips and similar products. The real benefits of organic products come from fresh foods, since grains are processed they lose much of their organic value anyway.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Reusable Shopping Bags

Fortunately for the environment, more people are using reusable bags instead of plastic bags when they head to the grocery store. Natural food stores like Trader Joes and Whole Foods have been selling great reusable bags for years and now most mainstream grocery chains such as Publix, Walmart, and Target have joined the cause with inexpensive bags available at the checkout. I know a lot of people who are great at remembering to bring their bags when they are grocery shopping, but still end up with a bunch of plastic bags from the craft store, mall, drugstore, etc. Until you train your brain to remember a reusable bag every time you shop at any store, I have found the perfect solution - the Reuse Bag from 3G. The Reuse bag is larger than a standard plastic bag but folds up into a great carrying case that you can throw in your purse. The Reuse bag even has a clip that you can use to attach the bag to your keychain and at the low price of $5 a bag you can through a few in your purse for your next shopping spree.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Party For the Planet

Usually hosting a party means generating a lot of waste. Next time you have friends over, be sure to entertain with the earth in mind. Some simple steps can reduce waste and may even save you money!

1. Shop local - hit your farmers market for fresh ingredients with a low carbon footprint.

2. Instead of fresh cut flowers, decorate with native potted plants that can be planted after the event.

3. Send E-vites or use recycled-paper invites.

4. Opt for products with minimal packaging - reducing the amount of processed foods you buy helps the environment and saves you money.

5. Don't waste food - be creative with leftover food or talk to a local shelter ahead of time to see if they accept food donations.

6. Avoid using paper products, by using reusable dinnerware and cloth napkins you are being kind to the planet and your wallet.

7. Recycle - be sure to make it easy for your guests to recycle cans and bottles by setting a recycling bin near the trash can.

8. When attending a party bring a hostess gift that shows your commitment to helping the earth like a plant, or an organic wine in a reusable fabric gift bag.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Rise Above Plastics

We vacationed at the beach this weekend and were reminded of the growing problem of plastics on our beaches... bottles, bottle caps, straws, bags, toys, toothbrushes, etc. The problem with plastics is that they never biograde, virtually every piece of plastic that has ever been made still exists. According to marine researcher and Surfrider Foundation activist Captain Charlie Moore, in certain areas of the ocean the amount of plastic particles in the water outnumber plankton six-to-one. Once in the ocean, plastics can be mistaken for food by marine animals. Over one million sea birds and hundred thousand marine mammals die each year from ingestion of or entanglement in plastics. Surfrider Foundation launched a new educational program called Rise Above Plastics (RAP) to educate the public on the impact plastics have on marine environments, and how to make changes in their daily lives and within their communities that will reduce the flow of plastics into the environment. The program calls upon people to reduce their plastic footprint by reducing or eliminating their use of single-use water bottles and single-use plastic grocery bags and when they need to use plastics to be sure to recycle them. Visit for more information and take the Rise Above Plastics Pledge:

I pledge to rise above plastics and reduce the amount of plastic waste I generate on a daily basis by doing one or more of the following:
Stop using single-use plastic grocery bags and use reusable bags instead
Use a refillable bottle instead of buying single-use plastic water bottles
Buy products with the least amount of packaging
Pick up at least one piece of trash or litter of the ground every day

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Eco- friendly Sunscreen

Did you know that each year over 100,000 tons of manmade chemicals are used in so called "natural" cosmetics? Another frightening statistic - you can absorb up to 60% of any substance applied to your skin. Most women absorb up to 2 kg. of chemicals through their skin each year. In the case of sunscreen not only can it be dangerous to your health - it can be dangerous to the ocean's health. An unexpected danger from sunscreen use is that it may be harming coral reefs and fish. Sunscreen from beachgoers and snorkelers washes off into the ocean and causes UV ray interference to the corals, leading to viral infections and coral bleaching. Scientists have found fish off the coast of California that have had ovarian tissue growing in their testes. They believe that oxybenzone (a main ingredient in many conventional sunscreens) is responsible. Other dangerous chemicals to look out for include octinoxate, diethanolamine (DEA), and parabens The best choice is a sunscreen containing naturally occurring zinc oxide. Some great choices are Caribbean Sol Soleo Organics and California Baby

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Easy Green Tips

Going green can seem overwhelming to some, but there are some simple steps you can take to go green and save some green.

1.Buy less stuff - by buying less you reduce the materials and resources used to manufacture, package, and ship items and reduce the amount of items that end up in the landfill

2. Save water - fix leaks in your home, take shorter showers, turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth, water your lawn in the morning to reduce evaporation.

3. Conserve electricity - turn off the lights when you leave a room, switch to compact fluorescent bulbs, shut down computers and printers at night, replace your air conditioner filter monthly, hang clothes on a clothesline to dry.

4. Save oil - drive less, switch to non-petroleum based cleaners and paints, choose products with less packaging, give up bottled water.

5. Recycle your belongings - use Freecycle or Craig's List to get rid unwanted items, donate to thrift stores, host a clothes swap with friends, donate books to the library or local nursing home.

Monday, August 11, 2008

5 tips for a greener school year...

It's that time again - time for the kids to head back to school or in our case start homeschooling again after a month's break. This year be sure to make green choices while back to school shopping.

1. Buy recycled paper, notebooks, and binders. Target has a great line that is produced with post consumer waste paper called greenroom eco and Staples has a line of paper products that are made from sugarcane instead of trees.

2. Buy a PVC-free backpack. Look for one without the recycle symbol #3 or the letter V both mean it contains PVC which has been linked to cancer.

3. When packing lunches check out some of the great options for earth friendly lunches like Wrap-N-Mat reusable sandwich wraps or Laptop Lunch - a lunch system which features great containers that all fit together to help you pack a healthy lunch.

4. Recycle old crayons. Make your own fun shaped crayons with candy molds or send your crayons to Crazy Crayons to be recycled.

5. Make greener choices with office supplies - buy paper clips made from recycled metal, use refillable pens & pencils, and buy a staple free stapler - it cuts a small flap and a notch in the paper, then it folds the flap back into the notch which keeps the paper stuck together.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Radioactive Countertops?

A report released recently found that granite countertops often contain uranium and are emitting serious amounts of radon into many homes. Sound crazy? Well here's a quick geology lesson - the earth's crust contains minerals which emit small amounts of radiation. Uranium deposits, are often found at the boundaries between igneous rocks, such as granite and other layers of rock. As uranium decays, it emits radon gas. Rice University physics professor Dr. W.J. Llope found that some granite countertops contain high levels of uranium, which releases radiation and radon gas that can cause cancer. Llope tested 55 stones of 25 varieties of granite purchased from local dealers and found some homeowners would be exposed to 100 millirems of radiation in just a few months, exceeding the annual exposure limit set by the Department of Energy for visitors to nuclear labs. In a document published on his website, Llope said there is no safe threshold for radiation and the general guideline is that each rem of radiation would cause cancer in 4 people in a population of 10,000. Some granite countertops he tested released one rem of radiation in just 250 hours or 10 days. Do you need to rip out your granite countertops? Not necessarily, you are exposed to radiation from many sources - TVs, x-rays, flying in a commercial jet, etc. That being said, no radiation is good radiation, especially when you have young kids around. Llope recommends that homeowners who have granite countertops in their homes keep their windows open at least for half a day every few weeks to dilute the indoor radon concentration. If you are planning a remodel or choosing new counters for your home, consider the many eco-friendly, safe countertop options that are now available. Check out,,, and other great choices like bamboo and recycled aluminum.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Greener Lunch Options

As back to school time approaches, be sure to make green choices for your kid's lunches this year. Using plastic bags for sandwiches and other lunchtime goodies can have a major impact on the environment. Plastic bags are the most dangerous type of litter found in the ocean, when they float on the surface they are mistaken for jellyfish and are ingested by sea turtles and other marine life.

So what are safer options? For sandwiches check out Wrap-N-Mat reusable sandwich wraps which double as placemats - For the other goodies, use reusable plastic containers, just make sure the plastics you choose are BPA free. For a great lunchbox system, check out Laptop Lunches the lunch system comes with containers that are lead, phthalate, and BPA free and they fit perfectly in the lunchbox - no more searching for a container that fits!. For drinks be sure to use a reusable stainless steel or aluminum bottle.

As far as greener choices for the lunch itself - be sure to pack healthy fruits and veggies from the farmers market or the organic section at the grocery store. Try making some delicious wraps made with whole wheat tortillas or even leftovers can make a delicious lunch.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Food Drive to help animals in the local shelter

In order to give back to the community, my shop is co-sponsoring with Pawsatively Dapper a pet food drive to help feed the dogs and cats at the local shelter. The area shelters are taking in a large number of unwanted pets and stray animals, especially kittens. They need the support of the community to help care for all the animals up for adoption. Our family recently fostered a family of young kittens to help ease the overcrowding at the shelter. By raising the kittens at our house until they were old enough to be adopted, the kittens stayed healthier, learned to interact with people, and eased the burden on the shelter to feed the kittens. It was a great experience for our family and when we returned the kittens to be adopted we adopted an older cat for our family. The employees at the shelter have the very difficult job of dealing with all the unwanted animals in our community, but are always friendly and helpful, they are truly amazing individuals. Please help us support the shelter by dropping off pet food donations at the store located at 528 East New Haven in Downtown Melbourne.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Exciting News

Sorry I haven't been writing lately, but life has been crazy around here and for good reason - I opened a green boutique. Since writing this blog I have encountered so many people who are interested in living greener, but can't find all the great green products locally. I have been so busy getting the shop ready, I haven't had a moment to blog, but now that I am open I will be writing more. The shop is located in Downtown Melbourne in a historic building. My neighbors are a yoga studio and a holistic healing center, so I am in good company. In the remodel of the shop, which was once offices, we reused a lot of materials that would have ended up in the dumpster. All the display pieces are recycled from my house, thrift store finds, or garage sale items reducing the shop's environmental impact. The store and displays are painted with low-VOC paints and we used a biodegradable low odor adhesive remover to restore the terrazzo floors which had been carpeted over. The store is stocked with my favorite earth friendly products and some great new finds. I am working on the store's website and hope to launch it soon. While I will profile some of the great products I have found on the blog, it will not be a series of commercials for the store. If you are in the neighborhood, stop by the shop & say hi - Chartreuse Life 528 E. New Haven Ave. Melbourne, FL 32901.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Environmental Movie?

My daughter and I went to see the new Pixar movie Wall-E last week and we loved it! It was a thought provoking movie that addresses the way we treat our planet while telling a cute story. In the movie,Wall-E is a trash-collecting robot left on the abandoned Earth. Humans have been forced to leave the Earth 700 years earlier and live on large spacecraft reminiscent of a cruise ship. The humans no longer walk but ride in space chairs while constantly watching video monitors and consuming food. Wall-E falls in love with Eve a robot sent to Earth to search for signs of life. The story tells of Wall-E and Eve's adventures and exposes the problems with the humans' new way of life.
Unfortunately while the message of the movie is a very important one - we must change our way of living in order for life to survive on the Earth, the marketing of this movie will add to the trash on this Earth. When we purchased our tickets we were given a Wall-E watch wrapped in plastic with several advertisements for another Disney movie. I'm sure the watch will probably break in a month and end up in a landfill - wise up Pixar and be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pancakes

After several weekends away, we are home on a Sunday to enjoy homemade pancakes.

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pancakes

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tsp. Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 4 Tbsp. warm water (or 2 eggs)
1 1/2 cups soy milk
1 Tbsp. vanilla

In a bowl, combine flours, baking powder, cinnamon, and brown sugar. In another bowl, combine egg replacer mix, soy milk, and vanilla; stir into dry ingredients. Pour 2 Tbsp. of batter onto griddle preheated to 350 and cook until batter bubbles and pancakes begin to brown around edges. Flip and cook 2 minutes more. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Adopt A Shelter Cat Month

Since June is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month, we did our part to help and adopted a wonderful cat from the local animal shelter. Our family cat recently passed away and we were missing the cuddles and purrs that a cat brings to your life. When we first visited the shelter, we were disheartened to see the large number of animals that have ended up without homes. After speaking to a wonderful volunteer we agreed to foster 4 precious kittens until they could be offered for adoption. This was a wonderful experience for our family. When we returned the kittens to the shelter, our family fell in love with an adorable and friendly 8 month old kitten named Shane. Shane had been at the shelter for 3 months and time was running out for him. He is adapting well to our home and is so sweet and loves to cuddle. He is a wonderful addition to our family and is happy to have found his forever home. So please remember - the next time you decide to add a pet to your family, check the local shelter first. If you are unable to adopt a pet you can help the shelter out by fostering animals short term, spaying or neutering your pet, donating food, volunteering your time, or donating money.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Citrus Blueberry Pancakes

Today for Father's Day we used fresh blueberries - my husband's favorite in our pancakes and added a fresh twist with citrus juice.

Citrus Blueberry Pancakes

1/2 cup organic unbleached flour
1/2 cup organic whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. evaporated cane juice
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 2 Tbsp. warm water
3/4 cup soy milk
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. orange juice
1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Combine flours, salt, sugar, and baking powder in bowl. Whisk egg replacer powder and warm water together; add milk, oil,lemon juice and orange juice. Slowly stir liquid mixture into dry ingredients and mix completely. Pour 2 Tbsp. of batter onto griddle preheated to 350, sprinkle with blueberries and cook until batter bubbles and pancakes begin to brown around edges. Flip and cook 2 minutes more. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Conserving Gas

As gas prices continue to climb, people are looking for ways to reduce their gas consumption. A positive aspect of high gas prices is that as people reduce their gas use they are also reducing their carbon footprint. This means that by looking for ways to stretch their gas budget, people that don't consider themselves "green" may actually be living a greener life.
Here are some ideas to help you out:

1. Ride your bike to work. By riding your bike you will save money while improving your health and depending on where you live - you may even get to work faster. In this year's Great NYC Commuter Race, which is a race between a bike, a car, and the subway to see which is the fastest commute - the biker won again.

2. Carpool. Carpooling reduces the number of cars on the road and splitting the ride and it's cost saves you money.

3. Plan your errands better. Plan your trips to include all your errands in that part of town instead of driving all over town several times a day.

4. Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Properly inflated tires improve gas mileage by about 3%, and save up to 7 cents per gallon.

5. For short trips, walk instead of driving.

In an effort to reduce our gas consumption, my family is using all the above tips. Our two big changes, my husband is biking the short distance to his work and since I work farther away and am typically traveling with my 8 year old daughter - I am carpooling.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Green & Frugal

Going green can also save you some green - as in money! While some green products may cost more, some green choices are definite money-saving ideas as well. One star of the frugal lifestyle, Amy Dacyczyn, author of the Tightwad Gazette says, "I realized that economy and ecology are like two circles that overlap about 90%. The remaining 10% is the area where doing the right thing for the environment costs more...but having successfully blended the areas of economy and ecology in the 90% area, we have found that we now have some surplus money, and this surplus gives us economic room to reexamine some of the areas within the 10%."

For some of Amy's great money saving ideas, check your local library for her book - Tightwad Gazette. Now when I do the following things I can just say I'm eco-friendly, which sounds better than cheap:

1. Reuse all paper that enters your house & then recycle it. I don't need to purchase any paper for notes, I reuse all the paper that comes in the house by cutting it in forths and using the backs for notes and grocery lists which I then recycle in our paper bin. We also use the backs of envelopes that bills and stuff come in.

2. Make items from scratch - the basics like flour, sugar, eggs, baking soda, etc. are cheaper to purchase and are healthy than most prepared foods.

3. Eat seasonally. When fruits & veggies are on sale it's because they are in season and aren't grown in far off tropical locations. You will save money and will reduce the carbon footprint of your diet.

4. Use your local library. Today's libraries are a great source for best sellers, movies, books on tape, afterschool programs, etc.

5. Make sun tea. Put 6 tea bags in a gallon jug of water and set it in the sun for several hours. You get great tasting tea using the energy from the sun.

6. Make your own cleaners from items in your pantry. You can make antibacterial cleaners, toilet cleaners, glass cleaner, and laundry detergent that is safer and cheaper than what you can buy in the store.

7. Eliminate all disposables. Purchasing paper towels, paper napkins, paper plates, plastic cutlery, plastic cups, and other one time use items can add a lot to your grocery bill and to our landfills.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Planet Green Launches Today at 6pm!!

After months of anticipation, today's finally the day - the launch of the new green network Planet Green! Planet Green will be the first and only 24-hour eco-lifestyle television network. Planet Green is taking the place of Discovery Home and will reach 50 million homes with more than 250 hours of original green lifestyle programming. Some shows on the channel have already aired like Wasted - a show that teaches families how they can save money while reducing their ecological footprint and Living With Ed - which chronicles the life of superstar and eco-activist Ed Begley Jr. New shows for the channel include Renovation Nation, Greenovate, Hollywood Green, G Word, and Stuff Happens. Renovation Nation and Greenovate will profile green remodeling & renovation projects. Stuff Happens stars Bill Nye, The Science Guy and will profile how the stuff we eat, wear, and use is made and should be an interesting show for the whole family. Be sure to set your DVR to catch up on all the lastest in green products and ideas!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

6 Reasons to Give Up Bottled Water

I know some people don't get what the big deal is with plastic water bottles, but studies show not only is the plastic dangerous to you (check previous posts on BPA) but plastic bottles have a huge impact on our Earth. Maybe one of these facts will help convince someone with a plastic bottle habit to invest in a reusable bottle.

1. North Americans spent $15,000,000,000 on water in plastic bottles last year.

2. Americans consumed 50 billion plastic water bottles last year, made of totally recyclable PET plastic however we only recycle 38% of these bottles meaning 38 billion water bottles a year go into landfills.

3. EVERY piece of petroleum-based plastic EVER manufactured still exists!

4. Plastic is the most common type of marine litter found worldwide, over 300,000 pieces of plastic per square mile have been found in the middle of the North Pacific.

5. The hidden costs of bottled water: the production of bottles uses crude oil, each liter of water sold actually represents three liters of water because manufacturing the PET plastic uses two times the amount of water that each bottle will hold, filling the bottles with water at the factory also uses energy, transporting it to the buyer uses gas, cooling it in grocery stores and home refrigerators, and recovering, recycling or discarding the empty bottles uses even more energy. The Pacific Institute estimates that "the total amount of energy embedded in our use of bottled water can be as high as the equivalent of filling a plastic bottle one quarter full with oil." And you wonder why gas prices are so high!

6. Make a change today to reusable bottles and save money. While reusable bottles, like Sigg aluminum bottles may seem pricey at $20 a bottle, statistics show the average person buys 167 water bottles a year - with water selling for at least $1 a bottle you will save money in the long run!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Graham Cracker Maple Pancakes

Well today I shopped my pantry for inspiration for a pancake recipe and found a box of graham cracker crumbs from a cake we decorated and came up with this recipe.

Graham Cracker Maple Pancakes

3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 2 Tbsp. warm water (or 1 egg)
1 1/4 cups soy milk
2 Tbsp. maple syrup

In a bowl, combine flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar. In another bowl, combine egg replacer mix, soy milk, and maple syrup; stir into dry ingredients. Pour 2 Tbsp. of batter onto griddle preheated to 350 and cook until batter bubbles and pancakes begin to brown around edges. Flip and cook 2 minutes more. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Non-toxic Toilet Cleaners

Acid-based toilet bowl cleaners are in the top three of the most toxic household products available because they contain caustic ingredients that burn eyes, skin and internal tissues. They can also contain chlorine or ammonia and pesticides. Of course you're concerned about bacteria and germs in the bathroom, but with regular cleaning those harsh chemicals are not necessary. A good rule of thumb to help green your cleaning is to start as mild as possible and go from there. Here’s some advice for the toilet.

Regular toilet cleaning:
1. Brush bowl and flush.
2. Pour a tablespoon of Sal Suds from Dr. Bronners to help clean and fight bacteria and ½ cup baking soda to help scrub and deodorize into the bowl
3. Brush the whole bowl.

To clean the exterior of the toilet try this minty fresh antibacterial spray:

2 cups water
2 Tbsp. Dr. Bronners Sal Suds
25 drops tea tree oil
10 drops peppermint essential oil

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What Does Organic Mean?

You know that you should be buying more organic foods, but why? What does organic really mean?

Organic produce is grown without any herbicides, pesticides, or synthetic fertilizers. Organic meat and dairy animals receive no antibiotics or hormones and are raised on organic feed. Organic products cannot be genetically engineered or irradiated. Farming with organic practices improves soil quality, conserves water, increases biodiversity, and reduces chemicals in our earth, water, and air. Organic food is known to contain 50% more nutrients, minerals and vitamins than produce that has been intensively farmed.

The USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) strictly enforces the use organic labels, so be sure to look for the USDA Organic symbol on organic products you purchase. Here's some guidelines on organic food labels:

100% Organic - all ingredients are produced organically

USDA Certified Organic - products contain 95% or more organic ingredients

Made with Organic Ingredients - made with 70-95% organic ingredients

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Eat Green & Save Some Green

With the price of fuel and food skyrocketing it's time to find ways to make every dollar count. Sometimes it's hard to eat well on a budget as organic items can be expensive. I have gathered some tricks and tips to help you stretch your food dollars while still keeping the environment and your health in mind:

1. Eat locally. Shop your local farmer's market for fresh, in season produce. The markets are always cheaper than grocery stores, you can find unique varieties not found on supermarket shelves, you reduce packaging on your food, you help support farmers in your community, and you will enjoy the freshest most flavorful fruits and veggies money can buy.

2. Cook from scratch. Preparing most items from basic staples, will save you money and will reduce the amount of packaging that your family disposes. By making items like, pancakes, tortillas, bread, treats, etc. you can also eliminate excessive preservatives, fats, and chemical in your family's diet.

3. Plan your meals. Reading sales circulars and buying sales items helps you save money while still making your family's favorite meals.

4. Buy and cook in bulk and then remember to eat the leftovers. By cutting down on the amount of meals you have to cook from scratch you save time and electricity. Bringing leftovers in your brown bag lunch will save money when compared to eating lunch out.

5. Don’t buy too much food. Buying food that goes bad before you'll use it doesn't save money and impacts the planet with extra waste. Plan your meals carefully and use what ingredients are fresh in the fridge. Shop your pantry for items that you already have on hand and plan meals around these items.

6. Quit eating meat. Buying meat can really break the bank and is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. By replacing meat with plant-based protein sources, such as beans and lentils you can save money and lighten your footprint. If you can't give up meat completely, decreasing your meat-based meals will help the planet and your pocketbook.

7. Use coupons. Now that organic foods are growing in popularity, so are coupons for these foods. Check your Sunday newspaper for coupons, check your local store for coupon books like Mambo Sprouts, or check the websites of your favorite companies for coupon offers. When using coupons, don't just buy an item because you have a coupon, if your family won't eat the food you've wasted money not saved money.

8. Grow your own food. My family is getting ready to prepare a bed for planting in the fall and we are researching which fruits and veggies will grow best in our area. We have been composting for a year and have some great materials to feed our soil with. Organic seeds are inexpensive and can be found at most garden stores or online.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes

Today's recipe is a nod to my mom's favorite sandwich - peanut butter with banana slices. We are going to see her this afternoon and are bringing her a sample of our new pancakes to get her input.

Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp. evaporated cane juice
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3 bananas, pureed
1 1/2 cups soy milk
1/2 cup organic peanut butter

Mix together the flour, evaporated cane juice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix bananas, soy milk, and peanut butter. Pour dry ingredients into wet and mix together. Pour 2 Tbsp. of batter onto griddle preheated to 350 and cook until batter bubbles and pancakes begin to brown around edges. Flip and cook 2 minutes more. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

National Chocolate Chip Day

I think I have a new favorite holiday - Thursday May 15th was National Chocolate Chip Day! My daughter and I made 4 dozen chocolate chip cookies which we shared with neighbors, friends, and my coworkers. It was nice to bring a smile to so many people with such a simple gesture to let them know we care and of course we enjoyed a few cookies ourselves :) We also wrapped up 2 dozen cookies for our local fire station. Our town was hit hard this week with dangerous fires and our local firefighters, as well as teams from across the state worked for days straight to extinguish the fires and protect homes. Bringing them a sweet treat to say thank you for all their hard work seemed like the least we could do. So mark your calendars for next year and be sure to celebrate National Chocolate Chip Day on May 15th, you won't regret it!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bike To Work Day

Tomorrow May 16th is National Bike to Work Day so I thought I would give you time to plan your trip and some tips for your biking commute:

1. Find a safe route.

2. If you can't take your bike into work, find a safe place to lock it up.

3. Dress appropriately - wear clothes to bike in and change when you get to work.

4. Wear a helmet.

5. Lucky you if you live in Orlando - In support of Bike to Work Day on May 16th you can get FREE Coffee at ALL Orlando area Starbucks IF you ride your bike and bring your own mug.

Even if you live too far from work to bike or if you don't work, there are ways you can celebrate this holiday and help the environment.

1. Ride your bike to run errands.

2. If your child is in school, ride your bike to school with them.

3. Contact local officials to encourage them to make your town bike friendly - by creating bike trails and lanes and by installing bike racks around town.

Why bike instead of drive? Here are some facts:

1. If you drive an SUV and live 5 miles from work, you would save $346.32 a year by biking to work one day a week.

2. If you drive a Toyota Camry and live 9 miles from work, you would reduce emissions pollutants by 908 lbs year by biking one day a week.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

More Great Uses for Baking Soda

Instead of purchasing chemical cleaners or increasing your waste by buying multiple products, use baking soda from your pantry for a variety of uses.

1. Tile & grout cleaner – make a paste of 3 parts baking soda and 1 part water

2. Autos – remove dead bugs with a paste of 3 parts baking soda and a few drops of dishwashing liquid to one part water

3. Insect bites & stings – applying a paste of baking soda and water removes pain and irritation

4. Foot Smoother – massage with a paste of baking soda and water

5. Foot bath – soak your feet for 10 minute in a solution of 4 Tbsp. baking soda per quart warm water to relieve tired feet and soften calluses

6. Clean the inside of your refrigerator with a solution of 3 Tbsp. of baking soda dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water.

7. Exfoliate your skin. Apply a soft paste made of three parts baking soda and one part water. Massage gently with a circular motion, being sure to avoid the eye area; rinse clean.

8. Remove burned-on food from a pan by letting the pan soak in baking soda and water for 10 minutes before washing.

9. Clean sterling silver jewelry with a paste of baking soda and water. Use a soft cloth to wipe away all tarnish.

10. Think you have a lot to cleaning to do? More than 100 tons of baking soda were used to clean the Statue of Liberty’s inner copper walls during its 1986 restoration.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Free & Green

One of the main complaints I hear about trying to be greener is the cost. Many items that are eco-friendly are more expensive than their conventional counterparts. So here are some green tips that will cost you nothing and may even save you money!

1. Reuse your towel - after showering, hang your towel up so it can be reused

2. Turn off lights, televisions, etc. when you leave a room.

3. Use natural daylight as much as possible, open blinds or curtains during the day to limit the number of lights you need to turn on.

4. Use your library for books, movies & magazines

5. Recycle!

6. Freecycle - check out this great movement at

7. Use cloths to clean up spills instead of paper towels

8. Stop using disposable items - paper plates & cups, paper napkins, etc.

9. Reduce your shower time - by keeping your shower time under five minutes, you can save as many as 1,000 gallons per month.

10. Go paperless with your bills and use the internet instead.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the green moms out there and Happy Mother's Day to the most important mom - Mother Earth. Respect her by making one green change in your home this week.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Save a life ...

Looking for a new friend for your family? Please check out the great animals available at your local shelter or rescue agencies. When you get an animal from the shelter you save a life - euthanasia is the single greatest cause of death for cats and dogs in the U.S. Each year, 8 to 12 million animals are euthanized or 1 pet every 4 seconds. Our county alone euthanizes over 10,000 animals a year! Also by adopting a cat or dog from the shelter you will be helping to reduce the demand for the puppy and kitty mills where animals are horribly abused. If you are looking for a particular breed of animal check your local shelter, many purebred cats and dogs are also abandoned or check for local purebred rescue agencies. Online resources - and

Want to help, but not ready to commit to a forever friend? There are many ways you can help. We are currently "fostering" 4 abandoned kittens for our local shelter. Baby animals are at risk in the shelter since they are to young to be vaccinated against respiratory diseases and other diseases they may be exposed to in the shelter. Our job is to help them eat well and gain weight and to give them tons of love - not a bad job huh? When they are older they will return to the shelter for their vaccines, be spayed or neutered and will be available for adoption. Animal shelters always need donations of food especially kitten, puppy, and canned food as well as towels, and kitty litter. They also need volunteers to help with the animals and with office work, contact your local shelter for more information.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Dine with the planet in mind

When planning your meals, be sure to consider the impact your choices have on the environment. Some great ways to be kind to the earth:

1. Buy in bulk - bulk buying reduces the amount of packaging used

2. Buy local - help support community farms and reduce the amount of gas used to transport your food

3. Reduce meat consumption - the livestock industry alone is responsible for nearly one-fifth of the greenhouse gases —more than all transportation

4. Buy organic - reduce the amount of pesticides your family is exposed to and help support farmers who protect the planet with their farming techniques

5. Compost - help reduce the impact to landfills by composting as much food waste as possible check out for composting tips

Monday, May 5, 2008

Green Window Cleaning

An easy step you can take to green your cleaning is to replace your neon blue conventional glass cleaners with a mixture of vinegar and water in a reusable spray bottle. This will reduce your household’s impact on the environment by reducing packaging and will keep your indoor air clean and free of toxins. Conventional glass cleaners can contain a number of different toxins including ammonia - an irritant to eyes, noses, throats and lungs.

Some people get turned off by using vinegar and water because when they first use it to clean windows they have streaking. The streaking is caused by the residue left over from conventional cleaners, not the vinegar. When first making the switch to vinegar cleaners, start with a mix of about 1/3 white vinegar, 1 tsp. of Dr. Bronner's soap, and 2/3 water. The next time you mix the cleaner, omit the soap and you will continue to have sparkling clean windows.

To be extra green, use microfiber cloths to clean your windows instead of paper towels.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Okay not the healthiest pancakes, but the whole wheat does offset the chocolate a little right?

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Pancakes

2 cups organic whole wheat flour
1 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. evaporated cane juice
4 tsp. baking powder
3 tsp. Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 4 Tbsp. warm water (or 2 eggs)
1 1/2 cup soy milk
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Tropical Source chocolate chips

Combine flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder in bowl. Whisk egg replacer powder and warm water together; add milk and oil. Slowly stir liquid mixture into dry ingredients and mix completely. Pour 2 Tbsp. of batter onto griddle preheated to 350 and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Cook until batter bubbles and pancakes begin to brown around edges. Flip and cook 2 minutes more. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Plastic Bag Facts

1. Currently our planet uses well over 500,000,000,000 (that's 500 billion) plastic bags annually, or almost 1 million per minute.

2. Single-use bags made of high-density polyethylene will accumulate and persist on our planet for up to 1,000 years. Four out of five grocery bags used in the US are plastic.

3. In 2001, Ireland used 1.2 billion disposable plastic bags, or 316 per person. An extremely successful plastic bag tax, or PlasTax, introduced in 2002 reduced consumption by 90%.

4. According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. An estimated 12 million barrels of oil is required to make that many plastic bags.

5. Plastic bags cause over 100,000 sea turtle and other marine animal deaths every year when animals mistake them for food.

6. The average family accumulates 60 plastic bags in only four trips to the grocery store.

7. Nearly 80% of the plastic trash in the US comes from bags and packaging and only 3.2% is recycled.

8. Each reusable bag you use has the potential to eliminate an average of 1,000 plastic bags over its lifetime.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Organic Fruits and Veggies

Due to the contamination of fruits and vegetables with pesticides, I highly recommend buying organic. If you are unable to buy all organic, concentrate on the fruits and veggies with the highest levels of pesticides. The following fruits and vegetables consistently have the highest amount of pesticides and you should opt for purchasing organic varieties:

1. Apples
2. Bell peppers
3. Celery
4. Cherries
5. Grapes
6. Nectarines
7. Peaches
8. Pears
9. Potatoes
10. Red raspberries
11. Spinach
12. Strawberries