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.