Wednesday, August 12, 2009


What is daylighting? Daylighting is the use of natural light instead of electricity to illuminate buildings and homes. Daylighting will save you money while reducing your carbon footprint. New buildings are being designed to take advantage of natural light - check out for more information.

Our house was not specifically designed to take advantage of natural light, but we are fortunate that it gets great daylight in most of the rooms. We are able to get great natural light all day and only need to turn on lights after the sun sets or on cloudy days. See if you can take advantage of daylight by opening the curtains instead of turning on a light.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Carbon Rally

I stumbled across a great eco-networking site - which has great earth-friendly challenges for everyone looking to live greener.

The site puts up new a easy to handle challenge every few weeks and keeps track of how much carbon you save. The current challenge is Cold Then Fold - use only cold water to wash and rinse all of your laundry this month. Previous challenges include biking one day a week, line drying laundry, recycling your old cell phone, and reducing the amount of meat you eat.

If you've got a competitive streak, Carbon Rally has challenges that you can do as a team. So compete as a group, family, or workplace and the planet will win.

Monday, August 10, 2009

10 Reasons To Go Veg

Here are some great reasons why you should become a vegetarian:

1. A car driving vegetarian produces fewer CO2 emissions than a bike riding meat eater.

2. Cow farts contribute to global warming.

3. Pig farms pollute local water resources.

4. Rain forests are cut down to create grazing land for cattle.

5. It takes 35 calories of energy to make one calorie of meat.

6. Prevent animal cruelty in factory farms.

7. On average vegetarians live 6 years longer.

8. You’ll reduce your risk of food-borne illnesses.

9. Save money at the grocery store.

10. Pigs are much smarter than dogs, they have the mental capacities of a 3-year-old child.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Earth Friendly Soft Scrub

Looking for a non-toxic scrub for your bathtub, sinks, and kitchen countertops? Check out this simple recipe from Healthy Child, Healthy World.

1/2 cup baking soda
1/8 cup of castile soap (I prefer Dr. Bronner's Peppermint)
1 tsp. vegetable glycerin

Combine well and store in a repurposed squeeze bottle like a mustard bottle. Squeeze onto the surface to be cleaned and scrub with a damp rag and wipe clean.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Weekend Project - Refrigerator

Refrigerators are one of the biggest energy users in the home, save energy and money by making sure your refrigerator is working efficiently.

1. Start by vacuuming the cooling coils on the back of the fridge. (Be sure to unplug the refrigerator first.)

2. Check the temperature settings. Recommended temperatures are 35 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit for the fridge, and 0 degrees for the freezer.

3. Check your door seals. Put a piece of paper in the fridge door and see how easy it is to remove. If it slips right out, it is time to replace the seals.

Performing simple maintenance a few times a year will save you a lot of money on your energy bill.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Pretty Clean Thirteen

As food budgets continue to feel the pinch of the tough economy it is getting harder for some to purchase organic produce. There are many fruits and veggies with a low pesticide use due to their natural defenses against pests or they are grown in climates where pests are not as much of a problem. Here is a list of the pretty clean thirteen - foods you can save on by buying conventional:

1. Onions

2. Avocados

3. Sweet Corn

4. Pineapples

5. Mangoes

6. Asparagus

7. Sweet peas

8. Kiwi fruit

9. Bananas

10. Cabbage

11. Broccoli

12. Eggplant

13. Papayas

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Happy National Farmers Market Week

Support your local farmers market this week in honor of National Farmers Market Week. Some benefits of shopping at your local farmers market:

1. Meet the people who grow the food you serve to your family and friends.

2. Connect with others in your community.

3. Help support local farmers and artisans.

4. Purchase fresh products at great prices.

5. Learn from farmers how to pick the best produce.

6. Cut your carbon footprint by purchasing food grown locally which is sold without excess packaging.

Do you love your local farmers market? Help them have a chance to win $5,000 by voting at

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Hold on to your butts

Cigarette butts are the most littered item in the world, often ending up in waterways and on our beaches. At beach cleanups, cigarette butts are the most common form of trash found, usually one in every five items collected is a cigarette butt. Cigarette butts are dangerous to wildlife that may mistake them for food. Many smokers think that cigarette filters are biodegradable and that it is not a big deal to to drop them on the ground, however they can actually take 15 years to decompose.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Repair, Don't Replace

We all know the 3 Rs - reduce, reuse, & recycle. Of the three the first - reduce is the most important. Every new item you purchase has a large impact on the planet, production uses raw materials, energy & water and creates waste. In light of this the most earth friendly thing you can do is to keep an existing item rather than buying new. Renew old items by visiting a jewelry repair, shoe repair, or local seamstress. A few months ago I broke a heel on a pair of my favorite shoes - a quick trip to the shoe repair store and $10 later my shoes were as good as new.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Eco-friendly Potty Training

Today in our local paper there was an article on an interesting effect of the current recession - a decline in the sales of disposable training pants. Parents analyzing their budgets are forced to rethink which products are essential and with a potential savings of $30-$100 a month, many parents are deciding that disposable training pants aren't a necessity.

Since disposable training pants like disposable diapers are made from petroleum byproducts and tree products, they have a huge impact on the environment. By choosing to avoid the use of training pants parents can see three benefits -

1. A more earth-friendly approach to potty training
2. Significant money savings
3. In many cases, faster toilet training.

The first two benefits seem obvious, but why would potty training go faster without training pants? Like disposable diapers, training pants have absorbent material to wick away wetness. When my daughter was potty training we let her run around the house naked or in underwear and she quickly learned to use the potty to avoid accidents in her pretty panties.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Guide Dogs Go Green

I have been crazy busy the past month with our new guide dog puppy in training - Grace. Grace is an active, precocious, and absolutely adorable 3 month old black Lab. She is the third guide dog puppy we have raised for Southeastern Guide Dogs in Palmetto, Fl. Southeastern Guide Dogs has recently completed a major renovation of their puppy kennel. In an effort to save money and be more eco-friendly the school added solar panels to the roof of the kennel to take advantage of the Florida sunshine to heat the water used in the puppy kennel. The school estimates it will save $5,000 a year by switching to the solar water heater. The school also uses green cleaners to provide a healthy environment for the puppies.

Interested in more information on Southeastern Guide Dogs check out while at the website be sure to check out the adorable puppies on the puppy cam

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Great Eco-friendly Cleaner

Looking for a great all-purpose plant-based cleaner? Check out ecostore USA's Cream Cleaner. Using only plant-based ingredients including Lemon Verbena oil, it can be used everywhere from the bathroom to the stainless on your stovetop. It's formula is free from nasty chemicals and has ingredients you can pronounce - water, calcium carbonate (chalk),plant based anionic surfactants, plant based glycerin, plant base thickener, xanthum gum, and lemon verbena oil.

Do you already use this product and love it? Then I have some exciting news for you -ecostore USA, is offering a wonderful incentive and prize through their Facebook page to help promote their natural, plant based eco-friendly lemon cream cleanser. The concept is super fun and easy and the incentive is this: a chance to win a $500 Visa Card.

How to Enter

Make a 30 second clip of you using the lemon cream cleanser showing the effectiveness and how it is healthy and eco-friendly.

Download your 30 second clip to any service such as YouTube, Google Video or Viddler.

Become a ecostore USA Facebook Fan and provide the link to your video.
One winner will be chosen by the ecostore USA team based on creativity, uniqueness, and effective use of the product.

Video Contest begins June 15th and ends June 29th, 2009

What the Winner Receives

A $500 Visa Card
A link to the ecostore USA website and blog to the winner’s blog, video or both.
A link to the winner’s video, blog or both that will be used for a coupon at to promote the lemon cream cleanser at Meijer stores.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

National Flip Flop Day

Be sure to slip on your flip flops and head to Tropical Smoothie tomorrow June 19th, to celebrate National Flip Flop Day with a FREE 24 oz. Jetty Punch Smoothie!

Not only is this a great way to kick off summer which officially starts on Sunday, but you can feel good that your lunch purchase will help support Camp Sunshine. Camp Sunshine provides respite, support, joy and hope to children with life-threatening illnesses and their immediate families through various stages of a child’s illness. The year-round program is free of charge to all families, and includes 24-hour onsite medical and psychosocial support. Bereavement groups are also offered for families who have lost a child to an illness.

When you head to Tropical Smoothie make sure you are sporting the latest in eco-friendly flip flops like the fun pairs from the following companies:

Simple Shoes whose flip flops are made with sustainable hemp, carpet padding water-based adhesives, recycled car tire and natural rubber.

Ocean Minded which make their flip flops with recycled plastic bottles and donates a portion of its proceeds to Surfrider Foundation.

Zoe & Zac from Payless made with certified organic cotton, a recycled rubber sole, and eco-friendly packaging.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sustainable Surfboards

A great Maine company has brought surfing back to its roots by constructing gorgeous wood surfboards. According to their website Grain Surfboards are committed to building, promoting and riding surfboards that have less impact on the environment and more impact on your surfing. Grain uses locally harvested, sustainably forested Northern White Cedar. They also reduce waste with their creative designs which use a third of wood in typical wood boards, they reuse waste products, and support small, family-owned sawmills in Maine. The wood boards are finished with zero-VOC epoxy, glass or bamboo cloth, and a high-gloss UV coating to protect the board.

Why make the switch to a wood surfboard? Traditional boards are made with petroleum based polyurethane foam which creates dangerous chemicals in the manufacturing process and after shaping the boards are glassed with toxic fiberglass laminate and polyester resins.

For more info on Grain Surfboards visit

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ocean Friendly Sunscreen

With conventional sunscreens you are not only exposing yourself to dangerous chemicals you are also endangering the ocean's health. Researchers estimate that 4,000 to 6,000 metric tons of sunscreen wash off swimmers annually in oceans worldwide, and that up to 10 percent of coral reefs are threatened by sunscreen-induced bleaching. Choose sunscreens with plant-based ingredients and physical UV barriers which reflect UV rays, like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. Some great choices are Caribbean Sol or Soleo Organics

Remember these application tips for sunscreen to be the most effective -

1. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before heading outside

2. Reapply every 2 hours or after swimming or sweating

3. Don't skimp on the amount of sunscreen you use, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends using an ounce (a shot-glass-full) of sunscreen for full-body coverage.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Beach Week

In honor of International Surfing Day on June 20, 2009 I will be checking out green beach products this week. International Surfing Day was created by Surfing magazine as a way to promote surfing and highlight the state of our oceans. So hit the beach this Saturday to catch some waves and participate in a beach clean-up. For more information on International Surfing Day check out

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What to eat organic

Eating organic will reduce your exposure to pesticides, but can be expensive. In these tough economic times, buying organic foods can strain some families' budgets. What can you do? By purchasing organics for the 12 foods with the highest levels of pesticides, you can reduce your exposure to over 90% of the most commonly used pesticides. What to buy organic -

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

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Ceiling Fans

Looking for a simple way to stay cool and save electricity this summer - install ceiling fans in your house. With ceiling fans you can save up to 40% on your air conditioning bill while only using as much power as it takes to light a 100-watt incandescent bulb. While ceiling fans themselves do not cool the room, the air circulation will produce a comfortable breeze which will make you feel cooler. Be sure to check to make sure you blades are rotating in a counterclockwise direction during the summer.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Adopt a Shelter Cat

June is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month. Last June we adopted our cat Shane from our local shelter and he is one of the greatest cats I've ever owned. We are not sure what kind of life Shane had before his 3 months at the shelter, but he is definitely enjoying the good life now. Also this year we fostered several kittens to get them healthy enough to adopt. If you are unable to adopt a shelter cat, I recommend fostering kittens - you get the joy of cuddling kittens while helping out your local shelter without the commitment of providing a forever home for an animal. I have also volunteered with the adoptions for shelter animals, the day I helped saved a life of an adorable orange tabby kitten by placing him with a local family is a special day I will always remember. If you are unable to adopt a pet you can help the shelter out by fostering animals short term, donating food, volunteering your time, or donating money. Be a responsible pet owner and spay or neuter your pet and the next time you decide to add a pet to your family, check the local shelter first.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Twitter your gratitude

Care2 is sponsoring a twitter your gratitude day today. Take a moment to express your gratitude to your family, friends, and members of the community for making a difference in your world. Giving thanks for the special people in your life will remind you of the wonderful people who surround you everyday.

How do you join Care2 in expressing your gratitude?

1. Start your tweet with the hashtag “#caretuesday”.

2. Follow this with a message of gratitude and the names of the great people you want to thank.

See what I am thankful for at

Monday, June 1, 2009

Greening Your Kitchen

Looking for some easy ways to green your kitchen?

1. Give up disposable paper napkins by switching to cloth napkins.

2. Whenever possible, use your microwave to save energy.

3. Become a label reader and educate yourself about different certifications like organic and Fair Trade.

4. When buying dishes, bakeware, and pots look for eco-friendly products.

5. Opt for a bamboo or natural wood cutting board.

6. Use your dishwasher instead of handwashing dishes. As strange as it sounds, dishwashers use less energy and water than handwashing.

7. Fill your pantry with products with minimal packaging and recycle as much packaging as possible.

8. Make your own natural cleaners from items found in your pantry like baking soda, vinegar, and lemons.

9. Instead of paper towels, use reusable cloths for cleaning up spills.

10. Relax with a glass of biodynamic wine with a cork closure. Cork is recyclable and earth-friendly since cork is sustainably harvested from living trees.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day

Unfortunately like most holidays that provide a 3 day weekend, Memorial Day has become for many just a day to barbecue, head to the beach, or attend a party. Please take a moment today to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day - a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. Thanks to all the soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Tips from Green America

Here are some great living green tips from Green America...

1. Grow Your Own

"The biggest thing I'm doing this year is growing my own vegetable garden. It will be organic, and it doesn't get any more local than my own back yard. Plus, it's one heck of a money saver. It will even help me build community, because I will surely have extra fruits and vegetables to share with my neighbors."
— Jessica S., Littleton, CO

2. One Less Car

"I don't own a car. Even in the cold Minnesota winters you'll find me biking. Riding a bicycle obviously saves money and resources, but I believe it also builds community. When I am on a bicycle, I feel more connected to my surroundings, and I'm more approachable. I'm always saying hello to people as I ride past, whereas in a car, that interaction would be lost."
— Sarah P., Minneapolis, MN

3. One Less Car, Part Two

"Although I get 48 miles per gallon with my hybrid car, I still make every effort to plan my trips to avoid needless driving, to carpool, and to take public transportation and telecommute, as often as possible. I write and call my political leaders in support of laws and funding for mass transit, and for greener cars."
— Jeanne T., Springfield, VA

4. Reuse, Reuse, Reuse

"One way I have discovered to keep items out of landfills and save a bunch of money in the process is FreeCycle – an online group where members post things they are looking for, and what they have to get rid of. I have received a dining room set (complete with six chairs, buffet, and hutch), bunk beds for my kids, a set of night stands, and a really good juicer for no cost. And I've used FreeCycle to give away all the clothes that my kids have outgrown."
— Lea P-W., Painesville, OH

5. Stop the Leaks

"I'm unplugging the toaster, lamps, cell phone chargers, laptops, and other electronic devices when I'm not using them. These things leak energy needlessly when they are plugged in all the time. It's the quickest way to save energy and it saves me money on the electric bill too."
— Rachelle N., Nashville, TN

6. Harness the Sun

"We installed solar panels on our townhome in March along with another family in our homeowners' association. Several others had expressed interest before the economic meltdown and then backed off, but we hope that with our example others will see that in the long-run it's a money-saver, and they will understand the benefit for both the planet and their bottom lines."
— Ellen S., Boulder, CO

7. Waste Not, Want Not

"I compost. I keep my garbage creation to a minimum. I refuse packaging and bags whenever possible (bringing my own cloth bag). I explain to the checkout person why I am refusing the bag or giving back the packaging. Also, steel is 100-percent recyclable. The recycled steel isn't downgraded or 'downcycled.' I recycle every unusable nail, every screw, every wire, etc., at my local transfer station. Even my steel roof will be recycled when it is done being my roof."
— Ruth O., White Salmon, WA

8. Dispense With Disposables

"This may seem like a minor thing, but it really helps on my limited budget. I have ceased purchasing paper towels and instead use old rags for cleaning and wiping up spills. I wash the dirty rags and reuse them until they wear out. I didn't realize how many paper towels I used to go through before I started this new system."
— Sarah F., Tullahoma, TN

9. Reallocate Your Resources

"Our path toward sustainability began when we realized the value of doing things for ourselves. I began by making our own laundry detergent. It is all-natural and costs less than a penny per ounce to make! We used the money we were saving to take bigger steps: buying our meat in bulk from local farmers who raise their animals on pasture and sustainably, and buying Energy-Star appliances for our house."
— Carrie C., Salem, VA

10. Examine Your Diet

"By becoming vegan I cut my carbon footprint to at least 60 percent and the amount of money that each meal costs me by an average of 78 percent. Beans and legumes are so inexpensive compared to meat! I cut costs even more by growing herbs and vegetables for myself, and I earn fruits by offering to do the picking for friends with fruit trees, in exchange for keeping the surplus. I preserve them in glass jars and make pickled fruits and vegetables to extend them even further ."
— Sarah F., Tullahoma, TN

11. Green celebrations!

"On June 20, I am getting married green style. Oh, green wedding, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:
1) Used wedding dress from eBay, $10!,
2) Organic, Fair Trade apparel for the wedding party that they can use afterwards,
3) Asking guests to carpool to save gas, money, and the environment,
4) Sending plantable wedding invitations [That's right, you bury the invitations and wildflowers spring forth, just like love blooms…],
5) Using leftover supplies from my cousin's wedding,
6) Buying organic flowers from the farmer's market … and more.
My fiancé Mark and I will be celebrating our day free from wedding-induced debt and the weight of a heavy carbon footprint!"
— Michelle B., Oshkosh, WI

12. Invest Wisely
(and Needs vs. Wants)

"We're always asking ourselves whether this next purchase is a 'need' or a 'want.' When we actually stop to think about it, there are precious few needs. People say things like 'I need cable TV,' but that's probably not true. Calling such things 'needs' cheapens the meaning of the word. We've also begun investing some savings with a community bank. Interestingly, in our experience, the smaller community bank with the social mission has been reliably beating the pants off of the mega-banks in terms of rate of return. We know that we're saving more by getting the higher rate of return, but we are also proud that our money is doing good in the community as well!"
— Steve O., Mamaroneck, NY

13. What Really Matters?

"I'm trying to stay focused on people and relationships rather than stuff. This helps me consider who is affected by what I do buy and from whom I buy it. I save by buying only thrift store clothes, but splurge on Fair Trade chocolate. I support locally owned businesses. I volunteer my time. And with some of the money I save, I use it to support organizations that help people help themselves. I do without stuff; that isn't what matters anyway!"
— Kelly G., Charlotte, NC

14. Get everyone you know involved in going green and saving green.

For more great green living ideas visit Green America at

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Loofah Kitchen Scrubber

For Mother's Day I got a great new eco-friendly gift - a natural loofah kitchen scrubber from Loofah-Art. The loofah scrubber is made from 100% naturally grown loofah and natural dye. The scrubbers are 100% non-toxic and bio-degradable and resist wearing.

The kitchen scrubber is gentle enough to scrub fruits and veggies, but tough enough to clean dirty dishes. I love it for scrubbing pots! The scrubbers are made from non-scratch fibers and are safe to use on a variety of surfaces including delicate non-stick surfaces.

You may wonder what exactly is loofah? Loofah is a vegetable closely related to the cucumber family. It originated in Asia and is grown in sub-tropical temperatures. Once the plant naturally dries on the vine, it is harvested and the outer skin is peeled off to expose the inner fibers, which form the natural loofah sponge.

Want more info, check out

Thanks for the awesome green gift Mom!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tips to Improve Your Fuel Efficiency

As fuel prices start to climb again, be sure your car is running efficiently as possible.

1. Be sure to perform your car's scheduled oil changes and tune-ups.

2. Check to see if you need to replace a clogged air filter.

3. Keep your tires properly inflated.

4. Drive smartly - use your cruise control on the highway, avoid quick accelerations and excessive braking.

5. Avoid idling, turn off your car in bank lines and school carlines.

6. Reduce drag by removing roof racks and avoiding excess weight in trunk.

Monday, May 18, 2009

10 Easy Ways to Save Energy

Looking to reduce your carbon footprint and save money on your electric bill? Here are 10 simple tips to help you out:

1. Always turn off the lights when you leave a room.

2. Monitor your thermostat - as the summer heats up set it up a few degrees and use ceiling fans to help you feel cooler.

3. Schedule a free home energy audit with your electric company.

4. Seal air leaks with caulking, sealing, or weather stripping to help keep your air conditioning inside.

5. Be aware of your lighting usage, during the day opt to open curtains to allow daylight in instead of turning on a light.

6. Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes.

7. Make sure you aren't keeping your refrigerator or freezer too cold. Recommended temperatures are 37° to 40°F for the refrigerator and 5°F for the freezer.

8. Turn off your computer when it is not in use.

9. Whenever possible, use your microwave for cooking. It uses two-thirds less energy than the stove and will keep the house cooler.

10. Looking for a fun way to save energy? Plan an Earth Hour celebration one evening each week where you turn off the lights and eat dinner and play board games by candlelight.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

One step at a time...

Looking to make greener purchases, but feeling overwhelmed and not sure where to start? You don't have to make drastic changes, start small. Change your actions one step at a time by choosing one product you buy often and commit to looking for a greener alternative. Once that change has become habit, look for another item to start buying green. Need suggestions:

1. Instead of reaching for a regular candy bar, choose a fair-trade certified bar. Fair-trade certification means the farmer is fairly paid and the cocoa beans are grown sustainably.

2. Purchase an eco-friendly laundry detergent like Seventh Generation which can now be found at your local grocery store.

3. Purchase toilet paper made from recycled paper. Publix's Greenwise products are earth-friendly and inexpensive.

4. Trade your paper napkins in for cloth napkins. Paper napkins are used for a minute and then are tossed, cloth napkins can be washed and used over and over.

5. Buy items with minimal packaging. Buy bulk items if possible, choose fresh fruits & veggies instead of canned or frozen which will eliminate packaging, and look for cereals sold in bags instead of a bag inside of a box.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Love Your Mother Earth

Mother’s Day is this Sunday, why not show your love for mom and the planet with some great green gifts.

1. Instead of cut flowers which only last a few days, buy mom a potted plant, a plant for her garden, or plant her an organic herb garden she can enjoy throughout the year.

2. Treat your mom to a day at an eco-friendly spa or put together a home spa gift basket. Find a fun reusable container and fill it with natural, organic, and paraben free spa products.

3. Give mom some sweets. In honor of World Fair Trade Day on May 9th, give mom a fair-trade and organic chocolate sampler or bake a batch of homemade organic cookies with chips from

4. Encourage mom to go green by giving her a reusable tote, a reusable water bottle, and a book on living greener.

5. Cut down on waste by giving mom a day of fun and enjoy some special time together - take a trip to a local museum, head to the beach, pack a picnic and go on a bike ride, or head to the local theater for a play.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

First Garden

The kitchen staff harvested the first vegetables from the White House garden, including oak leaf lettuce, red romaine, speckled lettuce, fennel and rhubarb last week. That evening President Obama and his economic advisers, dined on "White House kitchen garden salad with spiced Marcona almonds and lemon tarragon vinaigrette" which included lettuces and fennel fresh from the garden. In the Navy Mess, the administration staff enjoyed a garden thyme garnish and three types of lettuce. The kitchen staff was "thrilled to use produce from the White House kitchen garden," said White House executive chef Cristeta Comerford. "It is so exciting to see our efforts turn into usable goods.” The White House donated the rhubarb to Miriam's Kitchen who provides healthy homemade meals to the homeless in Washington D.C. Miriam's will use it to make a strawberry-rhubarb sauce for the mini cheesecakes it is serving at 100 Bowls of Compassion, its annual gala. In the future the bulk of the produce donated to Miriam's will be used for client meals.

Feeling motivated by the White House garden's delicious harvest? Start planning your own garden today. My husband planted some pineapples this weekend in our yard and I worked on planning our fall garden. Need some inspiration for your garden - check out

Monday, May 4, 2009

Phonebook Overload

Well it's that time again - new phonebook delivery time. In the next few weeks, phonebook companies will deposit their huge phonebooks on my doorstep. Their are two reasons that I get annoyed by all the phone books - first, I rarely use a phonebook as I tend to look up numbers on the internet and second phonebooks are a big burden on the environment - their printing require tons of paper & ink.

Now I need to unload last year's phonebook and the numerous unnecessary editions I will receive this year. Fortunately I can recycle the unwanted books in my newspaper recycling bin, check to see how to recycle phonebooks in your community. Since reducing is always better than recycling, I wish the companies would change their delivery system and only deliver books to those homes that actually want them.

This lead me to do some research online to see if there was a way to stop phonebook delivery and was very pleased with what I found. To opt out of phonebook delivery visit

Hopefully next year I will not have a mountain of phonebooks destined for my recycling bin.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Simple Steps to Greener Living

Ready to start living a greener lifestyle, but feeling a little overwhelmed? Not sure where to start? Here are ten simple things you can do this weekend and still have time left over to nap in the hammock.

1. Switch your conventional lightbulbs to Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs).

2. It's spring - open up the windows and let some fresh air in instead of running the air conditioner.

3. Clean or replace your air conditioning filter and put reminders on your calendar to complete this task monthly.

4. Hang your sheets on the clothesline to dry. What a blissful way to fall asleep - under fresh, clean sheets dried in the sun.

5. Buy and install a low-flow shower head.

6. Check to make sure your car's tires are properly inflated to save on gas.

7. Make up a batch of homemade earth-friendly cleaners with items found in your pantry. Check my archives for some easy recipes.

8. Tackle some of your weekend errands on your bike.

9. Go meatless this Sunday.

10. Shop your local farmer’s market. You will enjoy fresher fruits and veggies while supporting local growers.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Canada Bans BPA

While the FDA is still declaring Bisphenol A (BPA) safe here in the United States, Canada has banned BPA in baby bottles. BPA which is currently found in polycarbonate plastic bottles and epoxy can linings, is linked to breast and prostrate cancer, diabetes, hyperactivity, low sperm count, and early puberty in girls. Wal-Mart Canada is pulling all baby products containing BPA from its shelves and the chain said it plans to stop selling products containing BPA in U.S. stores by next year. Also Nalgene, the maker of reusable water bottles that are popular among athletes, is planning on discontinuing production of bottles made with the BPA and will recall existing products already in stores. Canada's bold move puts pressure on U.S. regulators to reexamine their positions on BPA.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Do you have a green hero?

Do you have someone who inspires you to live a little greener or be kinder to animals? The best thank you they can receive is for you to pay it forward and encourage others to make changes in their life that will make the world a better place. However if you are looking for another way to say thanks, enter them in Kind Green Planet's Pay It Forward Push. By making a small tax-deductible donation to Kind Green Planet, your hero will be entered in four drawings for gorgeously green, animal-friendly prizes. Simply visit and donate $10 and input the name and email address of your kind green hero. Kind Green Planet will send your hero an e-card letting them know that you consider them a kind green hero and that you have entered their name into our fabulous prize drawings. Don't delay the contest ends tomorrow and the winners will be announced on May 1st.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


My daughter got some Smencils from her grandparents for Easter and loves them. What are Smencils you say? They are scented pencils made from recycled newspaper. They are a fun and eco-friendly product. Smencils are manufactured from recycled newspapers, environmentally friendly fragrances, recyclable ferrules and biodegradable erasers. While pencils that come in a plastic tube wouldn't seem earth friendly, the tubes are made of recyclable plastic and in the near future the tubes are going to be made from biodegradable plastic. Smencils are available in these delicious scents - Cherry, Cinnamon, Bubble Gum, Pineapple, Orange, Grape, Fruit Punch, Root Beer, Watermelon and Peppermint. Visit to see how you can save trees, one pencil at a time.

Monday, April 27, 2009

TV Turn Off Week Update

Well my family just completed a week without television and you know what it was no big deal! When I told people about it they couldn't believe we were going to go "a WHOLE week" without TV. It doesn't seem like we watch a lot of television around here - during the day when we are doing school it is off, then we head out for the afternoon activities, really it's just on in the evenings after dinner - so I was shocked when I saw our DVR recorded 25 hours of shows!! Could we possibly watch this much television a week? Well after I deleted the stuff I knew we wouldn't watch I was still left with 15 hours of television. I certainly am not going to watch all that this week, so it's time to evaluate which shows we really enjoy, which ones we watch just for background noise while doing other things, and which ones we watch just because they are there. If I survived last week without any television and actually accomplished more - read three books, organized my daughter's school portfolio, cleaned out some clutter, had my daughter help with cooking dinner, had some game nights, researched some really cool stuff for upcoming school projects, and had some fun family time - do I really want to go back to all that television? I am planning on pairing it down to 10 hours worth of shows, which is even less when you fast forward through the commercials. I am also going to edit how many shows we record a week and just record those we really enjoy. A week of no television every so often is a great way to keep your family's TV time under control. The next TV Turn Off Week is scheduled for September 20-26th.

Friday, April 24, 2009

10 Recycling Tips

So of course you are recycling, but there may be areas you can improve on. Check out this list of 10 great recycling tips:

1. Make sure you are recycling everything you can - contact your local recycling company for more information on what your community recycles.

2. Once you know what can be recycled, do your best to avoid items that can't be recycled.

3. Compost food scraps and yard waste.

4. Contact catalog companies to stop any catalogs you receive and choose to shop online instead.

5. Stop junk mail as much as you can by checking out the tips found at

6. Use the backs of any junk mail you receive for notes or shopping lists before putting them in the recycling bin.

7. Be sure to recycle your hazardous household waste properly, consult for more info on how and where to recycle hazardous waste in your area.

8. Create an attractive and organized recycling center in your home so your family can easy help with your recycling efforts.

9. Create some recycling fun for your kids by making crafts with items that might typically end up in the trash. Need some inspiration, check your local library or bookstore for Laura C. Martin's book Recycled Crafts Box.

10. Try to find ways to recycle everything - donate used clothing to thrift stores, donate magazines, books, and movies to the library, donate cell phones to charitable organizations for recycling, donate old towels to the local animal shelter, donate craft supplies to local schools or nursing homes, offer items you no longer need on - the list goes on and on. Try to make the trash can the last choice for items you no longer need.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Disney's earth

If you didn't see Disney's new movie earth yet - you must! It is a wonderful film with phenomenal footage of some of the most amazing creatures on this planet. It is directed by Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield who also did the fantastic series Planet Earth. The main story focuses on a polar bear family, an elephant herd, and a humpback whale mother and calf, but the film will introduce you to never seen before animals like some of the captivating birds of paradise found in the rain forest. At the heart of the story is the perfect relationship between the Earth and the sun. The film reminds us of the fragile balance that our planet must maintain and how connected every organism is to others. The most amazing thing to me is the huge efforts some animals must undertake just to survive - long migrations for food and water, months without eating, and outmaneuvering hungry predators. After seeing the trials of these animals, is it really such an effort to remember your reusable bags as you head into the grocery store with its bounty of food or to to turn off the faucet while you brush your teeth? These simple actions are a small step in the direction of the efforts we need to take as a planet to help us keep these beautiful creatures around for future generations. As an added bonus, Disney will be planting a tree for every ticket sold during opening week of earth.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day 2009!

Happy Earth Day! Earth Day was founded by Gaylord Nelson and was first celebrated on April 22, 1970 as a day to teach people about the environmental dangers facing our earth. Like most holidays, Earth Day is becoming commercialized and over-hyped. Thinking about the Earth and our impact on it one day a year is not enough. What can you do to celebrate Earth Day in a meaningful way? As a family pledge to make one small change that you can continue long term to make every day Earth Day. Remind your family of the beauty of our planet by spending time outdoors- go on a nature hike, a stroll on the beach, or stargazing.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Celebrating Earth Day

Wednesday, April 22nd is Earth Day, a day to reconnect with nature and to pledge to protect our environment. Looking for ways to celebrate Earth Day with your family?

1. Take a hike through nature and appreciate being outside.

2. Read Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax, a wonderful story with a powerful message.

3. Participate in a beach clean-up.

4. Sign a family pledge to make every day Earth Day by recycling, conserving energy and saving water.

5. Educate your children about key environmental issues like global warming, water conservation, protecting endangered species, and pollution.

6. Host an Earth Dinner - where the focus is on local, sustainable, and organic food. It is a time to reflect on the food's journey to your table - where was it grown and by whom? For more information on hosting an Earth Dinner, visit

Monday, April 20, 2009

Why go veg?

Choosing to eat vegetarian is not just an ethical decision it is an environmental one. Factory farms use extreme amounts of water and grains and produce tons of CO2 emissions. How much of a difference can a vegetarian diet make?

If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would save 100 billion gallons of water, 70 million gallons of gas and 3 million acres of land. We would also eliminate greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 1.2 million tons of CO2, as much as what all of France produces!

Not ready to go completely vegetarian - make a difference for your family's and the planet's health by choosing to serve at least once vegetarian meal a week. Will this make a difference - you bet! According to Environmental Defense, if every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads.

Celebrate Earth Day this week with a vegetarian meal. Looking for some great vegetarian recipes? Check out

Sunday, April 19, 2009

TV Turn Off Week

April 20-26th is TV Turn Off Week. Why should you turn off your TV? Televisions, video games, and computers cut into family time, lead to a sedentary lifestyle, and use a lot of electricity. How big is the problem? We are currently a society of more televisions than people. On average, people watch 4 hours of television and then spend another 4 plus hours with computers, games, iPods and cell phones - this is just for recreational use and does not include work use of these devices. By turning off screens(television, computer, and games) you will gain time to think, read, create, and connect with family and friends. Learn more at
Need some ideas for how to spend your free time?

1. Visit the library for books you can read aloud as a family.
2. Attend events in the community - concerts, plays, school sporting events,etc.
3. Cook a meal together as a family.
4. Have a family game night.
5. Put a puzzle together.
6. Visit a zoo or museum.
7. Go on a bike ride, skateboarding, roller skating, or play a game outside.
8. Volunteer in the community.
9. Write letters to friends and relatives instead of emailing.
10. Plant a garden.
11. Go on a nature hike.
12. Clean out your closets and donate excess items to Goodwill.
13. Start a journal.
14. Work on your favorite craft or learn a new one.
15. Bake a batch of homemade cookies.
16. Check out the night sky for constellations and planets.
17. Go through old photo albums and share stories as a family.
18. Write a story.
19. Teach your pet a new trick.
20. Go for a walk around your neighborhood.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Earth Day 2009 Freebies

With Earth Day coming this Wednesday several companies are offering some earth-friendly freebies.

Home Depot
Starting April 19th Home Depot is giving away one million Ecosmart CFL lighbulbs and water-saving faucet aerator inserts in their stores. Home Depot is also offering a free Eco-Options workshop Saturday April 25th. Visit for more information and to find your local store.

Calypso Studios
Calypso Studios who make great reusable bags is giving away $10,000 worth of their Acts of Kindness bags. Visit their website and register before 12pm on April 22nd for your chance to win
Join by April 23rd and receive an exclusive free download of their award winning book, Wake Up and Smell the Planet and you will also be entered for a chance to win tickets and airfare for two to the 2009 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, TN June 11-14.
The Eco-Office Gals are having a “Green My World” giveaway worth over $400! I love this site they have tons of great tips & green product info

Reynolds Wrap
This Earth Day, try Reynolds Wrap® Foil from 100% Recycled Aluminum Free with mail-in rebate (up to $3.99) Rebate available for download only on Earth starting at 4:22am at their website

On April 19th Target is giving away 1 million reusable bags with any purchase. Visit for your local store.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bad news for sea turtles

Sometimes it seems that making green changes are more hype than help for the planet. However by choosing reusable bags over plastic bags at the store not only are you keeping plastics out of landfills, you are protecting critically endangered sea turtles. The leatherback sea turtle's favorite meal is jellyfish. When plastic bags and balloons are floating on the ocean's surface they are easily confused for jellyfish by the turtles. A study of over 400 necropsy reports of leatherback turtles found plastic in the digestive system of a 1/3 of the turtles. While researchers aren't saying the plastic is the immediate cause of death, Mike James, a marine biologist at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, says: "Eating something that is plastic can't be good for you, whether it leads to death or not."

What can you do to help sea turtles...

1. Choose reusable bags over plastic bags when shopping.

2. Do not release balloons into the air at celebrations.

3. When you visit the beach, pick up any plastics you find on the beach and dispose of them properly.

4. Support organizations that educate the public about sea turtles like the Caribbean Conservation Corporation

Monday, April 13, 2009

Recycle Easter

Even if you decided to celebrate an earth-friendly Easter, you will still have some recycling to do.

1. Gather up any plastic eggs and pack them up for next year, this will save you money and reduce the amount plastic you buy.

2. I know you were eco-conscious and avoided buying plastic Easter grass, but basket giving grandparents & friends may not have been - what to do with the grass? Use it to cushion items you ship or as filler in gift baskets throughout the year.

3. Reuse your child's Easter basket. We have a large natural basket we use throughout the year - it holds Christmas presents, Easter goodies, birthday gifts, etc.

4. Recycle any cardboard packaging.

5. Compost your Easter egg shells.

6. Don't be lured by after Easter sales unless it is to purchase decorations that can be used year after year or natural baskets that can be used for gift giving or storage around the house.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Eco Easter

This Sunday is Easter and you may be wondering if there is a way to celebrate a little greener. Here are some earth friendly Easter tips:

1. Choose an Easter basket made from natural materials.

2. Skip the artificial grass and opt for a more natural filler like raffia, yarn or shredded recycled paper.

3. When it comes to eggs, purchase fresh eggs from a local farm and color them with natural dyes - for egg dying tips check out my Eco Easter Eggs post from last year.

4. Instead of plastic trinkets, fill the basket with soy crayons, wood toys, tickets to the local museum or a play, or homemade coupons for game nights, movie nights, or fun family activities.

5. No basket is complete without a sweet treat or two, when buying candy choose organics like Surf Sweets Organic Jelly Beans, Yummy Earth Organic Fruit Lollipops, or Sweet Earth Organic Chocolate Eggs.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Disposing of CFLs

While compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) are great when it comes to saving energy, they do contain a small amount of mercury and need to be disposed of safely. Here's some tips for disposing of CFLs without trashing the environment:

1. Check to see if your current garbage service recycles CFLs.
2. Retail stores like IKEA and Home Depot offer a free CFL take-back program.
3. Check to find local recycling at

If you want to avoid the mercury in CFLs check out LED light bulbs. LED light bulbs are shatterproof, run cool to the touch, and contain no mercury or hazardous substances and while they will last longer than CFLs they are currently much more expensive starting at $25 a bulb. Hopefully as the technology improves on LEDs the price will decrease.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Earthbound Farms

In honor of Earth Day, Earthbound Farms has a Sustain Yourself, Sustain the Planet Pledge you can take. The pledge explores simple changes you and your family can make to help the Earth like eating organic foods, switching to reusable water bottles, reducing your meat consumption, composting, and more. As an added bonus for taking the pledge, if you are one of the first 10,000 people to take the pledge each week in April, you’ll win an Earthbound Farm reusable shopping tote! Take the pledge and learn more at

Monday, March 30, 2009

Earth Hour 2009 Update

On Saturday night, lights went out in 4,085 cities in 88 countries in what is being described as the largest demonstration of public concern about climate change in history. How did you spend your Earth Hour? We enjoyed a candlelight meal of eggplant, tomatoes, and garlic fresh from the farmers market. After dinner we played some rummy by candlelight while enjoying some organic wine. I noticed a few of our neighbors had also turned off their lights for the hour. Earth Hour was a message for world leaders to address climate, however you are responsible for doing your part to battle climate change. Here are some easy earth friendly changes you can make:

1. Switch to Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs)and remember to turn off the lights when you leave a room.
2. Replace your air conditioner filters monthly.
3. Be aware of phantom loads - unplug appliances and electronics when they are not in use.
4. Go vegetarian at least once a week.
5. Drive smarter - keep your car tuned up, your tires properly inflated, and plan your errands to avoid unnecessary trips.
6. Shop your local farmers market.
7. Line dry your laundry whenever possible.
8. Install a low flow showerhead and strive to take 5 minute showers.
9. Reduce the packaging that comes into your house by buying fresh produce and bulk items.
10. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Tonight is Earth Hour 2009...

Don't forget tonight is Earth Hour 2009. Tonight at 8:30pm local time turn off all non-essential lighting and mark the hour by gathering your family for a game night, enjoying dinner by candlelight, stargazing in the darker sky, or by joining friends in a candlelit party for the planet. However you choose to mark the hour, supporting Earth Hour will send a message to world leaders it's time to address climate change.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

5 uses for hydrogen peroxide

Who knew that little inexpensive brown bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide could do so much?

1. Dip your toothbrushes in peroxide after brushing to keep them germ-free.

2. Clean your counters and table tops with peroxide to kill germs.

3. After cleaning your wooden cutting board, pour peroxide on it to kill salmonella and other bacteria.

4. Fill a dark colored spray bottle, since peroxide breaks down quickly when exposed to light, with a 50/50 mixture of peroxide and water and use it to disinfect the toilet and bathroom surfaces without harming your septic system.

5. Add a cup of peroxide instead of bleach to your white laundry.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

White House Garden

On Friday, March 20th, 2009, 23 third graders joined First Lady Michelle Obama on the South Lawn of the White House to break ground on an 1100 square foot kitchen garden that will provide organic produce for the first family and for world leaders and guests at formal dinners. In an effort to lead by example and to encourage others to plant a garden, the garden is being planted so it is visible from the street. A food garden was last planted on the White House lawn in 1943 by Eleanor Rossevelt during a time in our country's history similar to our current struggles - the economy was weak and the country was at war. According to the New York Times, the garden will have 55 varieties of vegetables grown from organic seedlings started at the executive mansion’s greenhouses. Michelle Obama says the garden will be a family affair with everyone helping out including the president.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Earth Hour 2009

On March 28, 2009 at 8:30 p.m., join hundreds of millions of people around the world in making a statement about climate change by turning off your lights for Earth Hour, an event created by the World Wildlife Fund. Earth Hour will send the message that Americans care about climate change and that they will join the rest of the world in finding solutions to the escalating climate crisis.

During last year's Earth Hour over 50 million people, including 36 million in the U.S., representing over 400 cities on all seven continents turned out their lights. The lights were turned off at some of the world's most well known landmarks including the Sydney Opera House, Bangkok's Wat Arun Buddhist temple, the Coliseum in Rome, Stockholm's Royal Castle, London's City Hall, New York's Empire State Building, Sears Tower in Chicago, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and Cola-Cola's famous billboard in Times Square.

New for this year is a great website just for kids, On the Earth Hour Kids site there is information, games, and lesson plans for teachers to use to educate their students about climate change and Earth Hour.

So gather up your soy candles and join in this worldwide statement about global warming and turn off your lights at 8:30 p.m. for an hour. Visit for more info.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Hope's Lessons

Recently our guide dog puppy in training Hope returned to Southeastern Guide Dogs to finish her training. Hope is the second puppy we raised for this awesome group who provides free guide dogs for veterans and other who have need them. While we taught Hope all the basics she needs to hopefully succeed in her training she taught us a lot about life. Here are some lessons Hope taught our family:

1. Live in the moment. Dogs don't worry about the past or future, they fully enjoy the current moment.

2. Trust your instincts. Pay attention to others body language and energy, it will tell you more about them than the words they use.

3. Be sure to communicate clearly with others. Dogs only understand clearly given commands, too many words can be confusing - the same can be true for people.

4. Don't hold on to negative feelings. If dogs in a pack have a conflict they resolve the dispute and move on.

5. Celebrate each day. According to Cesar Milan, "For a dog, every morning is Christmas morning. Every walk is the best walk, every meal is the best meal, every game is the best game." Live like a dog and celebrate life's simplest moments.

Want to learn more about the amazing experience of being a puppy raiser for Southeastern Guide Dogs or more about their great programs check out

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Are lower gas prices really a good thing?

Now that gas prices are staying below the $2 a gallon mark, are you still conserving gas? When gas was $4 a gallon people were more conservative with their driving and got in the habit of combining trips and eliminating unnecessary driving. Low gas prices can mean more money in your pocket if you continue your improved driving habits, but are they good for our country overall? Maybe not...

1. There is a direct relationship between the price of gas and the number of deaths in auto accidents each year. This past year when gas prices skyrocketed and people reduced their driving, there was the first significant reduction in driving fatalities in decades.

2. Mass transit ridership will decline.

3. There will be less pressure to find ways to reduce our country's dependence on foreign oil.

What can you do to help with these negative aspects of low gas prices?

1. Continue to limit your driving as much as possible and remember to be a safe driver while on the roads.

2. Encourage local politicians to increase mass transit opportunities in your town and continue to lobby the government to pursue alternative energy sources.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Green your St. Patty's Day

Tomorrow is the "greenest" of all holidays - St. Patrick's Day. When you celebrate tomorrow spread a little luck of the Irish to the planet by making earth friendly choices for your bash.

1. Serve "green" beer by purchasing organic beer. Some great choices - Whole Foods’ Old Plowshare Stout, Peak Organic Beers, and Anheuser-Busch's Stone Mill.

2. When it comes to the Wearing of the Green, avoid the cheap St. Patty's themed clothes and opt for a green organic tee instead.

3. Serve some great Irish veggies - organic potatoes or organic cabbage. Or look for recipes for Irish favorites made with meat substitutes since going veg is once of the greenest things you can do.

4. Discover your own pot of gold in the form of money saved. Choosing reusable products for your party will save you money while reducing your impact on the planet.

5. Irish eyes will be smiling when you give your guests something green for their garden. Give seed packets of organic clover as party favors instead of some plastic item that will eventually end up in the landfill and your guests just may be rewarded with a four-leaf clover.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Greener Kitty Litter

Traditional clay kitty litter is not very earth friendly as the clay is strip-mined from the Earth destroying animal habitats. Not only is clay litter bad for the planet, it can be dangerous for your cat as it contains silica dust which is a known carcinogen.

I have tried several alternative, earth-friendly kitty litter options - ground corncobs, wheat, recycled newspaper pellets. However my absolute favorite is pine pellets. Pine pellets are a by-product from sawmills in which sawdust that would normally end up in landfills is formed into pellets. The pellets have a fresh woody smell, are low tracking, and are very absorbent. I find that the pine pellets absorb odor better than clay litters and last longer. My cat made the switch to pine pellets very easily and since he loves to dig around in his litter I'm glad he is not exposed to the silica dust found in regular litter. I personally use Publix's Greenwise Pine Pellets which performs the same as brand name pine litters but is more reasonably priced.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Vegan Wheat Bread

Yesterday I made a delicious batch of homemade bread. It disappears pretty quick around here, but can be stored in the refrigerator for about a week. Enjoy.

Vegan Wheat Bread

2 1/2 cups warm water
4 cups organic whole wheat flour
2-3 cups organic unbleached white flour
2 tablespoon of yeast or two packages
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon salt

Mix water, yeast and 1 tablespoon of the molasses together in a large bowl. Pour in 3 cups of wheat flour and mix well. Cover the bowl with a towel and let sit for a 30 minutes.

Pour in the rest of the molasses, oil, soy milk and salt. Mix together. Begin adding flour, a 1 cup at a time. I mix the dough in my Kitchen Aid mixer with the dough hook until it is smooth and elastic, but you can also knead by hand.

Split the dough into two, equal parts. Shape them into loaves and place them into two greased bread pans. Cover pans with a towel in a warm place and let the dough rise until it doubles in size, about an hour to an hour and a half.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Super Wasteful Promo

During last night's Super Bowl there was a 90-second 3D preview of the upcoming movie "Monsters vs. Aliens". This huge media stunt distributed 150 million 3D glasses at 28,000 locations at the cost of tens of millions dollars.

We watched the commercial with 3D glasses we already had in our house and it was really lame. Now most of those 150 million glasses will end up in landfills. Shame on you Disney this was stupid and wasteful. I don't know if my family would have gone to see this movie or not, but we are definitely not going after this wasteful stunt.

If you picked up a pair of 3D glasses for the Super Bowl, put them to good use at where you can view 3D photos from National Parks.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Green your Super Bowl Party

This weekend across America people will gather to celebrate the annual tradition of Super Bowl Sunday. Like with all your parties, try to minimize your impact on the planet while enjoying your friends and family. Here's some tips to keep your party Super Green:

1. Huddle up with your family and make a list of everything you'll need for your party to eliminate wasting gas on extra trips.

2. Hit the local farmer's market for super fresh veggies for your guests. Vegetarian dishes will save you money, use less resources to produce, and are healthy.

3. Score big with your guests by choosing organic food whenever possible - scout out your local grocery store for organic chips, dips, beer, wine, and more.

4. Tackle your waste by using real plates & glasses, and cloth napkins while entertaining instead of disposables.

5. Coach your guests in saving the planet by setting up recycling centers for bottles and cans.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

5 great reasons to give up bottled water

There are a million reasons why we need to break our country's addiction to bottled water - it's ridicously expensive, bad for the environment, totally unnessary, - the list goes on and on. Here's 5 reasons why you need to kick the bottled water habit:

1. Save $500 a year by breaking a bottle a day water habit.

2. According to, you could run 100,000 cars for a year on the amount of oil used to make plastic water bottles.

3. Nine out of 10 single use water bottles are thrown away insead of recycled.

4. If you drank the recommended 8 cups of water per day by drinking single serving Aquafina bottles, you would spend $2,500 a year! Kinda crazy in this current economic crisis to spend money on something you can get for free.

5. In most taste tests, people can't taste the difference between bottled or tap water. In fact the top selling bottled waters - Aquafina and Dasani - come from municipal water supplies.

Make the switch to reusable stainless steel water bottles, your pocketbook and the planet will thank you. Check out the great bottles available at

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Clean up...

When it comes time to clean up your little ones messy hands, steer clear of antibacterial soaps. Scientists say they are no more effective at cleaning than regular soap and can make germs more resistant in the long run. Most antibacterials kill germs with triclosan, a chemical which can reduce the effectiveness of antibiotics. Instead choose natural soaps, such as glcerin-based soaps or organic shea or cocoa butter soaps. What about when your on the run? Avoid hand sanitizers with triclosan and ethyl alcohol. Ethyl alcohol is a highly flammable skin irritant which can be deadly if ingested by children. My favorite product for cleaning hands on the go is CleanWell Hand Sanitizer Spray which kills 99.99% of germs with kid safe, non toxic, biodegradable, and renewable ingredients.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Recycle with Intent

I've previously discussed recycling magazines, which can be recycled by donating them to the library, nursing homes, or in some locations in your curbside recycling bin. However here's a fun activity to do before you recycle your magazines, use them to make an intention collage. I spent last night with some amazing women hanging out and making collages. Every creation was as unique as the woman who made it - some choose images, others words or phrases, others included beads or other objects that spoke to them. What is an intention collage or vision board? It is a collection of pictures, images, words, or phrases that reflects your passions or desires. You can do a board to bring a specific thing into your life - a new home, a puppy, a new career - or you can create a collage to discover your passions. Start by going through magazines and cut out phrases or pictures that appeal to you - don't analyze why you like a particular image or word just trust your intuition. Then go through your clippings and choose your favorites, weeding out ones that no longer feel right. Glue your items on your board and hang it in a place you will see it often. My collage came together to reveal my passion for living green and my desire to simplify mine & my family's life this year. I plan to do another collage with some things I'd like to manifest - a new home, a trip to Costa Rica, etc. My daughter also wants to make one, so I guess my magazines will hang around a bit longer before they make it to the recycling pile.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Eat the View

Now is the time for change and let's encourage Obama to start at home by planting an organic garden at the White House.

A vegetable garden at the White House is not a new idea, John Adams planted a garden during his presidency. During World War II, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt planted a Victory Garden on the White House lawn. With her support, the Victory Garden program grew to nearly 20 million Victory Gardens across the U.S., producing 40% of all the country's vegetables. The program was encouraged through gardening handbooks, rallies, recipe contests, and media support.

President Obama has brought hope to many in this nation and across the globe and while we all bask in the honeymoon phase of his presidency, hopefully he will take advantage of this special time to inspire everyone to make changes to help our country recover from our economic crisis.

So start planning your own organic garden and encourage President Obama to plant the First Lawn with organic vegetables for the White House and local food pantries by signing the petition at

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Solutions from the Green Economy

Reposted from Green America -

Everyone now understands that the economy is broken.

While many name the mortgage and credit-default-swap crises as culprits, they are only the most recent indicators of an economy with fatal design flaws. Our economy has long been based on what economist Herman Daly calls “uneconomic growth” where increases in the GDP come at an expense in resources and well-being that is worth more than the goods and services provided. When GNP growth exacerbates social and environmental problems—from sweatshop labor to manufacturing toxic chemicals—every dollar of GNP growth reduces well-being for people and the planet, and we’re all worse off.

Our fatally flawed economy creates economic injustice, poverty, and environmental crises. It doesn’t have to be that way. We can create a green economy: one that serves people and the planet and offers antidotes to the current breakdown.
Here are six green-economy solutions to today’s economic mess.

1. Green Energy—Green Jobs
A crucial starting place to rejuvenate our economy is to focus on energy. It’s time to call in the superheroes of the green energy revolution—energy efficiency, solar and wind power, and plug-in hybrids—and put their synergies to work with rapid, large-scale deployment. This is a powerful way to jumpstart the economy, spur job creation (with jobs that can’t be outsourced), declare energy independence, and claim victory over the climate crisis.

2. Clean Energy Victory Bonds
How are we going to pay for this green energy revolution? We at Green America propose Clean Energy Victory Bonds. Modeled after victory bonds in World War II, Americans would buy these bonds from the federal government to invest in large-scale deployment of green energy projects, with particular emphasis in low-income communities hardest hit by the broken economy. These would be long-term bonds, paying an annual interest rate, based in part on the energy and energy savings that the bonds generate. During WWII, 85 million Americans bought over $185 billion in bonds—that would be almost $2 trillion in today’s dollars.

3. Reduce, Reuse, Rethink
Living lightly on the Earth, saving resources and money, and sharing (jobs, property, ideas, and opportunities) are crucial principles for restructuring our economy. This economic breakdown is, in part, due to living beyond our means—as a nation and as individuals. With the enormous national and consumer debt weighing us down, we won’t be able to spend our way out of this economic problem. Ultimately, we need an economy that’s not dependent on unsustainable growth and consumerism. So it’s time to rethink our over-consumptive lifestyles, and turn to the principles of elegant simplicity, such as planting gardens, conserving energy, and working cooperatively with our neighbors to share resources and build resilient communities.

4. Go Green and Local
When we do buy, it is essential that those purchases benefit the green and local economy—so that every dollar helps solve social and environmental problems, not create them. Our spending choices matter. We can support our local communities by moving dollars away from conventional agribusiness and big-box stores and toward supporting local workers, businesses, and organic farmers.

5. Community Investing
All over the country, community investing banks, credit unions, and loan funds that serve hard-hit communities are strong, while the biggest banks required bailouts. The basic principles of community investing keep such institutions strong: Lenders and borrowers know each other. Lenders invest in the success of their borrowers—with training and technical assistance along with loans. And the people who provide the capital to the lenders expect reasonable, not speculative, returns. If all banks followed these principles, the economy wouldn’t be in the mess it’s in today.

6. Shareowner Activism
When you own stock, you have the right and responsibility to advise management to clean up its act. Had GM listened to shareholders warning that relying on SUVs would be its downfall, it would have invested in greener technologies, and would not have needed a bailout. Had CitiGroup listened to its shareowners, it would have avoided the faulty mortgage practices that brought it to its knees. Engaged shareholders are key to reforming conventional companies for the transition to this new economy – the green economy that we are building together.

It’s time to move from greed to green.

--Alisa Gravitz

Monday, January 19, 2009

Get Cozi...

Why not save a few trees by switching to a paperless calendar this year? Consider one of the free online planners, such as Cozi. The Cozi calendar allows you to personalize your calendar display with different colors for each family member. Cozi also has a family journal, shopping lists, Christmas Card list,a screen saver option from your personal photos, you can send emails to your family members, jot notes, store recipes, and it can even be synced with Microsoft Outlook. When entering activities you choose their frequency - daily, weekly, every Tuesday, etc. - eliminating the need to enter the same information multiple times. Depending on your child's school district you can even download school calendars onto your family calendar. I love the fact that when I have access to the internet, I have my calendar no need to remember to carry my planner with me and best of all nothing to recycle at the end of the year. Check out Cozi at

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Vegan "Buttermilk" Pancakes

Are you vegan and missing the taste of homemade buttermilk pancakes? Then try this tasty vegan version.

Vegan "Buttermilk" Pancakes

1/2 cup organic whole wheat flour
1/2 cup organic unbleached flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup evaporated cane juice
1 1/2 tsp. Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 2 Tbsp. warm water
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup soy milk
1 Tbsp. white vinegar

To make the "buttermilk" combine the soy milk with the vinegar and let stand 2 minutes for it to curdle. Meanwhile in a bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, and evaporated cane juice. In another bowl, combine egg replacer mix, canola oil, and buttermilk; 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!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The 5 Minute Shower

The change to the 5 minute shower was an intimidating one for me since I loved a long, hot shower and I seemed to get all my brilliant ideas in the shower. However once I started timing my showers I found it was pretty easy to get squeaky clean in just 5 minutes. Now I will confess there are still a few times that my shower runs long - just recently I had a bad head cold and boy did a steamy shower really help that out. As far as my thinking goes I still have plenty of time in the shower to brainstorm and I've taken to carrying a notebook with me and letting my mind wander when I am stuck at traffic lights, doctor's offices, whenever I have a little downtime.

Why is shortening your shower so important? Even if you have a low-flow shower head a 5 minute shower will use 7-8 gallons of water. If you haven't installed a low-flow shower, put this on your must do list as a 5 minute shower without one can use an astronomical 20 gallons of water!

Getting my daughter to take a 5 minute shower is one of my family's green resolutions for 2009. As little as she is I'm not sure what takes so long in there, but I know it requires a lot of singing! To help her with her goal I got a Shower Coach timer. This great timer suctions on the side of the shower and has a 5 minute sand timer. The Shower Coach makes easy for her to see how much singing time she has left.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Greening your family

Is one of your resolutions for your family to live greener in 2009? If you want to make lasting changes in your home you will have to encourage your family to join you in your quest. So call a family meeting to brainstorm what changes you want to make and a game plan to make them happen. Here are some guidelines for your family green meeting:

1. Make sure everyone has equal input by writing down all ideas that are offered.

2. Vote on what ideas you want to adopt this year.

3. Get your goals in writing. Having your goals in writing helps your family take ownership of their actions.

4. Plan monthly family meetings to review how you are progressing on your goals. This will help you track your family's progress and reinforce what your goals for the year are on a regular basis.

5. Reward your family for accomplishing their goals by planning a fun family outing with the money you save by making your green changes.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A Bright Green Year...

Happy 2009! It's a new year which is a great time to evaluate my family's actions and how to live greener in 2009. Here's my family's goals for this year:

1. Plant an organic garden this spring.

2. Use our clothesline more.

3. Hook our home theater system up to a Smartstrip.

4. Buy local whenever possible.

5. Check my tire pressure monthly to save money on tires and gas.

6. Train my husband to shut down the computer when he's done with it!

7. Shoes off at the door.

8. Limit purchases to those items we really need.

9. Get my daughter to take 5 minute showers.

10. Continue to educate others about the importance of going green and the simple changes they can make to live a little greener.