Monday, January 25, 2010

Recycling and Redefining

Sunday the 17th I drove over to the dump with my recyclables. It was pretty easy. The attendant told me where to take the stuff and I did so... I was kinda concerned that he didn't have something to give me to let me know what may not be recyclable within the categories of paper and plastic. So I dumped all the cardboard that I had collected over the week, including all the cereal, cracker and other such boxes into the "newspaper" area -hope that was ok. I also had collected lots of plastics and don't know the difference, so hopefully they were all recyclable as well! This is something I can do every week easily after Church, with this Sunday being an unusual exception. We were in a huge hurry to get to a meeting that we had already missed half of. So last weeks collection will have to be dropped off early this week.

PS I will be posting pictures of the now-clutter-free-zones, hopefully they don't get re-cluttered before I get around to it!

Plus I was considering the rise in the cost of living and thought that maybe I should shoot for a 10% reduction in my utility bills.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


We are so spoiled in America. We have so much junk! It's everywhere, and if you're like me it's hard to get rid of once it's accumulated. I think that I'll use anything and everything "someday". So it gathers. It's here, it's there and pretty soon it's everywhere-stuff! Stuff everywhere-driving me crazy! So what do I do? Stick it here, stuff it there, put it in a box, throw it in a drawer and then there's the easiest solution, the catch all closet... Well today I tackled several piles of miscellaneous stuff that had accumulated in various places. Kinda embarrassing, but I'd like to think this happens to the best of us!

I'll take the after pictures soon- I feel accomplished, but really all I did was try to put it where similar things reside. Eventually, sooner than later I really want to go through all the drawers and closets and try to get super organized. Throw away what has to be thrown out, give away what is still a useful item and find a place for everything, so that everything has it's place. This is no easy task when you have a husband and kids. Nevertheless, it will be done! I will do it!

Monday, January 11, 2010


Every once in a while I check craigslist's free category, today I stumbled upon baby food jars... If you read my very first posting, you may remember, I listed baby food jars for free on c.l. last summer- nobody responded. I think I wrote the same thing this person did, "I hate to throw them away", but throw them away I did! Ughhh, so I responded with the link for reusing baby food jars and told her (I'm assuming a woman posted them) if she didn't want to do any of these things that I would be interested in getting them from her... I can just see myself as one of those street vendors with all my neat little re-purposed items for sale!

Outrageous Bills...

Our utility bills seemed abnormally high last month- I think I'll make a goal for our family. Reduce our Electricity, Water and Gas usage by 25% compared to last years bills... This ought to be interesting- I'll probably start with shutting the computers down at night and maybe even unplugging them. I also see 2 minute showers in my future. One bad habit I have is leaving the water on while I brush my teeth! Why do I do that? I like to rinse my toothbrush, brush my teeth, rinse, brush, rinse, brush etc. -maybe I'll use a cup of water, I don't know...

Stay positive!

I shouldn't get mad at WM. If more people showed interest in recycling WM would cater to the crowd! So, I need to stay positive and do what I need to do -while encouraging others to do the same- it's always easier than I think it's going to be, to do the right thing. I believe that's why people don't change-change is uncomfortable, it always seems like it's going to be so much harder than it actually is... So let's stay positive and know that it's easy to say AND easy to do -with this mindset it will be! It's not inconvenient to collect, store and transport the papers and plastics to a recycling center- it's the right thing to do! It's not harder to use cloth diapers over disposables (it really isn't)- it's the right thing to do!

WM is lame!

We took two of our neighbors trees to the "Christmas tree recycling center" in Carson, there was a big dumpster in the middle of the parking lot with no signs that indicated what it was there for. I called WM and after much searching the person on the other end finally said that it was on Butti (the road) near JC Penney's- well those two locations are at polar opposite ends of town. We had to assume this was the right place because there where other Christmas Trees in the dumpster. All I have to say is those better get recycled! I feel like we helped our neighbors and made up for our lack of recycling our tree...

Thursday, January 7, 2010


I vaguely remember calling Waste Management when we first moved in about recycling, but my husband's call to them yesterday refreshed my memory. We are unable to do curbside recycling here! Well that makes it a little harder but no less worth it. So we'll begin collecting our recyclables for a donation center that's located in the next town over. I do need to find out if they take it all unsorted or if it needs to be pre-sorted.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Amazon books on the subject...

The Green Book: The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time 

It's Easy Being Green: A Handbook for Earth-Friendly Living 

365 Ways to Live Green: Your Everyday Guide to Saving the Environment 

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: An Easy Household Guide 

The Earth-Friendly Home: Save Energy, Reduce Consumption, Shrink Your Carbon Footprint 

Natural Style: Decorating with an Earth-Friendly Point of View 

Dreaming Green: Eco-Fabulous Homes Designed to Inspire

Tips from a friend...

Subject: Green Tips 
Just thought of a few easy ideas to help your family go green....

#1 Choose the top 3 things used the most in your house to recycle. We recycle alluminum, cardboard, and tin cans. Then change your grocery list to maximize what can be recycled. example: instead of body wash I started buying Dove bar soap. All the moisture benefits for my skin and I can recycle the box. Plastics are bad! My boys love going to the store down the street for sodas etc... Sobe's were their fav until they realized that Arizona tea is in aluminum (recycle) and they save money with re-fillable cups. 

#2 Expand on #1. what can be reused if it cant be recycled? Do you ever buy anything in a 5 gallon bucket like cat litter? Cat litter also comes in cardboard boxes (recycle) but if you have one of those buckets nail some holes in the bottom. Works great to sift rocks out of the soil in your garden or a diaper pail to soak those cloth diapers in. 

#3 Reusable grocery bags are GREAT! Problem is that most people forget them. Dont keep them in a drawyer or a closet. As soon as the food is put away put them back in your car. Everything has a place and that is there's! 

Need more? Check-out this site for advice, tips etc....; OK, I will stop rambling about going green for now. Can you tell that this has become a bit of a passion for me? Barbara

Great Tips! Ramble on my friend!

#1 Plastics are bad! -We need to recycle. In CA it was so easy! We had a green can and a     
     brown can if I remember right. And all we had to do was throw all our recyclables in the 
     brown(?) one, how simple is that!?!
#2 Awesome ideas for the buckets!
#3 Reusable Grocery Bags Rock! I forgot to mention that we do use them and have for at 
     least 9 months, I did have the problem of forgetting them and then started keeping them 
     in the back of the car, much easier!
     Everything has it's place – well the bags are easy 
     (I'll delve into our clutter another day, with pictures and all-yikes!)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Fourteen Ways and BPA's

Feeling 0 for 0. So far my husband seems to be the one leading me to each enlightening moment. This afternoon at Keva Juice, he picked up a local paper and glancing over his shoulder I saw an article  that caught my attention, Green goals: Fourteen ways to be more eco-friendly in 2010. I think I'll refer to this if I ever get stumped as to what to do next. I take it back my husband wasn't the only one to enlighten me, New Years day my friend Christy told me about the yucky BPA's  in common foods like Macaroni and Cheese. She recommended Annie's, which I have seen in the grocery store before. So tonight I went to the store and it wasn't with the regular mac n' cheese, it was hard to find-near the pastas in a special section. After comparing the labels I don't see a significant difference, although Annie's is Certified Organic. I picked up Newman's organic fig newtons and oreo looking things too. I just ate a fig newton, pretty good!

Christmas is over...

So, Christmas is over and we have always gotten a permit to cut our own tree... We did the same thing this year. After we had our tree, my husband, to my surprise said "I know it's fun to go pick out our tree each year, but I feel kinda bad about throwing it out after wards. Should we think about getting a fake tree?" I hadn't even thought about it, but he was right. We didn't even recycle our tree-shame on us... I heard you could do that a few days after we'd already thrown it out. So we started looking at the after Christmas 1/2 price pre-lit trees, still 44 bucks for the size we wanted... Bummer. Then we saw one at the Goodwill, which we frequent. The price was $19.99 - great deal, but it was 9' - that's how tall our ceilings are. Oh, well. Then a few days later, my husband was looking at free stuff on craigslist. He found a 7'6" pre-lit (white lights even) for FREE in our very neighborhood. The ad said that it was outside for anyone to come and take- I said "GO!" He figured it would be gone, but it was just a few streets away- he came back home with a tree-in the box! What a blessing! It's a little hard to believe, that big of a tree fits in that relatively small box-we'll see next year how it looks!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Why should I go Green?

It seems to be the new trend, everywhere I look things are organic, bio-degradable and "GREEN". Maybe it's just me, maybe I'm noticing because I am feeling the draw to do my part to make our planet better for our children and our childrens' children. These products that have less chemicals cost more and organic foods cost more-you'd think they'd be less considering less went into the production of them-or maybe this is an ignorance of mine that will soon be discovered.

This year, 2010 is the year that I try to do all things possible to further my education and lessen my "footprint" on the planet...What an adventure! Won't you join me? I'm sure that there will be many hurdles and even a few falls along the way-but, the point is to take this average American family to a different level of living. I know that one family won't make a huge difference, but many will. If this blog can encourage others to move in a similar direction than I'll have accomplished what I hope to...

Where are we now? Well to be honest in Nevada on a scale of 1 to 10, how much we seem to care with our current habits, we're probably a 5 and a half. We don't recycle (yet). We consume products that have more to the packaging than what's actually inside -why do they do that? Food is going to be one of the "hurdles". I love documentaries and PBS (when we had cable) but I've seen so many bad things about the way that chickens, beef and fish are being raised to meet the needs of the masses. I know we need to make changes in this area! We don't buy organic foods (yet) but if you asked us, "we eat pretty healthy" and by healthy we mean that we don't drink soda and consume minimal junk food. One topic I am mildly aware of is the fact that farmed fish are ruining the wild populations. So, there is much to learn about food consumption, for the improvement of my family's health and the betterment of the industry standards. I would love to someday be a family that is completely self sustained with the exception of trade and barter (haven't yet thought of how I could get fresh fish). I know it would be hard to run a farm and that it is not likely that the average person could grow their own food, but I have some ideas that would make it easier and even attainable. Well last but not least, we are terrible pack-rats and have "stuff" everywhere! I recently threw away over 50 baby food jars after posting them in the free section of craigslist with no interest... It was gut-wrenching, why did I do that? What else was I to do? Continue to store the little glass jars precariously in our already over-filled garage, just waiting for a use? Well if I had thought about it a little longer and not so hastily thrown them out because I was tired of the "clutter" I might have found many solutions...

On the upside we did try to grow a garden last year-it was a miserable failure due to unforeseeable circumstances, but we will try again. We made a compost bin from pallets it's almost to the brim with grass clippings and all the acceptable kitchen scraps. Nothing seems to be decomposing, probably because it needs to be turned and it's too heavy and full to do so. Well, that's just another thing to figure out.

The real turn of events-less than three weeks ago I switched to cloth diapers, even though my youngest is already a year and a half. After talking to someone about the negative health issues of disposable diapers, of which I was completely unaware. All this time I thought it was an environmental and economic move for which I should make the switch. Now I had to, I figured "hey, we're going to have one or two more children so might as well get used to it now". When I told my husband, I did not get the response I was expecting, he made me think it was his (unspoken) idea with his what's the big deal attitude-let's do it. Well I was so apprehensive, the thought of it was more than daunting it was petrifying. But I bought a dozen prefolds (the basic cloth diapers) a snappy (used instead of baby pins) two covers and one fitted diaper (the new kind with snaps) called the "Ellara" it's pink camo print-too cute to pass up. Then I washed them as instructed and the first day was such a breeze I was embarrassed with myself for making such an internal fuss. Well the next day was a little more difficult but by then I had calculated the number of disposables I was responsible for in landfills for the next 500 years and I was determined. In fact I was hooked, I had become a cloth diaper junkie! My mom recognized my new "disease" and surprised me at Christmas with 5 more fitted diapers, two all in ones, cloth wipes, a yuck sack, and a sprayer attachment for the bathroom! I was so excited I even joined and offered to volunteer for the RDA!