Feb 28, 2011

Great Green Deal Finder

I'm willing to bet you love a good deal as much as I do.  I have been following a fabulous website over the past year and thought it's about time I shared it with all of you.  Ecobunga! is one of my favorite sites for finding deals and giveaways for green products and services.  They recently switched from a full website of listings to using a Facebook page, but you don't need to be a member of Facebook to take advantage of their page.  Some of the recent deals they have listed are coupons for Newman's Own Organics, Derma e Skincare Samples, and a chance to win a vegetarian cookbook.  If you like saving some green while living green, you definitely need to check them out!

Feb 25, 2011

Eco-Friendly Friday

I will freely admit that I am a bit of a techno geek. I love gadgets. After receiving some gift cards over Christmas and my birthday from my family, I decided to buy a Nook Color. Honestly, I had not even given an e-reader a thought until I started looking into them for my Mom. It is an amazing little green machine and a bit of a money saver too. I say that it is a green machine because it not only allows you to go paper free for books, but you can also receive magazines and newspapers on it.

There are many reasons I really like the Nook (including the Dictionary function where you click a word for a definition.) What surprises me the most is how often I have to fight my oldest son for use of it, as he has several children's books stored on it. I love that it gives the option with some of the children's books to have the story read to them, or they can read it themselves. With the read it yourself option they can still touch a section and have it read to them if they have trouble. It is also quite intuitive to work, he can pick it up and navigate effortlessly to his books and have them read to him.

Beyond the paper-free aspect, there is some money savings as well. Many of the ebooks are cheaper than their paper versions. Your local libraries website most likely has many ebook titles available for lending without stepping into the library itself. The online Barnes & Noble store also offers many titles free - including a free title every Friday! They also have in-store specials if you bring your Nook in, but I have not had a chance to do that yet so I really cannot speak to it. If you happen to have a friend with a Nook there are also certain "Lend Me" books you can share peer to peer like a library loan.

Barnes & Noble is supposedly working on additional apps for the Nook. Even though I do like the Pandora and Sudoku, I am anxiously awaiting the release of a RSS Feed app so I can easily read all my blog feeds with it.

I thought I would miss the feel of a book in my hand, but really, I just love how easy it is to access new books. I have read more in the last few weeks than I probably have in the last year. With kids, it is not so easy to go looking through the stacks at the local library for a good book, but I can handle browsing online with spare minutes here and there, as I am sure you can!

Feb 23, 2011

Great Cloth Diaper Change

Do you have a baby or toddler in cloth diapers and want to be part of a bid for the Guinness Book of World Records? If you answered yes, you need to check out this site: http://greatclothdiaperchange.com/.

On April 23, 2011 all over the United States (and in a few international sites) cloth diapering Mom's and Dad's will be getting together to change cloth diapers.  The event is to raise awareness of modern cloth diapers in honor of Earth Day. 

Right now there isn't a location in Houston. Any of my Houston fluffy butt Mom's or Dad's interested in putting together a Houston location for this event with me?

Feb 22, 2011

Where I am with Cloth Diapers

As a busy Mom (aren't all Mom's busy?) I often struggle with balance.  I try to balance the time I spend caring for my family, the house, trying to bring money in, and taking care of myself.  I am far from perfect and at any given time one of the pieces listed above is neglected (and it is not the kids!) I have had to balance my love of being a crunchy green mom with the realities of life.  I love cloth diapers, but they aren't always convenient.  I have a rather small stash, which is getting smaller as my little one is starting to grow out of a few of them.  I also have a terrible time with cloth at night - he either leaks or wakes with a rash.  I have gotten to the point that we use cloth around the house and disposables when we are out, when all the diapers that fit are in the wash, and at night.  I do have a nice night-time fitted and wool longies, but it is only able to be used a couple times a week.  I am no where near where I would like to be with cloth use, but until I can manage to make some diapers on my own (that don't leak) it will have to do.  My youngest is now two and about to venture into potty training.  I am hoping that I will be able to use cloth trainers on him, but at this point I'll have to make them myself or save up for a bit to afford a toddler stash.  So, I'm calling out to my cloth diaper friends...do you know of a great (I'll even settle for good) cloth trainer pattern or inexpensive premade trainers? I'd love to hear about your favorites!

Feb 18, 2011

Eco-Friendly Friday

Today is a beautiful day here in Houston! It's hard to believe sitting with the windows open that only a week and a half ago I was afraid our water pipes might burst and that we had a nice coating of ice on everything outside those same windows.  What this warm weather does mean is that it is time for me to start sewing the seeds for this years vegetable garden.  Last year I had my husband build us a small raised bed vegetable garden. We got a few carrots, some cherry tomatoes, parsley, and a huge amount of basil out of it.  It wasn't the best bounty ever, we had a few problems with bugs and rabbits attacking various plants, but it wasn't a total loss at least.  We hope this year will be better and that we learned from our mistakes. 

This year we are planning to grow carrots, bell peppers, hot peppers, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, basil, and maybe try scallions again. I did a simple web search for "when to plant vegetable garden" and found a great article in the local paper with a listing of when to plant various vegetables.  This is the page I found for my Houston peeps...http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/gardening/features/6871773.html. Burpe's website also had a lot of growing information for all regions and if you put in your zip code will tell you what you should be doing in your garden each month.

Having your own garden is a great way to go green and potentially save some green.  So, plan that garden and get out there to play in the dirt!

Feb 12, 2011

The *Ahem* Joys of Being a Parent

Well, I'm disappointed that I wasn't able to get an Eco-Friendly Friday post up yesterday but it was all I could do to get out of bed.  I spent most of the week taking care of my oldest son who had some flu like bug and he repaid me by passing it along to me.  Isn't it always the way? The parent that does the sick care ends up sick themselves, despite cleaning and hand washing. So, I spent the day with fever and chills doing all I could to keep down small sips of water.  Thankfully, both of the boys were fine and we were able to send them to daycare so I could rest. I'm feeling better today but still not 100%.  This is suppose to be very busy weekend for us so I'm not sure I'll get any other posts up today, but Monday I should be able to return to a normal posting schedule. Hope your Friday was better than mine!

Feb 10, 2011

Eat To Live - A Book Review

I have struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember. The funny thing is that I know how I should eat and the health consequences for not. I recently read the book Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman, M.D. at the suggestion of a local midwife I had met. The book touts on the cover that you can lose 20 lbs. or more in 6 weeks and hosts numerous endorsements by other medical doctors and diet experts.

Honestly, I found the book a tedious read. The first seven or so chapters speak to the state of the American diet and the consequences of it with titles such as “Digging Our Graves with Forks and Knives: The Effects of the American Diet, Part I”. The book gives background and data supporting the nutritional benefits of his proposed diet and is smattered with real life success stories of his patients. I am sure there are some people that really do need to read all of the effects and the reasons to eat healthy foods, but I am not one of them and felt that I was being whined at for most of the book. I agree with everything he had to say about nutrition based eating and he does support his work with scientific data (which the chemist in me loved!) The rub comes when you put his plan into action. I managed to stick to his “plan” for 2 weeks and it was tough. The basics are to eat a vegetarian diet consisting of unlimited vegetables, fruits, beans & legumes. He does want you to limit cooked starchy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and avocado. If you are on the most aggressive six week plan you also eliminate all dairy, meat, snacks, fruit juice and dried fruit. Seems easy enough, but it was nearly impossible for me to stay within the plan anywhere away from my house!

I did have success on the plan and lost 12 pounds in the course of two weeks (7 of which I have kept off after going back to my semi-normal diet) and I do hope to go back on the less aggressive plan. My biggest hindrance at this point is my kids. They will not (and did not) touch the meals I ate while on the plan and had to make something for myself and for them at every meal. That gets old real quick!
Overall, I think the book is very informative and boasts a plan that will work if you can manage to stick to it.

*Note - I have not in any way, shape, or form been compensated for writing this and have no ties to Dr. Fuhrman or his publisher.*

Feb 8, 2011

Maintenance Complete!

Well, I believe I am done converting over to a new template and getting everything up and running again in record time (for me anyway!)  I would appreciate any comments, suggestions, and/or reports of problems you have while browsing my new design. Enjoy!

Feb 7, 2011

Upcoming Maintainance

I just wanted to write a quick note to let you all know that I have not abandoned the blog again, I just launched my Etsy Shop and have started a second business (more to come on both of those later) so I've been a wee bit busy!  I am also getting a bit frustrated with my blog template and issues I'm having adding certain functions, so I will be re-designing my blog.  That will cause some temporary issues so please bear with me through the process.  On the bright side, when the site is back up and better than ever I will be running a re-launch celebration giveaway!