Mar 25, 2011

Technical Difficulties

I am experiencing technical difficulties with my site and posting today...I hope to have my Eco-friendly Friday post up this evening but you may have to wait a few days until I have things sorted out.  Sorry for the inconvenience.

Mar 22, 2011

Car Seat Safety

I know I'll a little behind the 8 ball by posting this today, but my computer was not being agreeable yesterday.  I will be so happy when I have saved enough to buy a new one!!!!

The American Academy of Pediatrics released new recommendations for the use of car seats and boosters that are going to be an adjustment to those of us who have small children.  We saw recently the change to older children using boosters longer, and these new standards now are designed to keep the youngest members of our family safe in our vehicles.

I know some (including my husband) think that keeping an older child in a booster while in middle school if they aren't the proper height is humiliating.  I think that as this generation in our car seats now will think it's normal and expected, just as wearing a seat belt is now.  Just because we weren't required to do something as a child does not mean that it was the safest thing that we could have been doing. 

I highly recommend you checking out this article on the new guidelines which also addresses some of the common questions/concerns parents have.  It would also be a good idea to look at some of the other resources available on the AAP's site.

I would also suggest that you go to get your seats checked at a safety seat check location and re-read your seat manual.  I have seen many seats installed or used incorrectly and it's worth the 15 minutes.  The biggest things I suggest you check are: that the latch tether strap is flat and tight, that you apply pressure when installing (I kneel full weight into the seat as I tighten the tethers), the chest strap needs to be aligned over the nipples or the armpits on infants, and remember to attach the top tether to an anchor point (not a cargo loop.)

Mar 18, 2011

Eco-Friendly Friday

This month we have been talking about ways to green your home.  Today we are going to green your laundry room! 

I was lucky(?) a couple years ago to have my old top loading washer break so we replaced it with an energy efficient front loading machine which saves us water and energy consumption.  Another easy way to save energy is to line dry your clothes instead of using the dryer, of course that is not always possible.  My dryer has a moisture sensor so I can set it to any degree of dryness and it will adjust the time accordingly. 

Laundry detergent and household cleaners are another important part of greening your home.  You can purchase an increasing array of environmentally friendly cleaners (though it's a good idea to look into them to make sure they are not just green washing).  You can also make your own if you are so inclined and there are a multitude of recipes online and plenty of books for purchase at your local book store.

Do you have any suggestions for greening your laundry room that I missed?

Mar 15, 2011

Busy Busy

Wow, is it really almost 9 pm already?  This day has flown by! Today was one of my "kid free" days so I could get some work done.  I ended up doing a ton of laundry, working a little on each of my business, and meeting with a friend from church to do some future visioning.  I'm always amazed at how quickly the day goes by when you start checking off the items on the good ol' to do list.  I will say that I don't know why I bother putting things like vacuuming, laundry, and cleaning bathrooms on the list...they seem to magically turn dirty again the moment they are checked off!

I really had wanted to post this morning to let you know that I was going to be one of the WAHM mamma's featured in The Spotted Box this month.  If you've never heard of The Spotted Box, you really need to check them out.  They put together boxes filled with coupons and samples of various Eco & family friendly products for you to try out.  They stock on the 15th of the month at noon, 3 & 9 pm EST and usually sell out almost instantly.  It seems that all the boxes have sold for this month, but be sure to check them out next month as I believe that are going to be having an awesome box from what I've heard so far.

Well off to my knitting I go...

Mar 11, 2011

Eco-Friendly Friday

For the second installment of my "Green Your Home" series I thought we could focus on the Bathroom.  The biggest impact of the bathroom is through water waste and there are many simple yet effective ways to combat that waste.  I would hope that if your reading this blog you already use cloth towels instead of the disposable type! Other ways to green your bathroom you might not think about are:
  • Add a water saving aerator to sink faucets.
  • Consider changing your shower head to a WaterSense version, really not as expensive as you might think and easy to do on your own.
  • Change the flapper in your toilet to a low-flow alternative, again cheap and easy to install on your own...I've done three myself!
  • Make sure you fix any leaking faucets.
  • Take short showers and turn the water off while soaping up.  There are some shower heads that even allow you to turn the flow into a dribble so you don't get a cold water shock when you turn it back on.
  • Turn the water off while your brushing your teeth.
  • Use eco-friendly cleaning products.
  • Make sure the lights/fan are out when the bathroom is not in use.
  • Females - you could use reusable feminine care products like the Diva Cup or cloth pads.
  • You could even subscribe to the notion "If it's yellow let it mellow...if it's brown flush it down."

Our biggest issue is needing to run the faucets for a long time while waiting for hot water to arrive.  There are several different systems on the market now for instant hot water heaters that can be installed along the pipes.  We would love to do that (especially for our Kitchen sink where it takes forever to get hot water) but that is a higher cost fix that we simply can't afford at the present moment. 

I'm sure there are other ways to green your what do you do?

Mar 10, 2011

Overwhelmed by Life

Somehow everything going on in my life snuck up on me and took least that's how it feels.  I barely have time to breathe some days it seems!  I've always been busy, but it feels like I had more time when I was a young girl of 16 and in every club imaginable at school.  I have so many items on my "To Do" list that I never seem to get to my "Want to Do" list.  Has the pace of life really changed that much?  I worry what things are going to be like once my boys are in school and have sports practice, cub scouts, and any other number of activities.  Just today I have spent a majority of my day working on things for my two home-based businesses and almost had a panick attack when I realized what time it is.  I still have a zillion things I need to get done and I only have about an hour to do them! Needless to say many of them are not going to be done.

I am definitely struggling with balance it seems. How do you maintain the balance in your life...or are you as off kilter as I am?  Sometimes I feel like everyone around me is coping so much better than I am, but I often wonder if they are actually in the exact same spot I am putting off a "everything's cool" front like I attempt to do. 

Mar 9, 2011


Any time a new cartoon movie is advertised on the TV, my almost 5 year old begs to go see it.  We don't bring him to the movies very often, but occasionally as a treat.  It is important to us that it is a movie we think he will enjoy and would be appropriate for him.  Recently, a friend decided to bring her young daughter to see Rango and was upset to see how violent and in many ways inappropriate the movie was for her daughter.  She assumed that with the PG rating and the cartoon cast it would contain the occasional adult focused jokes that would mean nothing to a young child and otherwise it would be a fine movie.  I had been planning on seeing that same movie and now I'm thinking twice about it.  It caused me to search out a way to check into the ratings for these movies, as a rating of G, PG, PG-13, etc. often means very little.  Each family has their own values to uphold and something that offends my friend might not offend me.  I have two sites I'd like to share with you to help you decide if a movie is appropriate for your kids or not. 

The first is Parent Reviews. This site will tell you why the movie has been given its MPAA rating and goes into more detail about the movie.  They give letter grades for Violence, Sexual Content, Language, Drugs/Alcohol, and the movie Overall.  The offer a detailed review by an experienced reviewer, detail on the content of the movie, a place for reader comments and more.

The second is Kids in Mind. They offer a 1-10 rating system for sex & nudity, violence, and profanity then break down each of those ratings with scene details from the movie.  This site is a bit more straight forward than the other, in that it does not give a review, just summaries of the questionable scenes for you to decide if it is appropriate or not.

Hope that helps!

Mar 4, 2011

Eco-Friendly Friday

I've been toying with the idea of a running theme, over a month or so, with my Friday posts.  I decided that I would devote March to simple green changes you can  make in your life.  Just like with dieting, if you make one small change a week it will add up to a whole lot of good at the end!  Each week will focus on an area of the house and give you suggestions for greening your space.

One of the easiest places to decrease waste is in the kitchen, so I'm going to start there.  Some ways to go green in the kitchen are:
  1. Use cloth towels for drying hands, wiping messes, and as a dish cloth.
  2. Use eco-friendly cleansers - you might even reach for natural cleaners like baking soda and lemon juice. There are many websites out there with recipes if your interested in making your own.
  3. Reduce the use of plastic baggies, wrap, and wax paper to store leftovers or pack lunches. If you must use something other than a reusable container, opt for something that can be recycled like paper bags or aluminum foil.
  4. Let your dishes air dry after washing (ie. don't put the dish washer on "heated dry"), this saves a whole lot of energy consumption.
  5. Buy food with a minimum of packaging when possible (think fruits and veggies..insert shameless plug...brought home in reusable produce bags like the one's I sell on Etsy).  If you must buy prepackaged foods, opt for packaging that can be recycled like cardboard egg cartons over the Styrofoam variety. I also try to avoid anything that is individually packaged.
  6. Unplug appliances that do not need to be on all day such as coffee makers, toasters, and any other small appliances on your counters. 
  7. Make sure any major appliances you replace are Energy Star Certified.

What are other ways you go green in the Kitchen?