Archive for the ‘Green Issues’ Category

Fa la la la la la la la la

I finally sent out this year’s Christmas cards – digitally. We’re goin’ greener (and cheaper) this year. We used Hallmark’s Smilebox and I was pretty pleased. Every year I want to include pictures of the boys in our cards, but by the time I get the pics made, I end up not printing enough or not printing them at all…I guess I’m not very organized about the holidays! But Smilebox was great – you can include anywhere from 1 to 100s of pictures, and there are a lot of designs to choose from. For a small fee, you can print them and send without ads – but I am cheap, so I sent the free version (sorry, friends and family!). Plus – no paper! I hate mailing cards that will likely be trashed, so everyone gets a nice holiday greeting from us, and my conscience is clear.

We’ve been doing other homey/green stuff for the holidays too. The boys and I made ornaments out of Baker’s Clay, which I highly recommend. It makes a ton of ornaments! We didn’t paint ours, as was done in the linked example. Instead, I used expired food coloring (which I keep around for crafty things like this). When mixed in the dough, it produced a marbled effect that I liked very much. We made all kinds of shapes – my favorites were the stars, but I also liked the sharks and turtles (done with Playdough cutters)! If you do this, don’t let the kids or canine members of your family eat any of this stuff – the ingredients might be edible on their own, but there’s way to much salt in here to be safe for consumption.

Make Your Own

We also made ornaments out of pipe cleaners – mainly candy canes, but a few hearts and snowflakes too. Really easy and fun, and if you have extremely mischievious boys like ours, who disassembled the tree tonight (not kidding), then you don’t have to worry about anything breaking – these can take a beating, and if they break, you can just make more next year!

I am also doing some homemade gifting, but I can’t blog that – it will spoil the surprise!

We’ve also been playing a lot of Christmas music. The Monkey knows (most of) the words to Jingle Bells, so I finally have someone to sing while I play the piano! I have such wonderful memories of my mom playing Christmas music on the piano when my brother and I were young – Jingle Bells, Silver Bells, Silent Night, Winter Wonderland, and many more. I think, to me, that has always stuck as our biggest holiday tradition from my early childhood. She hasn’t played in years, so now I have her books, and I love playing the songs for the boys now.

How are you celebrating the holidays?

More Vinegar Love

A good write-up on natural cleaning for those interested – I’m so thankful she mentioned the use of essential oil in water for a Febreze effect – I’ve had a hard time finding how to make my own!

I heart vinegar.

BHE and I have recently taken to using vinegar for a lot of our cleaning needs. Need to clean your carpets? Half vinegar, half water versus buying the solution that the Rug Doctor recommends – the floors look just as clean, if not cleaner, it’s cheaper, and there’s no nasty chemical mess. And our kitchen floors have never looked better since switching from your standard, chemical-laden mopping solution to vinegar.

It made me ponder – if vinegar is cheaper, cleans as effectively (if not better), and is friendlier to our bodies (and additionally to the environment) than using that chemical junk – how did we get this way? What happened over the last 25 or 50 years to progress us to this state of affairs? Are marketers that effective at their jobs that they could guilt all the moms of America into chemical cleaners?

Anyway, a couple of vinegar-related links:

Vinegar Tips – 1001 uses; it’s no joke that you can pretty much do anything with vinegar

Surprising Cleaners – this not only details vinegar, but baking soda and a few other natural ways to clean.

So, global warming…


I should go to bed but since I’m actually inspired to write now I’m going to roll with it.

While browsing my bloggy links, I found (via Nashville is Talking – I’m too lazy to link, so look to your right) a post or two on global waming – you know, the “global warming is some big, bad, nasty commie hoax” type of viewpoint.

Now, I’m no scientist – my last science class was AP Biology my senior year of high school, back in 1996 (but, I should add, I did score a 4 of 5 on that AP exam) – but the global warming thing makes sense to me. If we’re pumping chemicals and Lord knows what else into our air – stuff that God never intended to be there – I don’t know, but it seems that the effects would take a toll.

If you don’t buy global warming, fine. But a lot of the anti-global warming crowd seem to think the whole “clean up the air, take care of the Earth” thing is wrong. What’s the harm in cleaning up house, guys? Seriously. Do you want to turn your neighborhood into a landfill? No? Then recycle your plastics, your newspapers – it doesn’t take a lot of time, heck, some of you people probably have a recycling pickup as part of your trash pickup and just don’t take advantage of it! And it doesn’t even have to be expensive to be a little green – my husband last mopped our floors with a vinegar solution vs. going to the store and getting your chemical-laden mop mix – we both swear our kitchen floor has never looked so good, and it’s cheaper to boot!

Anyway, rant over. Happy Belated Earth Day, ya’ll.

Cleaning Green…

The Simple Family has a good post up that got me looking further into green cleaning.

 I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m no Martha Stewart, so I’m not exactly the mistress of the perfect home. Far from it, there’s stuff everywhere. But when you have kids, you want to at least make the attempt at cleanliness…but the cleaning products we’ve been using, the traditional chemical-laden stuff, has been weighing on my mind. I mean really, what’s in there? I didn’t know.

I bought Seventh Generation dish soap a couple of months back, and it smells great. At that time, I discovered that dish soap uses petroleum. You know, petroleum? One of the myriad of reasons we’re in the Middle East? That stuff our society (overly)depends on at this point? Well, it seems we’re cleaning with it too.

I did some research, and turns out green cleaning is pretty easy – and it’s CHEAPER than buying all the chemical junk that you’d find in stores. had this article about the use of common vinegar, baking soda, and lemons as cleaners. I found this site which lists a lot of recipes for making your own cleaners – click on the various room links for the recipes. Clean and Green is another good source for green cleaning recipes. Treehugger has some good information here. And The Simple Family mentions cleaning with vinegar here.

Product Review: Seventh Generation Dish Liquid

I don’t know if it’s obvious from my limited posts, but one of my chief concerns in the global/political area is the environment. Whether or not you buy global warming – I do – I still think it’s our responsibility to try to make things better. God gave us a really beautiful world, ya’ll, and we’re messing it up.

So I am a pretty normal woman – husband, two sons, family dog, two cars, etc… but I am trying to live in a greener way.

So I needed dish soap yesterday, and went to the local Walgreen’s to pick it up. I’ve noticed Seventh Generation diapers before, but only online, so we’ve never had the chance to try them. However, I did notice the dish soap, and I overcame my thrifty nature and paid the extra dollar to get it.

I was a little unsure about the lavender and mint fragrance to it – I am so trained to lemon or orange dish scents – but once I got it home, I really liked it, especially since I use dish soap on my hands any time I need to wash up in the kitchen – which is often. And it seems to clean the dishes really well too.

Here’s the ingredient info, straight from their website:

A unique combination of naturally derived cleaning agents (corn and/or coconut-based surfactants), Natural whole plant essences, Preservative (less than 0.05%), Water.

They also have this fun fact:

If every household in the U.S. replaced just one 25 oz. bottle of petroleum based dishwashing liquid with our vegetable based product, we could save 86,000 barrels of oil, enough to heat and cool 4,900 U.S. homes for a year!

I had no clue that regular dishwashing liquid was petroleum based…anyway, I’d recommend this. Maybe you’ll feel a little better about washing your dishes – and your hands will smell good too!

Al Gore Needs Your Help…

I so hope Al Gore doesn’t run for President. I think he’s being much more effective now advocating for solving the global warming problem.

 In four days Al Gore is going to address the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia. At his urging, I’ve signed an important petition showing I support his important call for a visionary treaty to address the climate crisis. I hope you will too.

The world’s elected leaders must take the steps necessary to solve global warming.  It’s not too late.  We have the opportunity now to improve the Earth’s future for our children, and their children.  If we don’t act, we will only have ourselves to blame.

Divorce ain’t eco-friendly…

This is interesting.

Basically the theory is that divorce creates a need for more housing and energy consumption, since two that would have normally shared a home are now in two separate abodes.

The more interesting quote I found: “Matt Golden, founder of San Francisco home energy audit company Sustainable Spaces, says overall household space is increasing while occupancy is shrinking.” That’s not just divorce folks, though divorce in general is not a pretty thing – that’s the whole concept of the “bigger is better”, supersizing and McMansioning of our culture. We grow and grow and grow and expect all our resources – oil, food, water – to catch up.

 At some point, I worry that it won’t. I worry that certain politicians with a whole lot of pull that think global warming isn’t real really have their heads in the sand, or are so concerned in present day that they don’t think to worry about their grandkids’ future. I worry about politicians – on both sides – that have their lobbyist’s interest at heart more than the health and welfare of their people.

I look at my kids and realize that, in their lifetime (likely by the time they hit their 50s), polar bears** could potentially disappear for good due to total habitat loss. My grandkids might be lucky to see one in a zoo.

**I have not read this whole article (I’m a very small-time blogger, not a journalist) but it’s quite thorough and supports what I have read independently over the past few months.