Saturday, July 31, 2010

Don't Underestimate!

Last night my husband and I dropped off our two younger children off at his parents' house.  I had packed up my son's diaper bag and couldn't decide if I should pack his cloth diapers or use the disposable diapers we still have on hand.  We have only been using the cd's for two weeks now.  Even though I love it and my husband goes along with it, it doesn't mean that someone else will feel the same.  I went ahead and packed the sposie diapers and took them to their grandparents.

After a late night at the local demolition derby we picked them up.  My mother-in-law tells me that she would have been more than happy to use the cloth diapers that we have just switched to.  Why did I think she would prefer me to bring the sposie diapers?  I have no idea. 

When we, mainly me, decided to switch to cloth diapers I assumed I would get razzed for switching to cloth.  Really my husband has been the one to get razzed by his friends who read this blog.  Oh well.  Other than that, the support has been great.  There are far more people out in the world who are using cloth diapers.  I love reading all the websites and blogs about cloth diapering.  I have even had several friends ask me about cloth diapers and what I would suggest. 

So don't be like me.  Don't underestimate your family and friends.  Or society in general.  Even though we shouldn't care what others think it is nice to know that cloth diapering is more main stream than we think!

Friday, July 30, 2010

On a Mission

I may be on a new mission.  The town I live in doesn't have a recycling program.  And the town across the river has one but I can't find it.  Seriously, I looked online for the address but under "Location" it only listed the towns where recycling was available, not the actual address.  I did some driving yesterday with my bins in the back of the van trying to find these places.  I thought I knew where they might be.  I was wrong. 

Why is it so hard to recycle?  We hear everyday that this is what we should be doing but the resources are not available.  So I am going to do some research and see if I can't start some kind of program in my area.  I'm not promising anything but I will give it a try. It's not like I have anything else to do right. 

When I was younger it was easy to get recycling bins dropped off at our school.  Our Girl Scout troop did this.  Then for a few weeks the community filled it up.  After awhile the bins were picked up.  But since the bins were used so much they brought more to leave at the school.  If a junior Girl Scout troop can do that then why can't I with the help of some friends.  Who knows what will happen.  I just know that I shouldn't have to drive 30 or more miles to recycle.  It kind of defeats the purpose, don't you think?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

School Daze

I have a little dilemma.  I am trying to decide if I should go back to school this semester or not.  My goal is to eventually become an RN.  As of right now I am not in the program due to my ranking when I applied.  Last school year I had 4.0 GPA.  I was really proud of myself.

Here is the deal...
I only have one class, microbiology, that I need to take.  All my other classes would be nursing classes and you can't take them until you are in the program.  So do I just take micro and a couple of filler classes until I get in the program or do I just wait until I get in the program and then take micro.  I am in the process of going back to work as well so that will figure into this decision.  I did sign up to take an EMT class but have now decided that it won't work out because it is a 45 minute drive to get to the college that offers the course.

Maybe I will take the micro class (too bad its smack dab in the middle of the day) and a couple of online classes so I can keep my grant to pay for school.  Then next semester I will take a couple more online classes to finish out the year.  Then hopefully by then I will have been accepted into the program and will be able to move on.

You know when you graduate high school and you have grand dreams of what you want to do?  I sometimes wish I would have stuck with mine because going back to school in your thirties kind of sucks!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Summer coming to an end

It's true.  Summer is winding down.  My kids only have a few more weeks until the school doors open back up.  This means that we still have some time to enjoy our freedom.  We have a few plans.  Of course we will be swimming in the pool everyday.  We may go see another movie or two. We love to go to the movie theater!  Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana is calling to us (mainly the kids), so that is also on the agenda. 

These next few weeks will also include getting ready to go back to school.  Shopping for supplies and new shoes that will  fit feet that have grown two sizes over the summer. 

Since our family is going green one thing we will be trying to do is buy less and reuse what we already have.  There is really no need to buy new book bags if the ones the kids have are in good shape.  Plus, we won't be going out to buy a bunch of back to school clothes.  Sure, I like my kids to look cute and all that, but really is it so necessary when going to school.  Our school has a blacktop parking lot that the students play on during recess.  Which means that clothes get ruined faster... blacktop stains on knees! 

I will purchase some lunch supplies.  This year my goal is to send the kids to school with litter free lunches.  There are all kinds of ways to have a litter free lunch.  Even products you can use so you don't have to buy and use plastic baggies.  They are called snackTaxis.  This product will be so handy and not just for school lunches.  You could use it for food but also for other things.

Check out the website (shown above) to see the different styles and colors they have.  I am really excited about getting these for my family.  Just think of how many little baggies we use  and then throw away.  With the snackTAXI you can be green and stylish at the same time.  How cool is that?

Now, I must go because summer isn't over quite yet and we have a ton of stuff to do.  Enjoy the rest of your summer vacation.  Make many memories with your family!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mama Bear

I'm like a mama bear protecting my bear cubs from all sorts of dangers.  I'm sure there are those who would call me overprotective but that's their problem.  Our world is extremely dangerous when you stop and think about it.  Much more so than when I was a child.  I remember being ten years old and taking my three younger sisters to the library.  It had to be a mile and a half away from home and we crossed some pretty busy streets.  But there is no way I would let my ten year old daughter do that.  You hear every day of another child being kidnapped.

I don't let them play in the front yard.  They have to stay in the back yard because it is fenced in.  Our neighbors leave much to be desired so I keep an eye on them constantly.   

I have taught my children about "stranger dangers" and how to be safe.  I even put a little fear in them.  Do you remember the story of Adam Walsh?  He was kidnapped from a department store and his body was found later. You might be thinking that is too much to tell a child but I believe you have inform them of the dangers.  I don't go to extremes to where my children don't want to be apart from me.  I just want them to understand that not all strangers are nice and there are people who hurt little children.  I'd rather have them a lot scared then a lot dead.

Sexuality is another danger I try to protect my children from.  I try to be very careful of what we watch and what they read.  My oldest daughter loves to read.  She is going into the fifth grade and reads at a much higher level.  I try to make sure that the books are appropriate for a ten year old girl.  She has asked to read the famous "Twilight" books.  But I told her not until she was older. Plus that is Mommy's fantasy world right now, anyway.  Speaking of "Twilight" I don't understand the parents who let their young kids go see the movies.  Let them be kids.  Take them to kid type movies.  It really does irritate me. 

Certain toys I do not like either.  Bratz dolls. 

UGH!  I hate the hooker looking dolls with skimpy clothing.  My daughter used to want them so bad because I did not want her to have them.  I never bought the dolls or accessories but she did receive a couple for gifts for her birthday or Christmas.  Yes, I was more than ecstatic about that.  But I let her keep them to be polite.  However, in the end she ended up not playing with them as much as she thought she would.  Their shoes came off leaving a doll with no foot.  (That designer was a smart one)  Now the dolls have been donated to Goodwill and we no longer have them in our house.

Video games is another big thing.  My children love video games just like any other.  My nine year old son especially.  He is very good at it, too. He likes to play Star Wars and Indiana Jones.  I am fine with that.  He is not playing games of people killing people just to kill people.  Or games that have half naked girls in them.  We have a very strict rule of what kinds of games he can play.  I am astounded by the games he says his friends at school can play.  They are rated "M" for mature audiences.  I don't understand how parents simply  let their kids do whatever they want.    Be the parent for God's sake!!!! 

There are times when we have to let them go on their own.  My two oldest went away to summer camp for the first time this year.  Even though I know the camp well I was still a bit nervous.  But I knew it was important for them to have these experiences on their own.  Plus, there weren't any video games or t.v.'s.  

Our children are only children for such a short amount of time.  We should treasure this time and let them enjoy it.  Play with them.  Nurture their imaginations.  Let them have fun.  And keep them safe.  Too soon they will know all about the adult world and what it means to be an adult. 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

How trusting are you?

I have never been the type of girl who won't leave the house without a full makeover. You may only catch me wearing makeup for special events. Rarely do I wear it.I am also not big on all the products our beauty industry has. I use a face wash, moisturizer with SPF, shampoo/conditioner, hair paste and spray, body lotions and some make up. That is pretty much it. Basic, I know.

I had never given any thought to what was in these products.  Surely, they are safe because they are on the shelves of the store.  Not exactly.  I was once told that if you can't pronounce an ingredient in a food product then you shouldn't eat it.  (a rule that I am not very good about following)  I would think this rule would apply to cosmetics as well.  Can you pronounce the majority of the ingredients found in your bathroom products?  I can't. Do you know what they are or what they do?  Nope, me either.

As I have been going green with my family, I have been trying to get rid of some of the chemicals in our house. Mainly these are household cleaners but I am thinking about going through our beauty products as well.

Watch this...

Now of course we should do our own research to make sure that what we put onto and into our bodies is actually safe.

What makes me really wonder is what would our bodies look like compared to people who lived in the 1800s.  Before t.v and magazines that told society what beauty was suppose to be.  Who would have the most toxins in their bodies?

Now you may say that a lot has changed since then.  We live longer because we know more about germs and all that stuff.  People showered once a week.  Ya, I get that but do we need all these chemicals to be clean.  Probably not. How about all the chemicals that go into the anti-aging creams?  That stuff can't be healthy.  What is wrong with growing old? 

So my goal is to check out the products I currently have and find out what is safe.  You can go to Skin Deep to learn about  products and the ingredients they contain.  I encourage you to do the same. 

I am pretty trusting when it comes to what  purchase.  I want to believe it is safe. But now I am going to make sure that what comes into my house is safe for my family. 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Romance is dead.... right?

Admit it.  Some days we wives want to know where the romance has gone.  Remember when you and your husband were dating and he would give you flowers or chocolate.  Or maybe surprise you with a special date.  Maybe it was something simple as a foot rub.  Whatever it was it probably happened more often then than now.

I asked my husband about this.  He replied that back then he was trying to get lucky.  Typical.  But it made me wonder.  What if we wives started playing hard to get again?  Then I scratched that idea because how much harder to get can one be when you are exhausted from work and raising a family? Not to mention that you may not have even showered that day or for the past two.

Then you may even go in the other direction and try to be the sex vixen but you end up just feeling silly (that stuff only looks good in the movies) and the moment is lost again.

Romance changes as a relationship grows.  It goes from being flirty to loving and respectful.  Romance can be telling each other please and thank you instead of demanding something from another.  Romance can be a quick kiss while waiting for the water to boil.  Romance can be a sweet text reminding you to pick up some milk followed by "I love you".

No, romance isn't dead it just morphs into something different.  While it is still nice to receive a bouquet of flowers now and then sometimes just cuddling on the couch is even better.

My husband, Jason, goes out of his way to be romantic every once in awhile.  Just last weekend while I was at Camp Ondessonk he came to visit me.  I was walking down the road from the camp's dining hall and saw a man pushing a stroller and walking with  two kids.  I was trying to figure out who it was because they were a distance from me. Then it hit me that it was my family.  I had no clue they were coming.  They were a day early and I was planning or riding home with someone else. I screamed and went running towards them.  Now that was romantic but this is even better.  They had on, homemade matching Camp O t-shirts.  What a wonderful surprise.

Jason had this picture taken on his cell phone then sent it to me with the text, "Like our shirts?"  However, I did not have my phone on me to receive it.  I was still surprised by them about ten minutes later!

It was extremely romantic because Jason and I fell in love as camp counselors.  No there wasn't a violin player or a candle light dinner.  Instead there was sweaty guy pushing a stroller with two other kids running around.  But you know what?  I was giddy and he was probably gonna get lucky!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Money, Money, Money by the pound

If you grew up watching Pete's Dragon then you will recognize the title to this post.

I am going to talk about money.  No, I won't be sharing the exact numbers in my checking account or what's on my credit cards.  Wait I don't have any credit cards.  What I will be sharing with you today is how I plan to help my family save money.  As you have been reading I want my family to be greener.  Green environmentally and financially.  Being green can save you money.

Here are some of the tips I have read other places and will put into action.  Feel free to use them for yourself as well.

  1. No More Throw-aways  Sounds simple doesn't it?  Think about all the stuff we buy.  All the disposable products that we think we can't live without. Napkins, paper towels, paper plates, plastic silverware, disinfectant wipes, etc.  This list could go on and on. I probably spend about $25 on these type of products a month. That would be $300 a year that just ends up in the trash.  So we will stop buying these items to save a bit money.  Disposable diapers can go into this category as well.  I figured that if we spend about $60 a month on diapers (that's three cases of  Luvs) that would about $720 a year on diapers.  Now we are trying to switch to cloth diapers which can be reused.  Of course you have to pay for these diapers so let's say to have a nice stash of cloth diapers its around $200.  Yes, you have to use water to wash them but its only two or three loads more a week.  You are still saving about $500 a year by using cloth diapers. (Different brands cost different amounts.  This is what we spend)
  2. Eat at Home  I remember when I was little that even just going to McDonald's was a treat.  It was  rare and special.  We mainly ate at home.  Nowadays, eating out occurs daily for most families.  I understand busy schedules and all the running around that families do.  We do it too.  But there must be a way that we can plan ahead.  Slow cooker meals, plan your meals ahead of time, pack up your dinners.  If you pack your dinner to take for the ride to the ball game or piano lessons then you have control of what is actually going in your mouth.  I'm not saying don't eat out.  Just make it special.  This will be a very good thing for my family.  We go out to eat way too often and we don't make it special.  With a family of six we can easily spend $100 if not more eating out each month.  That's $1200 a year!  That would have paid for the new water heater we had put in a month ago. 
  3. Buy Less  Do we really need all the items we buy?  The new purse.  The cutest diaper bags.  A new radio. The latest cell phone.  This list could go on forever, so I am cutting it here.  Besides you know where I am going with this.  We are a nation of consumers.  Our government tells us to buy more!  It will help the economy.  But what are we really buying?  Mainly we buy things on impulse.  A few new clothes, a five dollar toy (that gets broken within the first week at home), lotions that make us smell good but end up just sitting on our dresser or in the bathroom cabinet.  Is that flat screen t.v really better than your older t.v.?  You might not believe this but our t.v. is like a dinosaur.  It works just fine so I don't see any reason to replace it.  Why buy something just because a newer version has come out on the market?  Guess what.  It will be obsolete in a month or two when an even never products comes out.  Its a nasty cycle.  We need to use what we have. If we can no longer use it in our homes we can resale it.  Make some money by having a yard sale or take your items to a consignment shop.  If you are looking for new clothes buy them at resale shops.  You can find great outfits and deals too.  Most places are really picky about what they take so you won't have to worry about the quality of the clothes your buy.  The main point of this tip is that we have to ask ourselves, "Do I really need this?  Can I survive without?"  If you said No and Yes then put it down and walk away.  Your checking account will thank you later. I would say quickie buys like these average to about $60 a month for my family.  That adds up to $720 a year. 
  4. Use less energy  Turn off your lights when you aren't in the room.  Heck, leave them off completely during the day.  During the day i barely turn lights on in the house.  The sun gives enough to see what's going on.  Turn your AC up.  Does it need to be so cool in your house?  We keep our thermostat at 78 degrees during the day and it can feel nice and cool.  Sometimes I think we can turn it up a degree or two to try to save energy.  During the winter keep your house cooler and dress warmer.  Use less water.  Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth. Take shorter showers (use a timer for kids). Only run the washer and dryer when you have a full load.  Line dry your clothes. Saving energy is easier than you think.  We just have to remind ourselves to do it.    
  5. Use homemade household cleaners  This is something new we are trying in our home.  Think about what you pay for a bleach product or disinfectant.  There's wipes, sprays, sponges, flushable stuff and so on and so on.  This adds up.  We probably have been spending about $30 a month on these items.  I was big on the disinfectant wipes.  Okay so $30 a month adds up to $360 a year.  Just the other day I bought some safer cleaning supplies totaling only $10 and they will probably last me 3-4 months if not more.  I spend less money and I am using products that are safer for me and my family.  Its also safer for the earth because you aren't dumping nasty chemicals into our water system.
I know these are not new tips and I haven't invented something that you haven't seen.  But sometimes it just takes a moment of writing it all down and seeing it.  If I add all these up it would come to a little over $3000 (when you figure in energy saved on bills).  $3000  That is like a whole month's pay!  An entire year of tuition at my kids' school.  A vacation to somewhere really cool.  The hard part about all of this is to put it into action.  I really want to do this.  Save my family money. 

Save some money and save the earth.  This is really doable.  Good luck and soon you will have "Money, money, money by the pound." Click here to see the song on youtube.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

We Are the CURE!

Last night I was thinking about an Earth Day t.v special that starred Neil Patrick Harris. All I could remember was that it was aired while I was still in grade school (early 90s) and that it really had an impact on me. So I decided to check out youtube. Everything is on youtube right? It was... in 11 parts.

I started to watch it. Smiling like a crazy person as I remembered the the insane crush I had on Doogie Howser M.D. Then I decided that maybe I should watch it with the rest of my family.

I took the laptop upstairs and we hooked it up to the T.V. It was late and my husband had decided to go on to bed. But the kids will use any excuse to stay up late so we watched the ABC Earth Day Special 1990.

It starred all kinds of famous stars... Robin Williams, Bugs Bunny, Neil Patrick Harris, Bette Middler, Kevin Costner, Will Smith, Queen Latifa.... so many!

The story line of the special was that Mother Earth was dying. We were killing her and she had given up hope that we could change our ways. My kids watched the entire special and were even discussing ways to help save Mother Earth. At one point in the show Mother Earth (Bette Middler) makes a comment that people get excited all the time to do something for the earth. But then something happens. Monday comes (the show aired on Sunday). Which means that sure we may be excited and say we are going to do all this stuff today but once the sun sets and rises again we have forgotten what we were going to do and the excitement is no longer there.

Ouch!!! Was she talking to me? I get excited about a lot of things and don't follow through with most of it. However, I honestly believe this is something so important that we cannot not follow through with it.

Take a moment to think of what the Earth was like while you were a child. Now look at it. Has it changed? Houses got bigger. Cars got bigger. There are so many new disposable items we purchase... like Take and Toss sippy cups. Computers and cell phones are discarded everyday for the newest version when the old version is just as great. We were suppose to take care of the Earth for our children. Did we? Is this the Earth we envisioned for for our young ones?

Like I mentioned in my last post I used to be all about the environment. Well I am trying to get that passion back and pass it on to my children. I think my husband is waiting for the excitement to wear off to see if this really lasts. But I think it will. Helping the environment is contagious. If I do it maybe others will follow my example. Its all really so simple. We complain about the government about not doing anything for the environment. But they are just following the example of the people and the majority of us are not actively helping the environment.

I encourage you to lead by example. First to your family, then friends and then to your community. I would love to see a recycling program in our town.

Mother Earth is very sick. That part is not just a made up story. She is sick and angry. Have you seen the news lately. All the hurricanes and nasty floods. We are the cause. But we can fix it. Because we are also the CURE!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Better Late Than Never

When I was in high school I was very involved in S.E.A.T, Student Environmental Awareness Team. I was the president my senior year in fact. I had always considered myself green and respectful of the earth. But as I have gotten older and have had more children I stopped being green.

Just a few weeks ago I was thinking about all the things I wanted to do with my life. One of them was not trash the environment. I have always used the kids as an excuse or its expensive to be "green". Well, no more excuses.

Last week I volunteered at the summer camp where my husband, Jason, and I met. Camp Ondessonk. My daughter was spending her first week there. It made me realize that I can't take back the damage that I have done but I can start again.

So I have decided that each week my family will implement a new step towards being a green family.

First step; trying to get my 20 month old son into cloth diapers. I am not sure how this will go. We actually tried this when my oldest was first born. Obviously it didn't take. But we are trying again. I visited "Little Ants" a green parenting store in Evansville,IN and bought a couple pairs of Bummis Super Brite diaper covers. Today, my son hasn't been in anything but cloth diapers. We even had a poopy diaper and survived.

I have been reading about cloth diapering and researching the different brands. True it can be expensive at the start. That $20 pack of disposables is looking really good. But if you buy 3 packs a month that's $60 a month and $720 a year. Cloth diapers can be washed and reused. If you have enough you can maybe just add 2-3 extra loads of laundry a week. And if you line dry that saves you money too.

I think our first step is going well. The Bummis are super cute and come in a variety of styles and colors.

So are you willing to try it out? Take the plunge into cloth diapers. You may be surprised at just how easy they are. Who knows you may even become addicted.

My next step... getting rid of chemical based household cleaners and making my own natural cleaners. This will be really interesting.