Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day

I know the subject of Earth Day can be a touchy subject in Christian circles. As can being "green". There can be a fine line between caring for the world we live in, and worshipping Mother Earth.

I live a fairly "green" lifestyle. My main motivation is Genesis 1:26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." Biblically, ruling over something in a Godly manner has involved a great deal of responsibility. I feel we are responsible for practicing good stewardship with the earth that God created for our use and pleasure. But I also feel the verse above gives us permission to use the earth for our benefit. Our post-fall earth was not intended to last forever, just until Christ returns, and the advent of the "New Earth". For example, while I am concerned about air pollution for health reasons, I'm not worried about global warming. I trust Christ will return before our world falls apart or self-destructs in any way. Or...I eat meat and knit with wool yarn, but I try to buy "cruelty-free" whenever possible.

That being said, here are some do-able ways I've found to take care of the earth:

1. cloth diapers...the less poo that goes into our landfills and groundwater, the better! Did you know that when using disposables, you are supposed to dump the poo into the toilet as our landfills are not equipped to safely deal with it? Not to mention the difference in my wallet from not buying bags of diapers every month.

2. reusable shopping bags....the manufacturing of plastic bags is very hard on the environment, not to mention the amount of plastic bags that end up in landfills. According to the Wall Street journal, Americans go through about 100 billion plastic shopping bags each year, costing retailers $4 billion dollars. Perhaps if we all started using reusable bags, the savings for retailers would trickle down to us?

3. recycling...I have 4 plastic bins in my pantry (plastic, paper, aluminum cans, and glass/metal). When those fill up, I transfer the contents to various garbage bins and bags in the garage. They in turn get thrown into the back of the truck and taken to the recycling center about every 3 months. Doing this on our own rather than paying the garbage man to do it saves us money each month.

4. reusable towels rather than paper towels...they work better and have helped me trim the fat in my household budget. I cut up old dish towels, and they work fantastic.

5. home-made cleaning supplies...I make my own from vinegar, water, and tea tree oil. I add essential oils for additional fragrance. Not only can I feel good about cleaning the bathroom without fitting my kids for oxygen masks, but this also cuts back hugely on household costs.

6. stainless steel water bottles...Cuts back on garbage, and on energy to produce and ship bottled water. I also don't have to worry about harmful chemicals leaching into my family's drinks. My 4-year old has a Foogo, and she loves it. I love that it has a flip-top straw that is covered when not in use.

7. composting-less into landfills, more nutrients into my vegetable garden. I keep a cute Rachel Ray garbage bowl on my counter for scraps and dump it into the bin every few days. And no, it doesn't smell or attract flies, so far anyway.

As you can see, there are many small ways we can do our part to care for the earth, and that often translates into caring for our wallets as well! If you're feeling overwhelmed by all the "green" options, I was given the advice to choose one at a time to master. Then move onto one more, etc.

Now get outside and enjoy this beautiful day, and take a moment to thank He who created it!

WW: MN Musky Expo

Monday, April 20, 2009

Dad blogs playset giveaway

Dad blogs is giving away a fantastic playset from Kids Creations. My girls are finally both old enough to enjoy a larger playset, and we've been searching the classifieds for one, but they get snatched up so quickly! While curbing the other day, we got the components (slide, swings, ladder) for one, but we'd much rather win this terrific set than have to build our own!!! Head on over to Dad blogs and try your luck!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday Giveaways

Just for Me...and You is giving away a wall decal from CircleLineStudio. I've been wanting to try these, and this etsy store has the most unique I've seen so far.

The IE Mommy is giving away a beautiful handmade Kaleidescope necklace from Savvy Girl and Company.

The Greer 5 is giving away 5 copies of Mrs. Meyer's Clean Home book.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

More Giveaways

Shop Annie's is hosting a Piggie Paint giveaway. My girls love to paint their nails, and I've been itching to try out these truly non-toxic paints. Even so-called "kid's" polishes have that nasty odor that can't be good for anyone's lungs...Piggie Paint also offers unscented, nontoxic polish remover. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's been bowled away by the scent of the trash even days after removing my polish.

I've recently discovered the joy of the straight-iron, and Jamie's Precious Peas is giving away your choice of hair dryer or straightener from T3. Also, an item of choice from No Mommy's Perfect. They offer an adorable line of mom and baby clothing. I would choose the tank with the logo: No Mommy's Perfect...Every Mommy's Priceless tank. Or Kidde Kapz to convert almost any bottle to a toddler cup. Finally, she's also giving awaya set of 10 Purse Hangers. I currently hang my purses on regular hangers, but these would work so much better. By the way, I just won a jewelry giveaway over at Jamie's Precious Peas last week. So a huge thank you! I can't wait to receive my prize.

Gone Curbin' and Other Events

The last few weeks have been really busy, thus the sparse blog posts. It started a few weeks ago with the MN Musky Expo. As I've mentioned before, my dad has started his own fishing lure company, which I help him manage. We ran a booth at our first expo two weekends ago, which entailed a LOT of prep work. Especially since the week of, we finally got fed up with our bank and switched over all our accounts. (There's a certain well-known bank which is now considered a curse word in my house!) Anyhow, after the prep work, I drove up with my dad to help him set up and man the booth, along with my uncle and a few shareholders. We didn't sell a whole lot, but we made lots of great contacts, and had a blast. I am not a fisherwoman, and about as far from "redneck" as you can get, so I was pleasantly surprised to find how much I enjoyed the atmosphere and people at the show. As soon as I can find my camera, I'll post pics of the event.

I've also been babysitting my friend's little boy Monday, Wednesday, Friday, which leaves little time for the computer on those days. But it's so fun to have an infant in the house again. My girls both adore him, and provide plenty of entertainment for this so-far only child.

Last weekend, I was virtually computer-free because of a nasty virus my laptop try picked up. Beware of a pop-up that looks like it's from Windows Security! My darling hubby spent hours first trying to fix the poor thing, then backing up all my files and programs so that he could wipe the computer and start over. I'm so thankful my husband is handy in so many different ways. He's pretty convenient to have around...

And finally, last night was the kick-off for my favorite hunting season, Curbing! For the past several years, my husband and I, the inlaws, and often our friends, head out in our trucks and vans and trailers to troll the streets during scheduled curb-side recycling in the more affluent neighorhoods of the Cities. Our first haul of the season was a doozy, including: a brand-new ergonomic desk chair, playset components (slide, swings, ladder, etc), covered sandbox, Little Tikes slide, Little Tikes standing kitchen playset, Polly Pocket set, dollhouse furniture, jogging stroller/bike trailer, 3 strollers, a shoe shelf, an antique quilt, several basketballs, Lego castle set, Hooked on Phonics kits, 5 bag chairs (including 3 Eddie Bauer w/footrests), Barbie car, Cabbage Patch doll, several wooden puzzles, and last but not least......

A (nearly working) MOTORCYCLE!!! Pretty much like this one...

So I'd like to know, what's the best thing you've picked up off the side of the road? Or am I the only one out there who gets a thrill out of this?

Just a Few Weekend Giveaways

Sandier Pastures is giving away an adorable vintage cut-out from 5 Gardenias. I spent some time browsing her etsy shop, and found several cute vintage items I'd love to have.

Visit Green Your Decor for a chance to win an amazing "green" prize pack, included the Bissel Little Green carpet cleaner.

Just in time for summer sand boxes, Funky Monkey is giving away a sand toy set from Green Toys.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tip of the Day

Something semi-useful from me for a change...more coming tomorrow or Thursday on why I've been MIA...

When your hand soap starts running low, add some water, shake it up, and prolong the life. This works with shampoos, body washes, etc as well. It's amazing how much longer you can use a product when you add a little water to the bottom of the bottle!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Oliver's Labels: Coupon Code

I recently wrote a review for Oliver's Labels. I've been using their labels on everything from shoes and coats to sippies and stainless steel water bottles. I think I'm addicted and need to order more! Speaking of ordering more, they are now offering my readers a 10% discount...simply enter the code Oliversfriends upon checkout. Thanks, Oliver's Labels!!!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Friendly Reminder: Car Seat Safety

I'm a car seat safety freak, and with perfect road trip weather on it's way, I wanted to remind everyone of some key car seat safety points.

1. Of course, always always always use your car seat. Whether you're going down the street, across town, or 500 miles...Auto accidents are by far the leading cause of death for American children.

2. Keep your child rear facing as long as comfortable (within the weight limits of the seat). Rear facing is safest for a child of any age. Even adults would be safer rear facing, but it would be a little tough to drive that way.

3. Please, do not purchase your car seat at a garage sale or secondhand store. Minor accidents may not outwardly show, but they weaken the car seat, making it likely to fail in an accident. Not to mention pieces may be missing, it may be under recall, or could be expired. Car seats grow brittle with age, so make sure yours is less than 10 years old, preferrably under 5. Many seats now include an "expiration date".

4. Don't move your child out of her car seat or booster too soon. Children should be in a 5-point harness until they are 40 lbs, and in a booster until they are 4 feet 9 and 8 years old.

5. Keep the harness tight and straps un-twisted. You should barely be able to fit your fingers under the straps. Remember when you first brought your precious baby home from the hospital and were so careful to have the straps tight and perfect? Also, keep bulky clothing to a minimum, as in an accident, bulky clothing can compress and allow your child to slip through the straps.

6. Do not use any accessories that didn't come with the seat. This includes head rests, strap covers, and buntings or car seat "slipcovers". These items have not been crash-tested and may affect the car seat's function. The "slipcovers" are especially dangerous, as they don't allow the straps to fully tighten, causing children to slide out during a crash when the cover compresses and the straps become loose. (I'm not talking about the covers that go over the seat to keep baby warm, but the ones that fit under the straps, that the child sits on top of. I don't know if I'm explaining this very well..)

7. If you don't have a vehicle with LATCH, make sure the shoulder strap is always locked. If your vehicle's straps only lock in case of a sudden stop, use a locking clip. See your car seat manual for instructions.

8. Finally, make sure your car seat is installed tightly. There should be no more than an inch wiggle room on any side. When installing my children's seats, I kneel in the seat to compress them and allow for a tighter fit.

For more safety tips and how to avoid common mistakes, visit