8.4.10

Going Green for Spring!

My dear friend Deb over at Menopausal New Mom recently approached me about joining forces to convince you to Go Green For Spring. Being green is something I feel passionately about, and while it is part of my blog, my life, and who I am, I try to refrain from shoving it down your throats.

But the clock is ticking and the floating landfill in the ocean is growing every day with our plastic bags and other waste. Did you know it's twice the size of the state of Texas? Otherwise known as "the Pacific Garbage Patch." And we are all responsible for this thing.

"What floating landfill?" you may be asking yourselves.

This one.

The buck stops here. No more laziness. At the most basic level, we need to use fewer plastic bags. I've heard all the excuses before (and I myself use my newspaper bags to scoop my dog's poop), but we need to make a better effort and find alternative, eco-friendly solutions. Deb will be giving away two reusable cloth grocery bags. I will be giving away two sets of reusable produce bags (because not only do people use plastic bags for groceries, they use them to bag up fruits and veggies, and ALL that plastic is unnecessary) from a great seller over at Etsy, Love For Earth. In order to enter these giveaways, you must first follow both Deb and me. Giveaway rules are listed at the very bottom of this post.

(these are the bags I am giving away--2 sets, each has 6 produce bags of various sizes)

And while we're on the subject of bagging our produce, I just have to know--why on earth do people bag their bananas in the first place? They're in a convenient, easy to carry bunch already, and we don't eat the peels. So why do they need to go in a plastic produce bag? That may very well be my biggest pet peeve.
Remember that reusable/cloth shopping bags are not just for the grocery--they're for Target, Wal-Mart, the mall, toting stuff around for your kids, etc. Keep some in your car. Stash one or two in the bottom of your purse/briefcase/gym bag. If you're standing in line at the grocery and realize you've forgotten them, GO BACK TO YOUR CAR.

JUST SAY NO to plastic bags! Paper isn't much better, either. Yes, it can be recycled, but it takes energy to recycle and otherwise years to decompose. And do me a favor---if you go to the store for one or two things, please don't accept a bag at all. Just carry them out in your own two hands, especially if it has a handle already, like a milk jug or your laundry detergent. Seriously. Nothing offends me more than pure ignorance and utter laziness.

Another great idea that a few bloggers were talking about recently is making our blogs carbon neutral. It's so easy, just check out this site, pick a Carbon Neutral button that you like, put it on your sidebar, and send an email to confirm that you have posted. Then they plant a tree to neutralize the carbon dioxide emissions from your blog. Cool, huh?

Here are more of my favorite quick green tips:

  1. Check out http://www.terracycle.net/ and see about setting up a Recycling Brigade for your school or the charity of your choice. I currently have a Juice Pouch Brigade set up and it's so easy!

  2. Go to http://www.catalogchoice.org/ to stop all of your junk mail (i.e. catalogs). Shop on-line.

  3. Stop buying bottled water. Use a Brita or a Pur filter.

  4. Bring your own mug to Starbucks or your coffee shop of choice when you go out for java.

  5. Turn off lights and tv when you're not in the room.

  6. Set your thermostat to 75 in the summer and 64 in the winter. Bonus points if you can beat these. Ceiling fans are your friends and help circulate air.

  7. Wash all of your clothes in cold water (it's better for your clothes, anyway).

  8. Air dry as much of your clothing as possible.

  9. Run errands all at once.

  10. Buy local, organic, and all natural. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store.

  11. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Don't buy new. Shop on Craigslist, go to garage sales, accept hand-me-downs.

  12. Check out Method and Mrs. Meyers' products.

  13. Use rags, sponges, and dish towels instead of paper towels.

  14. Use cloth napkins at mealtimes. Check out http://www.etsy.com/ for cute ones for kids!

  15. Use soy candles instead of regular.

  16. Check out www.snacktaxi.com in lieu of Ziploc bags.

  17. Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth. Teach your kids to do the same.

  18. Take shorter showers. Consider turning the water down/off while you lather up.

  19. If you are in the Kansas City area, try Shatto Milk and dairy products. The milk comes in glass bottles which means nothing to recycle, no waste, the milk stays colder and tastes better. Plus you are supporting a local dairy and what could be better than that? Their butter and ice cream are divine, too!

  20. When you are at the ATM and/or the gas pump and the machine asks if you want a receipt, press "no."

  21. Unplug it when you're not using it (toaster oven, coffee maker, hair dryer, flat iron, etc.). Use power strips you can turn off.

  22. If you are in the Kansas City area, check out http://www.rippleglasskc.com/ for your glass recycling needs. There are collection bins all over the place, just check out the site to find the one closest to you.

  23. Consider using Evites or http://www.paperlesspost.com/ for invitations! So easy and fun. And saves our trees!

  24. Bring your reusable bags shopping. Tell your friends! When someone asks you "Paper or plastic?" you can smile sweetly and say, "Neither!"
Now for the giveaway rules:
--You must follow both Menopausal New Mom and me to be considered. (1 entry)
--Tweet about this giveaway and send us a link to your tweet. You may tweet once daily.(1 entry)
--Write your own Go Green For Spring post and link up to us/these posts within yours.(5 entries)
--Follow me on Twitter (@erinlynn76). (1 entry)
--Become a fan of The Mother Load on Facebook. If that link doesn't work, scroll up and look on the right side of my page for my badge. (1 entry)
--Post links to these giveaways on Facebook. (1 entry)

Giveaways begin NOW. Giveaways end on Thursday, April 15, 2010 at 7:00 a.m. CST. Winners will be announced shortly thereafter. GOOD LUCK!

So now that you're thinking of "Going Green For Spring" and how you can be a big part of the solution, head on over to Deb's Place and enter her "Go Green For Spring" Giveaway too!

It's never been so easy to make a difference!

7.4.10

Wordless Wednesday: Crazy Bird Lady & What Little Jewish Girls Do With Easter Baskets

Just for Ian over at The Daily Dose of Reality, I am participating in Wordless Wednesday, which I don't normally do. Because Ian is a fellow Jew, I know he especially will appreciate photos of my little Jewish darlings at their first Easter Egg Hunt. Our sweet neighbors invited us, and we love to expose the girls to all different religions, holidays, etc...
I made these for some of our neighbors. This is about as crafty as I get, people. I borrowed the idea
from another mommy who brought them as gifts to the teachers at school. So I can't take credit for it.
The neighbors brought us to their country club and they had birds and owls on display! LOVED IT!
Me and Izzy
The Father Load and Izzy
Crazy Bird Lady and Toucan trying to eat her necklace.

One of the birds even rode a bike. The kiddos were completely enamored.

Little Jewish girls don't know what to do with Easter baskets, so they became hats.
The Father Load with Abby on the left and Izzy on the right.
The four of us. Izzy is on the left. Abby is between me & The Father Load.
It is impossible to get everyone to look at the camera all at once.

6.4.10

Write On, 2nd Edition: I'm the Queen of Interrupting

Howdy folks! It's time for the 2nd edition of Write On, a new tradition over at Nicole's blog, Tattoos and Teethings Rings. Hop on over to her place and join in the fun! The prompt I've chosen for today is:

Write about your worst personality trait or bad habit. Be honest; none of this "My worst habit is that I'm so kind to everyone...blah blah blah." Time to fess up! (And, since you are aware of this bad habit or trait, is there a reason you haven't changed?)

Although the jury's still out on this one, I'd say my worst habit is frequently interrupting people. I simply can't keep my trap shut wait to interject my brilliance into the midst of whatever conversation happens to be taking place. While I possess a plethora of positive virtues, patience is not one of them, which means it's essentially impossible for me to "hold that thought."

If your kid is 6+ months old and you are whining about getting up with him/her in the night, I will make sure to interrupt and tell you to begin the CIO (Cry It Out) process. Before you can open your mouth to object, I'll shove my dog-eared copy of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth in your diaper bag. I'll blather on about how if we could listen to our two screaming banshees for five nights in a row, then surely getting your one child to sleep through the night will be a piece of cake. Hell, I'll even offer to come do it for you!

When I asked The Father Load about my bad habits, he was a tad more specific and suggested that it's not my mere interruption that's annoying, it's the fact that I finish his sentences for him.

The Father Load often comes home and starts telling me about the difficult surgeries he's done that day. He'll complain that the old mannish compression stockings he's wearing haven't helped his throbbing legs and feet because he only sat down once for five minutes to scarf a tuna sammie for lunch. I promptly interrupt him and say sarcastically, "Oh so you had a crappy day, too?" quickly followed by, "I'm-sorry-your-day-was-hellish-can-you-please-let-the-dog-out-he-has-to-pee-and-will-you-just-wipe-Izzy's-bum-real-fast-she's-in-there-pooping-and-I-hope-you-don't-mind-leftovers-for-dinner-because-my-day-has-been-horrible-and-I'll-be-damned-if-I'm-setting-foot-in-the-kitchen." He's only just walked in the door and I'm throwing a thousand requests at him and asking for help with the girls. While I know he's been hard at work all day, so have I. I just don't get any respect a paycheck for what I do.

If you even start to say, "I wish I had more time to work out, but with the kids I just..." I will interrupt you, raving about my love for Jazzercise, and promptly drag your ass to class with me. We'll shove your kids and mine in the babysitting room and enjoy an hour without fighting and hair-pulling, even if it means actually exerting ourselves and God forbid sweating. If you dare to say, "But I can't that day," I will slap you upside the head, promise I won't embarrass you in my leotard and leg warmers, and will reward you with alcohol afterwards. Or you can just bring your kids to my house and we can let Jillian Michaels' 30-Day Shred kick our asses. Then you have no excuse. We have a shitload of toys in the basement and the kids can even do the dvd with us if they want. No babysitter required. Abby and Izzy love jumping jacks and push ups. Biddy Boot Camp, anyone?

I don't know why I haven't changed, but I definitely recognize the problem. When The Father Load points it out to me, I become extra cognizant and careful for two days a little while, and then I fall off the wagon again. But it's a double-edged sword sometimes...because if we're in a group and everyone's talking over each other, I don't even try to get a word in edgewise. Then The Father Load accuses me of being anti-social and shy and then some people interpret this as my being stand-offish or not-so-nice.

I guess what I'm saying is that sometimes I'm afraid if I don't interrupt, I won't have a chance to talk. Or I'll forget whatever amazingly insightful thing it was that I was about to say.

So now that I've dished, what are your bad habits? Trust me, I have plenty more, but Nicole only asked us for the worst one. I could go on for days about the rest.

5.4.10

One of my favorite breakfasts, or, I'm a total grouch if I don't eat something in the morning.

**My good friend Alyssa over at Bloggin 2 Noggin just did a hilarious post about last week's antics. Go read it. And I promise not to say anymore about the matter.**

Recently Jenny Mac over at Let's Have a Cocktail told me about the protein shakes she makes for breakfast using EAS Premium Protein Powder from Costco. Most mornings in my failing quest to be a skinny supermodel I cut up a banana, slice a few strawberries and sometimes my finger, and sprinkle a few blueberries into my blender. I add 10 ounces of skim milk and 2 scoops of the chocolate protein powder. Et voila--breakfast, especially filling and good for on-the-go since I am a failure and we are constantly rushing to get out the door on time.

While I am enjoying these smoothies, I can't have them every day because I am a slacker and we run out of fresh fruit I get tired of the same old thing. And when I do, I turn to the one and only Martha Stewart. She's so perfect it should be illegal. I am a Martha Stewart Fail. But this one breakfast idea caught my eye because it's so easy even a monkey like me can make it , healthy, quick, and delicious. Folks, let me introduce you to my new lover: Whole Grain Toast With Yogurt and Pistachios.

(image courtesy of http://www.marthastewart.com/)



Ingredients:
2 tablespoons nonfat Greek yogurt (I use the Fage brand)
2 slices whole-grain toast
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon shelled pistachios

Directions:

Spread nonfat Greek yogurt on whole-grain toast. Drizzle each slice with honey. Sprinkle each with shelled pistachios. Serve immediately.
 
Thank you, Martha Stewart! I love this breakfast!

4.4.10

The Cat's Got My Tongue...

Since last Wednesday's debacle, I've been unable to write anything. I'm not sure what I want to write. I am ridiculously grateful to all of you who have been so supportive, especially Ian over at The Daily Dose of Reality, Shannon over at Our Daze in the Desert, Deb at Menopausal New Mom, June at 3! A Charm, Michele at Finding Trinity, Salt over at Salt Says, Babes Rockin' Mami, Jill at Hurstburst, Alyssa at Bloggin 2 Noggin and I could go on and on....

I'm not sure why I'm still so frazzled by the whole episode. Perhaps because this blog is my one thing. It's my original space. I created it. I sprinkle in some photos, add a little bit of humor, a few tablespoons of honesty, and a heaping cup of love. It may sound completely lame, lofty and unreasonable, but I want my blog to be something. I don't have a definition in mind necessarily, I just know I want you to want to come here. I want you to feel interested, excited and like you've made a new friend when you visit this blog. Because that is how I feel when I visit many of you. I don't want to let what happened on Wednesday get in the way of any of this, or change the core of who I am---I tend to be very trusting. And trustworthy.

I'm not going to change, but I am going to be more careful. Here's what you can do to protect yourself. I confess I haven't had the time to extensively research these methods, but you may notice some new buttons/banners at the top of my page. I encourage you to check out:
  1. http://www.myfreecopyright.com/
  2. http://www.copyscape.com/
  3. http://creativecommons.org/
Jill over at Hurstburst also emailed me and suggested I check out Live Writer, which is a free download from Microsoft. She wrote a post about it a while back and she talks about watermarking her photos. I think I may steer clear from photos for a while, but when I'm ready to try again I'm going to do it her way. Read her post about it here.

Thank you all again for everything. For commenting, sharing links, emailing, posting, tweeting, and getting the word out. I appreciate it all more than you can possibly know. Ultimately, we all have to watch our own backs, but we should also be looking out for each other.

I love my blog, I love writing, and I love you. I'm not letting go of what I love. I'm holding on for dear life.
 

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