Spring Swap and Shout Outs to Cool Bloggy Friends!


A few weeks ago I participated in the Spring Swap hosted by Shortmama over at Family of Shorts. She sent me a very fun package filled not only with things for me, but goodies for the girls as well! She got me a Jennifer Weiner book, Good In Bed, along with some notepads, a picture frame, hand sanitizer, and hand cream. The girls were super excited by their new stickers, book, and sidewalk chalk. And special Springtime Oreos were the icing on the cake, which we all chowed down on. Thank you so much, Shortmama!

Since it's the weekend and I'm off having fun at a friend's bridal shower (The Father Load is in charge of the hooligans), I am sharing some cool peeps with you. Please go pay them a visit, tell them I sent you, and click on that little follow button! Yes it's a long list. No, I don't do awards. But this is my way of passing along some bloggy love. I did two similar lists last month and am continuing the tradition today. Suffice it to say that these people are faithful commenters, loyal readers, and incredibly witty bloggers. So please introduce yourselves and say hello to:

Jane over at Aging Mommy

Monique over at A Day in the Life of a SurferWife

 T.J. over at Any Given Moment

Ian over at The Daily Dose of Reality

Daffy over at Batcrap Crazy

Tracie over at Stir-Fry Awesomeness

Heather over at Gerber Days

Life According to Candice

Mama Bird's Nest

Kiran over at Masala Chica

JoAnn over at Laundry Hurts My Feelings

The Purse Blogger

Consider it pure JOY

Cara over at The Gone Again Smiths

Elaine over at The Miss Elaine-ous Life

Kate over at Busted Plumbing


Happy Earth Day! What Kind of Bagger Are You? Take My Poll, Too! --->

Last week Deb over at Menopausal New Mom wrote about how many plastic bags we consume each year---500 BILLION. If you missed this mind-boggling post, please check it out here, it's a must-read. It was she who inspired me to go incognito and hide out in my minivan in various grocery store parking lots over the last few days. I put Laurie Berkner on my iPod to distract the girls, but Abby looked at me quizzically as I tried to discreetly lower my window every few seconds to get a shot, "Mommy, why are you taking pictures of people?" "Because Mommy is being sneaky," I told her. They laughed and laughed as my heart rate shot up every time I thought someone was noticing me and what I was doing.***and yes, these are all real photos I took here in my hometown over the last week.***

But I have to know. Be honest, now! (& please take my poll ---> )

Are you a (1) Everything But the Cases of Sugary Soda Goes in a Plastic Bag Bagger?
(and you in your cute lil' Volvo-- don't be tryin' to tell me you can't afford to buy some reusable bags)

Are you a (2) Two Plastic Bags Bagger?
(C'mon Mr. Manly Man. Man Up Already and Get Some ReusaBALLS!)

Are you a (3) I Don't Even Try To Hide It, I Even Enter The Store Without Reusable Bags Bagger?
(so did you leave 'em in the car & you're too lazy to go back, or do you seriously not own any of your own bags?)

Are you a (4) I Even Carry My Craptastic Subway Sammie in a Single Plastic Bag Bagger?

(or Exhibit B, just your regular groceries in a single bag? C'mon. COME ON.)

(Seriously---do you honestly need that ONE bag?)

Or are you a (5) This Bag Is Da Bomb Because It Speaks For Me Kind of Bagger?
This is my personal reusable bag and several months ago I gave away one just like it. But I'm not giving anything away today because I want you to get off your fannies and JUST DO IT already. Get your own. Nag your friends to get their own. Give them as gifts along with some Green cleansers, reusable chamois, etc.

I went to Hy Vee in Mission (a local grocery store) and spoke with one of the managers, Robert. I showed him these and even gave him the purple one to keep:
(reusable produce bags I bought at Whole Foods)

I was wearing my Earth Day t-shirt, had a cart with my reusable bags & groceries inside, my Shatto milk in glass bottles, etc. I told him that as a Green Gal, I'd love to see his store selling these right along with their reusable shopping bags. I added that Whole Foods is doing it and that they've also done away with plastic bags. He didn't have much to say, but was very nice and seemed enthusiastic. The whole time in my head I was thinking about Deb's post where she confronted the manager about the litter in his parking lot. "TAWANDA!" I thought.

I am taking responsibility. I am demanding change. I'm going to keep doing it until it happens.

I encourage you to join me.

Happy Earth Day. Let's change the world together. You can also go to Deb's blog today because she's hosting another phenomenal GO GREEN GIVEAWAY---check it out!

Edited to add: I stash my reusables everywhere--the car, by my back door to the garage, in my purse, etc. so I'm rarely without. If I forget them, my "punishment" is to buy a new bag or two wherever I am shopping. I have quite a collection and have put some in The Father Load's car as well.


Pouring My Heart Out (About Chicken Nuggets, Jazzercise, Earth Day, Big Macs, and Jillian Michaels)

Today I am Pouring My Heart out along with the awesome Shell over at Things I Can't Say. If you'd like to link up or play along, please go here. You don't have to agree with everything I say, but like Shell, I'll ask you to be respectful and refrain from commenting if you have nothing positive to say.

Because Earth Day is this week, I've had a lot weighing heavily on my mind. I believe Earth Day should be EVERY day, not just once a year. People need to wake up, take notice, and really begin making changes before it's too late. In my humble opinion, it's already too late, but perhaps if we hurry we can catch up.
More about that tomorrow, though....

Earth Day is not only about caring for our planet, but caring for ourselves---by going back to the Earth, to natural things put down that Frosty and Super Size Fries, please, and to the way nature intended it.

I have always leaned towards eating healthy/organic/natural, but my intensity waxes and wanes. I shopped at Whole Foods over the weekend for the first time in a few months. It was a lovely (albeit expensive) experience. But you know what? The food tastes better. It's fresher. I love being surrounded by shelves, stacks and displays of everything good for you. While we were in the produce section a bubbly employee knelt down and offered my girls freshly cut hunks of Granny Smith apples, which they greedily gobbled up. I frequently shop in the organic/all-natural sections of other grocery stores because Whole Foods is not close to my home. But it's a few extra miles I'm going to travel more often from now on. Because it matters.

My wake-up call was this post by Jessica Gottlieb. While mostly about social media and its impact, it was also about our diet, our health, and how little we're teaching our children about basic nutrition. Read her post and watch the short video clip from Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. Kids who don't recognize tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes? Appalling. Unreal. Ridiculous. We have only ourselves to blame when they squeal with delight at the sight of those hellish Golden Arches. The next time you turn into the drive-thru salivating over the idea of a Big Mac and fries, stop yourself and really think about what you are doing not only to yourself, but to your children. What examples are you setting?

Another wake-up call was this post by Dr. Joe, "Why You Should Drop The Soda Right Now." He cites staggering statistics about how much soda Americans are consuming compared with people in other countries. There are 12-14 teaspoons of sugar in every can of soda--revolting, no? Juice isn't much better. Unfortunately, diet soda isn't the solution with all of its artificial sweeteners. I quit drinking Diet Coke a long time ago and have never been better. I discovered the artificial sweeteners were giving me stomach pains.

I'm reading labels more closely. I don't want to buy stuff loaded with ingredients I can't pronounce. Yes, my kids will continue to eat chicken nuggets, but now I am buying the ones with all white meat, no artificial ingredients, no trans fats, etc.

I went through my fridge and pantry and tossed the undesirable things---things I'm too mortified to admit were hibernating in there. But it doesn't matter now because they're gone, and they won't be coming back.

You think your Yoplait yogurt is healthy? Think again---look at the label and see "high fructose corn syrup." Blech. Guess what? It's also in things like whole wheat BREAD. It's no wonder we've become so accustomed to liking sweet things. It's time for us to become responsible consumers, to read labels and take control, to think before we buy and before we take a bite.

Hmmm, what else? Let's turn off the tv, computer, video games, etc. and get up off our lazy bums. Let's get outside. Let's take our kids and our dogs for much-needed long walks. I just bought Jillian Michael's 30-Day Shred dvd to do at home. It's $8.99, you don't need to sign your life away, leave your house, or buy a gym membership to get fit (read: no excuses!). All you need is a mat (or a towel) and a set of hand weights (or cans of soup). Think about the example you're setting for your kids when they see you're excited about exercise (even if you're pretending a little bit). Think about how good YOU will feel, and how much your body will benefit from it. Guess what else? The Father Load is doing The Shred with me because that is how incredible it is. And because he cares about his health and his body, too.

I have one life. I have one body. I am finally starting to treat it like a temple.

This is my chance, your chance, our chance for something better.

Do it now. Make a change.What are you waiting for? Get those leg warmers on!

(image courtesy of @RosevilleRockLn on Twitter)

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