A Wife Loved Like The Church

Posts Tagged ‘Green living

When we bought our home, we knew we were going to be without a dishwasher. And while I been totally okay with hand washing dishes, I’ve been less than okay with my dish soap options. I don’t think my standards are too high: must be earth friendly, must last through a full washing. Yet, I’ve gone through countless products to no avail. But then, like a clear {earth friendly} ray of light, I found Green Works. A-maz-ing.

Why do I love Green Works?

1. It stays bubbly. For what ever reason, all the soaps I try don’t stay bubbly, making it impossible to clean a sink full of dishes without always adding more soap {can you say money waster?!}

2. It actually removes grease. A certain soap product {that shall remain nameless} that I recently used left my oily pans still very, very oily. Yuck. Green Works? Never had a problem. Plus it stays bubbly.

3. It’s plant derived and lists ingredients. If I’m using a non-homemade cleaner, I want to know what’s in it. Especially if it’s possible that residue could be left and it’s ingested. Plus it uses essential oils that make it smell really, really good. Oh, and it’s stays bubbly {clearly, I like bubbly soap}.

Because I love Green Works so much, I thought I’d do a giveaway!

Here’s how you enter:

1. Leave a comment.

2. Blog about it, linking back to this post (then leave me a comment letting me know you did).

3. Facebook or Tweet it (then leave me a comment letting me know you did).

4. Refer a friend who leaves a comment.

Even my UK and other international friends can enter.

You have until Sunday, July 31 at 11:59PM CST to enter!

You can get up to 4 entries to increase your chances of winning! Good luck!

*I have received no money or endorsements from Green Works for this giveaway, I just really love their product and want to share!

Most Americans don’t like talking about the meats we eat. We prefer to not associate our chicken sandwich with having ever been a chicken. I’m in that same category. I love meat. I love burgers, steaks and roasts. But, I love animals. Yet, even though I love looking at cows in the pasture, I don’t need to see that cow in between pasture and my plate. For a while I’ve flirted with the idea of being vegetarian, but my love of steaks trumped my love of cows.

Then I read The Compassionate Carnivore by Catherine Friend. Now, compassionate and carnivore might prove to be an oxymoron, but for this meat loving gal I didn’t think so. Friend talks about how it’s not wrong to eat meat – but that we need to consider where our meat comes from and how it gets to us. She places strong emphasis on buying local meats that are free range and “happy”. Granted, no animal is happy about being slaughtered for food, but the idea that you can choose for your meat to be raised and slaughtered in a caring environment.

Here’s what we have done to be more compassionate carnivores:

1. Buy local meats – We bought a quarter buffalo about 2 months ago. We liked the farmer’s hands-off approach to raising the herds and his emphasis on having them killed in-field rather than undergo stress in transit to a abattoir. I’d suggest this site for more information: Eat Wild

2. Eat vegetarian when we eat out – Ok, this one is hit or miss. I make every effort to eat vegetarian when I can’t ensure that the animal was free range, but we’ve also let it slide a few times. I’m ok with that, since this is a slow process and is taking time to adapt I don’t expect us to give up old habits that quickly.

3. Read, read, read – The more you know, the better decisions you’ll make. Get a good understand of how animals are suppose to be raised {that chickens actually aren’t vegetarians} so that you can make more informed choices for yourself and family.

4. Practice grace – Seems odd to talk about giving grace to others because of your food choices. But you’d be surprised out how black and white this issue can become. We said early on, we aren’t going to choose our self-made diet over loving people. Which means – you serve it, we’ll eat it. If given the choice, we’d request our preferences. But, if someone has gone out of their way to prepare me a meal, I will consume it with delight.

What about you? How are ways that you practice being a compassionate carnivore?

Whew, I feel like I’ve been in a bloggy fog for all this week. We have a pretty busy weekend ahead so I’ll be taking off a few days. But don’t worry, I hope to have some pretty good posts to show for it coming up to make up for it.

My friend, Emily, over at The Adventures of Miss Mommy, is hosting another one of her fantastic giveaways. She’s giving away a green, energy-saving, environmentally friendly power strip! Now, you might not be like my family, who owns a bizzillion and one power strips, but these things are awesome.

This new product “goes green” by using a master socket that controls the other outlets on the The Energy Saver Green Power Strip. Meaning when the device such as a TV is plugged into the master socket is turned on, the other sockets with your cable box, DVD player, and sound system will then be powered on. The reverse happens when you power down your TV turning off the power to the other sockets. This saves you on electricity and therefore money.

What an easy way to help the environment and your pocket book! Win-win for everyone!

Make sure to enter over at Miss Mommy and tell her I sent you!

Our kitchen has gone from this:

To this:

The pictures make it look easy. It started off that way, but things have gotten a little hairy. We hired a contractor to remove two studs and the header and to finish off our sheetrock. He agreed, then the morning he showed up, he said he’d changed his mind and would not be finishing the job (only removing the studs and header). Nice.

Thankfully, he did build this:

Which now houses our heating vent (goes through the roof).

Now Jonathan, being the awesomely talented guy he is, is finishing up the sheetrock, mudding and electrical.

Unless you read about the beginning of our project, then you might not know about my love of wallpaper. And by love, I mean total hatred strong dislike. But, alas, the wallpaper is down and painting has begun!! *A shout out of thanks to Rachel for watching Mabel!*

And for a “green” tip – hang on to your plastic containers (yogurt, salsa, etc) cause you never know what you can use them for later:

I promise one day I’ll actually post pictures of our house when it’s clean.  It might not be until the girls are in college, but hey.

Today I’m being featured as a guest poster over at i Dream of Clean – hosted by Christine, a bloggy friend who lives in Nashville. I wrote about how to make your very own green cleaning products. Exciting stuff that I am very passionate about!

clean,cleaning,mom

Be sure to check me out here: i Dream of Clean – Cleaners You Can Make at Home.

Or, if this is your first time to my site: WELCOME! Feel free to browse around and enjoy.

If you want to see a few other posts on ways I’ve gone green, read more here:

Green living, Part 1

TMI, or, For Girls Only – Seriously

How is cloth going… really… I mean, how’s it going?

And if you want my thoughts on chores, read these:

I’m sure even Martha Stewart doesn’t like chores

I don’t “do” chaos

It will never, ever end

Here is the second part of my three part series on green living. Click here for Part 1.

Why is our family striving to become green? Green living to me is a way to reveal to this world just one more aspect of Christ. Romans 1:19-20 (NLT) says “They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” God has revealed Himself to this world through His creation. I want to do my part to ensure that His creation stays healthy and vibrate so that generations from now, people will still be able to see God’s hand through His creation.

One of the easiest ways our family incorporated being “green” was with green cleaning.

In the Spring of 2008, I began reading about how many cleaning products contained possible carcinogens, reproductive toxins and nervous system disrupting chemicals. It freaked me out, not only for Jonathan and my exposure, but for Julia (and future W’s – we love you Hannah!). Jonathan agreed that once our cleaning supplies were done, we could purchase all new “greener” cleaners.

We first started buying “green products” like Green Works, Seventh Generation or Mrs. Meyers. These products contain no harsh chemicals, are plant derived and biodegradable (making them better not only for household use, but for the environment) and list the ingredients that they contain. I love all these brands. We use them for our laundry detergent and dish washing soap. The only complaint I’ve ever had is with dishwasher soap, it seems everythign but Electrosol leaves us with crazy haze and water spots. But, that’s no longer a problem for us.

After our supply ran out, I started making “green products”. I came across Women’s Voices for the Earth, who introduced me to “Green Cleaning Parties“. A green cleaning party “is a fun event where you and your friends learn how to make non-toxic cleaners from common ingredients like vinegar, baking soda and essential oils.”  The cleaner recipes are super easy to make and are perfect for large batches. Two years ago, my friend Dana, received homemade cleaning products as a Christmas present and loved it! So, my suggestion? Make the cleaners yourself and then gift them to those around you.

In this video, I explain how to make homemade soft scrub (for use in the kitchen or bath):

photo credit

Last Wednesday, I had the privilege of speaking about “Green Living” to about 30 moms. I never realized how big of a topic green living is.  Let me tell you, it’s huge. And slightly overwhelming. For the two days leading up to the speech, I started to get a little nervous. The night before Jonathan reassured me that 1) this isn’t a test, 2) people really just want to be entertained, 3) just talk like you’re talking to friends. I took these things to heart and feel like the presentation went really well.

They recorded the audio for the speech and the entire session (also featuring my friend, Leah – it happens to be her birthday so go say hi) will be available online in a couple of weeks. However, I thought I’d do a blog “series” on the three ways our family has gone green.

Why is our family striving to become green? Green living to me is a way to reveal to this world just one more aspect of Christ. Romans 1:19-20 (NLT) says “They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” God has revealed Himself to this world through His creation. I want to do my part to ensure that His creation stays healthy and vibrate so that generations from now, people will still be able to see God’s hand through His creation.

One of the first steps we incorporated in becoming green was effectively using cloth.

The first step we’ve taken is using cloth bags instead of plastic bags. I keep cloth bags in my purse, my car and by my backdoor. I do this, so that they are easily accessible when I am going grocery shopping, running errands or even cleaning toys out of my car. I admit, it did take a little time to get use to using cloth bags when grocery shopping. I would forget them at home (still do sometimes!) or not bring enough along for all the grocery items. But, once I started having one on hand in my purse and keeping several in my car, I found it to be much easier.

The second step we’ve taken is using cloth napkins instead of paper towels. Jonathan would go through a roll of paper towels in a week if I didn’t watch out. So, when I purchased a 24 set of wash clothes and banished the paper towels, it was an adjustment to say the least. I love using wash clothes over paper towels: they are so much more absorbent, obviously reusable, and sturdy. I will say this, not all of our guests have been as easy going about using a wash cloth as a napkin. Most people don’t have a problem with it, especially since we’ve been doing it for a while, but in the beginning we did get some weird looks.

The third step we’ve taken is using cloth diapers instead of disposables. I’ve blogged about this topic a lot. I will say 3 things I’ve learned about in the last 18+ months of cloth diapering is: delay solids as long as possible; invest in a diaper sprayer – even if you don’t think you’ll use it you really will; and encourage early potty training. While it took Julia longer to catch on to peeing in the potty, she loved pooping from the first time we gave it a shot at 11 months. And she’s been pooping in the potty exclusively since 20 months. A-mazing.

The fourth step we’ve I’ve taken is using cloth pads instead of plastic pads. If you really want to read up on my “adventure” go here or here. Enjoy! 😉

November is a big month for our family.

Julia turns 2.

Two of my best friends from college are coming to visit.

We are spending Thanksgiving in Tennessee; it will be the first time in 10 years the whole family has been together.

And, of course, I’ve decided to give up cooking.

Well, not entirely.

I might, on occasion, brown some meat.

Or boil water.

But for the most part, I will not be cooking.

My crockpot will.

In the “eating healthy on a budget” world, I have stumbled across this site numerous times. I’ve read about it, heard about it and even talked about it, but never given it much thought. Until this past month.

I love to cook.

I love to bake.

I love pretty much anything revolving around the kitchen and food.

But it’s gotten harder and harder to incorporate Julia and Hannah into my dinnertime cooking. I want Julia to “help” as much as she’s able, but 4:30-5 seems to be Hannah’s fussiest time of the day (she’s phasing out her last nap). Which means, I find myself a tad stressed with a little helper, a cry-baby and the clock ticking. So, I resolved to make things easier.

Starting tomorrow (or for most of my readers, today), I am making crockpot meals every week day for the month of November*. This will allow me to have Julia help me with dinner in the mornings, free myself up to have more time in the late afternoon to focus on both girls, while still providing nutritious meals for the family.

It’s a win-win.

Here is our meal schedule for the month (most of these recipes are from Crockpot 365, but a few are ones I already had):

Pumpkin Soup

Pasta Fagioli

Maple Dijon Chicken

Harvest Stew

Turkey and wild rice soup

Peppercorn steak

Potato Soup

Sloppy Joes

Salsa chicken and black bean soup

End of summer harvest soup

Philly cheesesteak soup

Chicken makhani Indian butter

Autumn sausage casserole

Chicken and sweet potato stew

Pumpkin black bean soup

 

*I currently have planned to have leftovers for the weekends, but I’m sure I will end up cooking at some point over the next month. Unless I can convince Jonathan on those times….

This last week I watched King Corn. It was very fascinating. It’s a genuine eye opener about what Americans ingest and how corn has taken over our diets. I highly recommend it.

Anyways, two things I learned from this movie kinda unnerved me:

– 70% of the antibiotics used in America are used on cattle.

– Americans, on average, only spend 16-17% of their monthly income on food. 50 years ago it was closer to 50+%.

My friend, Dana, recently posted her thoughts on eating more organic. She’s taking baby steps towards using organic meat in her meals once a week.

I like baby steps.

Well, not really.

Really, what I love to do (and Jonathan can attest) is start these really grand wonderful schemes.

And never follow through.

So, in all reality, Jonathan likes baby steps for me.

And so, I like baby steps.

Rather than banish the 40+ pounds of chicken I have frozen in our freezer, I decided to make a list of the products we consume on a regular basis that could easily be substituted.

Here is said list:

potato chips

graham crackers

snack packs (100 calorie packs)

chicken broth

eggs

I went to New Pi to do a little more price matching. I knew the amounts for the eggs (roughly $3.50 for free range organic) but needed a better idea on the other items. Wanna know what? Organic potato chips are $5.99. Organic chicken broth – $3.99. Ye-ow!

But, really, if I step back and think about it, I’m use to only spending approximately 16-17% of my income on food. So, I need to change my expectations… and start experimenting.

Which leads me to my newest adventure:

potato chips

I borrowed a mandolin from Ambre and sliced up 3 potatoes. I did them in different sizes (1/4″, 1/8″, 1/4″ ruffled) to get an idea of what might work best. I covered them with a tad amount of EVOO and salt and baked them. So far, the only ones that came out crispy like a chip were the 1/4″. The other two were just french fries in a chip form. I think it might be because I had a smaller amount of the 1/4″, so they were spread out and given a better chance of baking without getting soggy. They turned out really tasty and chip like. Julia and I ate them all. So, clearly, no complaints. 😉 I’m gonna practice a little more tomorrow and this weekend. I’m hoping to find the perfect potato chip so we can start substituting as soon as our current bag runs out.

My second adventure was making homemade chicken broth. I’ve done this once in the past, but it didn’t turn out nearly as good.

This time I used the bones from a chicken we purchased at New Pi. I followed a trusted recipe and got 80+ ounces. I refrigerated most of it, since I will be using it next week in two soups. But I also froze two ice cube trays full, in order to have it on hand when needed in the future.

I’m kinda proud of myself. I felt all pioneer-y and susie-home-baker.

Next week I plan on tackling the graham crackers.

Seriously, if you’re a guy stop reading now. Really. Just close your laptop and walk away. No joke. If you keep reading you will forever be scarred.

Guys, I warned you.

Alright, is it just the ladies now?

Have you ever considered cloth pads? I’ve done quite a bit of research on them over the last 9 months and have decided to give them a try. They can get rather expensive, so I’m having some made. It seems kinda gross (Jonathan won’t touch this subject with a 10 foot pole), but I figured if I’ve got two kids in cloth, why not just add a third? Plus, from the research I’ve done they say that these things hold up for years. One blogger said that between her cloth and Diva Cup, she hadn’t used store bought products in ten years! How cool is that?! Last summer before getting pregnant, I used the Diva Cup for about 3 months. I loved it. Completely and totally amazing. I think what is so appealing to me is that 1) you don’t have to change it all the time, 2) I can leave my house without worrying about one more thing to have on hand, 3) it never leaks and 4) it’s so much more comfortable than a tampon. However, I can’t use it post-Dubya Dos which is where the pads come in.

So far I’ve found GladRags, Party in my Pants (they are sold individually at New Pi), and Lunapads to be the most recommended. However, just for a small postpartum kit the pads would run me close to $100. Which, if they last 10 years, is only $10 a year on pads. Not too bad at all, but outside of right after delivery, I never wear pads (maybe a liner for added protection), which means that these wouldn’t be used all that often. I’ve checked out some on eBay, but with shipping you don’t really save all that much, especially since you buy individually rather than in a kit.

Ladies, have you ever looked into cloth pads? If so, what are your thoughts? Do you use them? Would you ever use them?

***EDIT***

I did start using cloth pads after Hannah was born (June 2009). If you want to read about how that’s gone, check out TMI – the update.


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