Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Paper Keeper

There is a pile of paper taking up residence on the left side of my kitchen island. I keep it tidied to the best of my abilities but it is growing at a rapid pace. The homeless papers are a hodepodge of things we need to keep; letters from K's school, an X-Ray order for my husband's shoulder, the letter from our bank stating that our car loan is paid in full (yeah!); important documents with no important place to put them. Their place on the counter leaves them vulnerable to spills and smudges and their presence annoys me to no end. I need them up, off and away quickly, cheaply and permanently. Here's how to make your very own paper keeper out of recyled materials!

1.Select an empty cereal box. *Side Note* I am aware that Peanut Butter Captain Crunch stands for everything I am against when it comes to nutrition but it was on sale for $1.99 and I was having a moment of weakness. Forgive me.

2.Cut the top off and angle the front down and across. I can't really think of how to explain that....just look at the picture and use your brain. It's not too complicated! Reinforce all seams and edges with packing tape.

3.Make it pretty! Select a covering for your cereal box.You can use scrapbook paper, paint, book pages...whatever you have on hand. I used some leftover wrapping paper. It's not my favorite pattern and does nothing for the decor but remember, we're using what we have!

4.Wrap your box like you would a present. The wrapping actually turned out to be a bit tricky, but after some finagling I got it pretty well covered. I secured my paper with hot glue so there wouldn't be any visible tape but you use whatever adhesive makes you happy.

5.Secure to the fridge with magnetic clips and PRESTO! A place for the papers that have no place. And now no one will ever even know I bought Captain Crunch...


Monday, September 26, 2011

Green and Frugal Laundry Room Makeover!

My laundry room is nothing spectacular but I spend an awful lot of time in that tiny box of a room. Not only do I wash, dry and fold clothes there, but we walk through it each and every time we go out to the garage. It's bare, white walls and lint covered baseboards left much to be desired.Why not make it a more inspiring space to work in and walk through? Here's what I did:

Clean: All walls and baseboards were scrubbed with hot water and vinegar. The vinegar loosened the linty grime and once dry, there was no pickle-y smell left over. Green and cheap!

Paint: I used Valspar's low VOC paint in Homestead Yellow. VOC's, or Volatile Organic Compounds include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short and long term adverse health effects. VOC's are also  a contributing factor to ozone, a common air pollutant. The lower the number of VOC's, the better the paint is for the environment.

Floors: The floors got a good scrubbing with the same concoction I used on the walls and baseboards. I added color and comfort with two recycled rubber rugs I got at Lowe's on clearance. They were four dollars each. Score!

Decor: God bless the internet. I found great laundry themed images here and here. I printed them out, slapped 'em in some dollar store frames and hung them up. I also added a series of hooks for drip drying my unmentionables and a contraption to hang the mop, broom and dustpan.

Viola! I love it! A little purging, a little rearranging and my laundry room is a bright and sassy space that makes folding laundry a little more palatable. My little makeover was easy on the planet and easy on my pocketbook. It doesn't get much better than that!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Candlelit Dinners

My daughter has been in school nearly a month now and we have slowly fallen into our new routine. I thought that mornings would be an issue for us but I have been pleasantly suprised at just how smoothly things run. Wake up, make breakfast, pack lunches and snacks, dress, gym and finally school. I have a little more than an hour with my son before he goes down for his nap during which we play or read together. When he goes down, I have two glorious, uninterrupted hours to do whatever choose. Usually, I tidy up and make myself do one major chore that needs doing. The rest of the time is for me. I sew, blog, browse Facebook or's lovely actually.

A little something I'm working on....more on that later!
The trouble starts when K gets home from school. She is dropped off a little after four by a friend with whom I've worked out a carpool (she brings our girls home, I drop them off). I help her change out of her uniform, go through her school folder for notes or homework, and pry out bits of information about her day. The three of read a few books together and's nuts.

The kids start fighting. And if they aren't fighting, they are running around like chickens with their heads cut off. I start cooking dinner around 5:15 at which point I banish them to their rooms or the backyard, depending on the weather. Getting them to wash up and sit down to eat is a chore in itself.  After dinner it should be straight to the tub but there's a great deal of commotion and craziness before that happens too. By the time they are fed and bathed, it's nearly too late for bedtime stories and instead of enjoying time with my husband, I am more in the mood for a glass of wine and a nap!

Rhythm, it seems, is my answer. I read a great many blogs who employ the methods of Waldorf education. Rhythm, whether it’s the natural rhythm of the seasons, or the daily rhythm of school and home life, is central to the Waldorf philosophy. Regular rituals nourish the child and give them a sense of security. My children's morning rhythm is solid; the evening rhythm could use some work. Though we do follow a pattern of sorts-dinner, bath, story, bed- I feel that my kids need transistional rituals to calm the craziness and make sure we are getting things done without too much stress.

I don't have any "cure all" ideas but there is one simple thing that has been making a huge difference in our evenings that I read about on a Waldorf education website. A candle. A simple, beautiful taper candle. When it's time to sit down and eat together, I light two candles, one for each child. When those candles are lit, my kids know it's time to eat; not time to play, not time to wash, not time to chase the cat; it's time to sit with your family and eat. I'm amazed at how the simple act of lighting candles has helped the children transistion from the craziness of free play to the semi-sanity of the dinner table.

What is your daily rhythm like? What simple tactics do you employ to make things run more smoothly?

Monday, September 19, 2011


My husband bought a juicer! Inspired by a few of his workmates, he decided that juicing would solve his "I gag on veggies" problem, all while boosting his health and immunity. Though excited to add an awesome juicer to my kitchen gadget repitore, I fear that his juicing gusto will wane and eventually,the juicer will become a counter space taker upper and yet another effort to eat the way we should will have failed. That being said, we used it for the first time yesterday and I think I'm in love....

We started out light on veggies in an effort to make a more pleasant tasting juice. For a man who smothers anything green in ranch dressing, we have to ease into things you know? Apples, oranges, raspberries, ginger, carrots, rubarb and spinach went in to the first batch and it was delicious. And within minutes, I felt as if I downed one of those sugary energy drinks. I felt fantastic and there was no crash afterwards. And though it is best to drink your juice immediatley, I sealed about eight ounces in the fridge and used it as the liquid in my green smoothie this morning. I worked out long and hard ( I even RAN which I rarely do) and I swear it's because of the juice!

After dropping my daughter at school, my son and I hit the grocery store for more produce. The only drawback I see to juicing is the cost. Making juice, especially from leafy greens,  requires a TON of produce. Things are cooling off here so we will be able to plant greens again and that will help. But man oh man. No wonder you feel so wonderful after drinking good fresh juice. The amount of vitamins you are consuming is astronomical! If I actually sat down and tried to eat the produce I put in my juice, I'd be so full I'd burst!

For example, here's what's up to be juiced tomorrow morning:

1 head of romaine lettuce
1/2 bag baby spinach
1 or 2 kale leaves (they are very bitter so use them sparingly!)
handful of flat leaf parsley
3 carrots
small piece of ginger
3 ribs of celery
a pint of raspberries
1 apple
1 lemon

Even though this will be split between my husband and I,visualize yourself sitting down at breakfast and eating all that! Juicing gives you all the nutritional benefits without consuming the roughage that fills you up. That being said, unless you are on a juice fast, juice alone will not sustain you. Juice is a wonderful compliment to your routine but shouldn't be used as a meal replacement or as your only source of fruits and vegetables. If I'm not using the juice in a smoothie, I might pair it with a piece of whole grain toast and almond butter so that I have some fat and protein to fuel me until lunch.

Do you juice? What are your favorite recipes? How do you wean from mostly fruit to all veggie juice? We are very new to this so suggestions are welcome!


Monday, September 12, 2011

That's So Pinteresting!

First things first. The winner of my Labor Day giveaway is:

Comment number seven, Rachel Clark. Congrats Rachel! I hope you enjoy your copy of
 Ice Pop Joy!

I am addicted Pinterest. If you've been living under a rock and have yet to experience the glory that is Pinterest, I suggest you give me your email so that I can invite you to try it for yourself. Pinterest is essentially a virtual pinboard where you can keep track of all the wonderful things you encounter in cyberspace. And better yet, you can browse through everyone else's boards and find even more glorious stuff! Crafts, recipes, books, art, music,'s just the best. And though it can be the ULTIMATE time suck, having an account has opened my eyes to some wonderful, simple and GREEN ideas that I never would have thought of otherwise.

Here are a few of my newest discoveries:

Cream of Something Soup-This is amazing. If you are trying to cut out processed food but miss all those delicious recipes that call for a can of cream of something soup, this is your solution. It's gluten free too!

Homemade Yogurt Tubes-Brilliant. My daughter will only eat yogurt if it comes out of a tube and those organic go-gurts are killing my pocketbook. These would be a perfect way for those of you who make your own yogurt to portion it out for your kids. Perhaps I really do need a foodsaver after all!

Homemade Goldfish and Nutella-These are two mega favorites in our house. How cool is it to make our own versions, made with real ingredients and no preservatives or transfats? The goldfish tutorial even tells you how to make a goldfish shaped cracker cutter from a recycled aluminum can!

Newspaper Gift Bags-I'm pretty good at saving gift bags and tissue but should my stash ever run low, this is a great way to recycle your newspapers and make a really gorgeous bag for gift giving.

Gathered Tank Top Tote- I love tank tops. I love bags. This is a quick and easy way to take my older, stretched out tanks and turn them in to a super cute bag. Love!

I could go on. And on and on and on.....But really, if you haven't seen what all the fuss is about, I highly suggest you check it out! Find new ideas and share some of your own. If you'd like to see all of the cool stuff I've pinned, you can click on the link below to follow my boards. Happy pinning!

Follow Me on Pinterest


Friday, September 9, 2011

No, Not Shamu

Some depressing statistics to brighten your day:
  • Forty to fifty percent of all food ready for harvest in the United States never gets eaten.
  • The United States spends about 1 billion dollars a year just to dispose of food waste.
  • Americans throw away 6,000 tons of food every single day.
This information simply blew me away. Just this morning I threw away half a box of moldy strawberries and a very wilted head of lettuce. That was time, money and precious nourishment straight in to the garbage. Not only does food waste squander the time, energy, and resources used to produce that food, but it overwhelms our landfills and contributes to global warming by releasing methane as it decomposes. Makes you think twice about tossing your leftovers, doesn't it?

Any action, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction. While I try to cut back on wasted food by cooking less and using leftovers more, I was thrilled to see that my city is also trying to do its part. The Phoenix Convention Center is one of the largest convention venues in the U.S. To lessen it's environmental impact and encourage sustainability, it is implementing the use of the ORCA (no, not Shamu,) also called the Organic Refuse Conversion Alternative (ORCA) machine. The ORCA is a food waste disposal system which biologically converts organic food waste into a nutrient rich liquid through an accelerated decomposition process.

Though picturing a giant whale noshing on Phoenix's food scraps is a bit more fun, the ORCA is actually just a large stainless steel box capable of handling up to 2000 pounds of scraps a day. A composter on steroids if you will.  I applaud PCC's innovative solution for handling their food waste and hopefully,  they will set the standard amongst other Phoenix businesses. Score one for the environmentalists!

And don't most fabulous giveaway ends this Sunday. Head on over and enter. Who doesn't like free stuff??


Wednesday, September 7, 2011


I don't usually look or listen to the weather report around here. I mean really, how many times can you hear "recording breaking heat" and still be able to face the day with a smile? However, I did look at the forecast this morning and to my surprise and delight, this is what I saw:

While this may not look particularly exciting to the rest of you, the fact that the weather man is calling for DOUBLE DIGIT TEMPERATURES makes me swoon.The hottest, most miserable part of the year is almost over. There's a light at the end of the tunnel and I'm giddy. Just think! Using the clothesline again. Opening the windows. Playing outside. Bike rides. New spinach plantings. Pants. Oh, I really do miss long pants! So much to look forward to if we can just hang in for another month of so.

In anticipation of tolerable temps, I ventured in to the garage and dug out the seasonal decor box. I've got autumn leaves on my door, pumpkins on my sideboard and my apple spice candles burning. I summon thee 'o glorious autumn! Deliver me from the monstrous heat of summer fair!

So...what does this have to do with green and simple living? Well....nothing. I'm just so dang excited I had to tell somebody. It's been a looong summer. And just in case you are still dealing with sweltering heat, don't forget to enter my Labor Day Giveaway to receive a free copy of Anni Daulter's book Ice Pop Joy. Popsicles make everything better!


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Labor Day Giveaway!

Who doesn't love a three day weekend? Labor Day marks the end of summer and though the days are getting shorter and the leaves on my neighbor's trees are fading and falling, autumn seems to have gotten lost on it's way to Arizona. In fact, this year was the hottest August ever recorded. Thirty one consecutive days of temperatures over 115 degrees. My garden is dead, my chicken is mad and I am SO done with summer. And they say global warming is myth!

I keep telling myself that if I can just hang on until October, my children and I can crawl out of our caves, dust off the 'ol bicycles and head for the park. But for now, we swim, we revel in any place air conditioned and we eat popsicles...lots and lots of popsicles.

I bought popsicle molds soon after I decided that the homemade version of just about anything is better for you than store bought. I tended to keep things simple; frozen organic orange juice, grape juice, sometimes leftover smoothie. It wasn't until I was so generously offered a copy of Anni Daulter's book Ice Pop Joy that our popsicle making really got interesting.

Beautifully photographed and full of great ideas, Anni's unique approach to ice pops makes eating healthy fun. Using wholesome and sometimes  unique ingredients, she teaches you how to make a sweet treat without refined sugars or artificial flavorings. The books is divided into chapters which feature a specific type of pop including pure fruit pops, veggie pops, yogurt pops, tofu pops, herbal tea pops, chocolate pops, and specialty pops. All are fun to make, all are delicious to eat, and all are nutritious options for your family.

Although we eat a LOT of popsicles, we tend to be creatures of habit. I wanted to try a pop out of each chapter before I reviewed the book but my kids took to the first pop we tried and were reluctant to try new ones. Anni's Peace Pop was an instant hit. Made with strawberries, mangoes and carrots, these pretty orange pops were eaten almost as fast I could freeze them. Full of fruits and vegetables and lacking in artificial ingredients, I was more than happy to hand them over. I really enjoyed the Cool-n-Fresh which is made with pineapple, cucumbers and zucchini. Yes, zucchini! Another great way to use up the fruits of everyone's favorite prolific plant.

And because Anni was so generous is giving me a copy to preview, I feel it's only fair that you get a chance to have one too!'s true. It's a Labor Day Giveaway! To enter you must:

1) Be a follower of Green's Going Green. If you're not, don't worry. It's easy. Just wander on up to the top of the page and click "follow." See? That wasn't so hard!

2) Leave me a comment telling me your favorite kind of popsicle.

And that's it! I will select a comment at random and announce the winner on Monday, September 12th.  Good luck friends!