Friday, November 18, 2011

Being Green(er)

So, last Friday (I tend to post on Fridays, anyone else notice that?!? Maybe I'll write about that one day!) I posted about recycling. But, there are many other ways to be green around your home (and thus teaching your children about being green). It's about making it a habit. If something is a habit, you're more likely to do it regularly, right?! Well, here are some simple outside-the-usual-recycling-box things that we do around our home to do our part in being green:

1. Use reusable shopping bags. Now, although I preach this, I am terrible at remembering them at the store, especially the grocery store! Once in awhile I will remember them if I'm going clothes shopping or something, but for some reason it slips my mind at Target & Wal-Mart. Anyhoo, I decided to place them in the front seat of my car in hopes that I will remember :) Plus, Target gives you $0.05 off for each bag you use and Whole Food gives you $0.10!

Say "green"

2. Reuse your dryer sheets!!! Who woulda thunkit?! Those little suckers are packed with a lot to give. With Bounce sheets, I will dry two loads of laundry, saving the sheets from each load and then use those two for the third load instead of grabbing a fresh sheet. If I'm using a cheaper brand (will remain nameless, ha!), I will use three sheets to get the softness I'm looking for (I'm very picky!). I can typically reuse a dryer sheet about two - three times before I've decided it's been beat up enough.

3. Unplug appliances. We have some lamps we use daily & those stay plugged in at all times (along with the televisions). However, all of my small kitchen appliances (even the ones I leave out on the countertop) stay unplugged unless I'm using them. Same goes for the boys' humidifiers, iPhone chargers & computers.

4. Purchase & use cloth napkins. For some reason it really bugs me to use paper napkins! I'm quirky like that. I will even save the extra paper napkins from restaurants. Anyways, I purchased some cloth napkins & they have worked out great! I just throw them in with my usual towel laundry loads and it doesn't create any extra loads (better for the environment and your wallet)! They quickly paid for themselves. Plus, they just look nicer on the table :)

Speaking of laundry, Baby O likes to get into things...

There are other things we/I do that have become so much of a habit that I can't think to name them here. When I do, I'll share for anyone interested in doing their part :) If you have any ideas/suggestions for being green(er) around the home, please share, I'm always looking to improve!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Being Green

And no, I'm not talking about being Green with envy or the color of Kermit the Frog or wishing you had more of it in your wallet :) I'm talking about being Earth-friendly!

After spending nearly a decade in Austin, TX, we picked up some Green habits, one of them being recycling. And while Tulsa offers curbside recycling, I opted-out because they only accept a few of the many recyclable items in their bin. Thankfully, Tulsa also offers a great resource for recycling household goods...The Met

So, I created our own little "recycling center" in our garage...

Doing their part!

Excited about recycling!

Here's how we have it set up...
  1. We separate out all the recyclables (as preferred by the recycling center). Items that the BA location accepts include:
      #1 Plastic
      #2 Plastic
      Paper Goods (magazines, newspaper, office paper)
      Paperboard (boxes that Kleenex, cereal, toothpaste, etc. come in)
      Aluminum Cans
      Batteries (household batteries - not just car batteries!)
      Plastic Lids
      Plastic shopping bags - reuse asl trash bags or take to Wal-Mart for recycling
      Paper shopping bags - I reuse almost all of what I have

    When we use up a Plastic, Glass or Aluminum item, we rinse it out (if needed), remove any outer stickers or paper/plastic wrap & place it in the corresponding bin. With Paperboard, we remove any inner plastic bags or attached plastic (like with cereal & Kleenex boxes).

  2. Once a month we take Paper Goods to our church and dump it in their Green paper bin (looks like a dumpster). Many schools and churches have these in their parking lots and they get money for recycling paper goods. So not only are you helping the environment, you are helping your local school/church! A tip: usually these items do not need to be separated, you can simply dump all your paper items into the bin.

  3. Once a month the boys and I take the remaining recyclables to The Met in Broken Arrow. There are usually people there to help unload the items and place them where they need to go (this is nice when the kids are in the car with me). This particular location works with the Gatesway Foundation...again, not only are you helping the environment, but you are helping a local charitable organization and others in need!

  4. Note: The Met doesn't take Plastic Lids, but Aveda in the mall accepts them.

Recycling is a small thing we can do to make a big difference - it provides products that can be broken down and reused as well as minimizing our landfills and leaving the Earth a better place for our future! Check out The Met for the closest recycling location to you!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Try, try again

Proverbs 4:25: "Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you."

Goals. Does reading that word make you cringe?! My confession...sometimes setting goals makes me cringe...identifying area(s) that I would like or need to change within myself and then holding myself accountable. Cringe. It can be hard! However, other times I find it energizing to challenge myself to be a better person. Depends on the goal and what mood I'm in :)

Cole playing with a glittery spider...I'm a bit phobic of spiders but I'll take one for the team...cringe!

While in Nursing school, I learned more than just how to be a nurse, I learned a lot of lessons that can be applied to life in general. One of those was setting and measuring goals.

Tip #1: How to create goal(s)...first, assess what it is you want to change. Then determine what you would like the end result to be, make a plan for change and implement that change. Lastly, evaluate the progress and continue the process until you reach your goal.

Tip #2: Goals need to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely (SMART). In other words, it's not very effective to say "I want to change the way I eat." It's much more effective to say "I want to eat healthier by eating all my meals at home for one week." You see the difference?! Confession: Craig and I used to be guilty of creating overly-general goals. They proved themselves to be useless.

Tip #3: It can help to write your goals down and/or share your goals with someone. Something about seeing it on paper can really increase your motivation and sharing your goals with someone holds you accountable. I also like to assign us a "grade" based on how we are doing. This helps us measure our progress and identify areas for improvement.

Too fun not to share this one!

Overall, we feel as if we've done a good job at setting BIG goals and meeting them. But in the process of working on these BIG goals, the little ones have gone by the wayside (something about working full-time while going to school full-time and "working" part-time at clinicals all while having a newborn)! Things such as exercising regularly, eating at home, keeping a clean house, etc. just weren't as important at the time.

So, fastforward almost three years and we are finally revisiting our smaller goals. Each Sunday, Craig & I review the week ahead and have begun discussing what we want our weekly goal to be. Our first goal was to eat out less...and to make it SMART, it was to eat every dinner at home and allow one lunch "out." The first two weeks, I gave us a C and a B+. This week, we get a HUGE A+!!! This has been a long-running challenge for us and now that we have children, we want to set a good example. And the point of today's title is that even though you may not accomplish your goal on the first try, try again!

Owen loves corn on the cobb...I wish I had a pic of it after he was done!

Next week, I plan to write about being Green (aka Earth-friendly) of my goals that I've had for my family for a long time (and actually something that we've successfully stuck with over the years)! BTW, it's also one of my quirks :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Happy Howmuchfunween!

The ToT Group - Lou, Owen, Cole & Bailey

I've always loved this time of year! First comes Halloween (I admittedly was one of those teenagers who continued to dress up and trick-or-treat well past the acceptable age...thankfully I look young for my age so I pulled it off easily). Next comes Thanksgiving with all the yummy food, time with family & cooler weather. Then there's Christmas (undoubtedly the BEST holiday of the year) with more yummy food, family time & of course the celebration of Jesus' birthday! And then there's New Year' exciting it is to begin a new year of life and feel as if you get a "fresh start" every 12 months! Well, I don't want this time of year to go by too fast, so back to Halloween :)

Cole was Thomas the Train at the church's Trunk or Treat...silly boy!

And Owen with his wobbly waddle made a perfect Frankenstein!

Anyhoo, I thought I would post some pics of the boys enjoying Halloween (and especially for our out-of-town friends...which btw, I need to see pics of your kiddos dressed up know who you are!). The boys had a BLAST this year! Cole finally understood what it meant to Trick or Treat and really enjoyed dressing up! Owen just wanted to be like big brother, so he quickly followed suit :)

Last-minute change...Cole decided he wanted to wear last year's costume as Nemo...ended up being a huge hit!

And my little Franken Baby!

Between treats from Mimi & Papa and Grandma & Grandpa, Trunk or Treat at our church, Pumpkin Town with Mimi & Papa, and then a potluck & neighborhood ToT with neighbors and friends, we had a T-O-N of fun!!! So much fun that Cole had a "Halloween Hangover" the next day :) We hope everyone had a fun & safe holiday!