Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Green Blog Hop Wednesday

Once again it's time for green hop Wednesday.  Yesterday I changed my background imagine and finally created a blog title image.  What do you think?  I think the background image was meant to be, don't you?

One Lovely Blog

Su-sieee! Mac from This and That. Here and There. Now, Sometimes Then. was kind enough to give me this award.

I'm incredibly flattered, especially since this is such a new blog for me and I don't have a lot of followers or readers yet.  Sometimes it feels like I'm talking to myself.  I'm glad to know that I'm not.

Thanks Su-sieee! Mac, you truly brightened my day.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hoo are you?


Hoo are you is hosted by Night Owl crafting, click on the picture above to go to their website and play along.

This week's questions and my answers:

1. How many times a year do you get your hair cut?
I'm actually in the process of growing my hair out, well, longer.  Right now I get it cut every 8 weeks.  Once I get it the length I want it, I'll probably go every 10 -12 weeks.

2. Where is the worst place to be stuck waiting?
In line..anywhere. I get impatient, especially when I don't have a book to read.

3. What are your favorite pizza toppings?
Mushrooms and Onions..hands down. If I have to share the pizza with Husband, he doesn't like onions so I don't get those. At least I can usually talk him into sausage instead of pepperoni, then I end up picking off a lot of the sausage.

4. What's your favorite thing about where you live?
I love all the old neighborhoods.  St. Louis doesn't have a great downtown, but we have a lot of old neighborhoods with charm.  Central West End is full of fun little independent shops and some restaurants, surrounded by huge, beautiful homes.  Same with Lafayette Square. Baileys Chocolate Bar is located in Lafayette square, best chocolate martini's in town if you ask me.  I've done the house tour in Lafayette square, it's a lot of fun.   Dogtown is an old Irish neighborhood.    The Hill is another area with small, cute houses and good Italian restaurants.  Webster Groves has a great atmosphere and beautiful homes, some of which were part of the Underground railroad.  

5. What's your favorite fruit? Veggie?
My favorite fruit are strawberries. Love strawberries.  Veggie..not much of a veggie person. I suppose I would have to go with mushrooms, or maybe corn. 

Change the World Wednesday - Paper

The latest Change the World Wednesday focused on Paper. I'm rather behind in getting my post out, considering a new challenge will be released tomorrow.  However, I couldn't let this one slip past me.

I don't believe I print too much. Most of what I print for personal use are maps (no gps unit in the car yet and we don't pay for internet access on my cell phone) and coupons.  I only print the coupons I plan to use though, in order to limit the paper being used and the ink being used too.   I also try to re-use paper when I can't.  Last year I studied for an A+ certification and printed out a lot of practice questions and study guidelines.  After I passed both tests and received my certification I no longer needed the things I printed out so I used them at home.  I passed my last test in July 2009.  I just finished using up all that paper last month, Sept 2010.  It lasted me a little over a year!  Now I'm using paper that is blank on both sides, but I can promise that when I'm able to, I'll be re-using that paper and printing on the opposite side.

As you might know, I do scrapbook and make my own cards. Obviously we know this means I'm using paper and have tons of scraps.  I keep two trash bags near my craft table. One is for non-recyclable materials.  The other is a paper bag use for paper scraps.  If I go somewhere and scrapbook, I tend to take home all my scraps so I can recycle those too.  It's unbelievable how much paper is not recycled when it comes to scrapbooking. Yet another thing that almost gives me a heart- attack when I see it. haha
Maybe that's the next place we need to focus on, getting people who scrapbook and work with paper crafts to recycle recycle recycle.

My work is another issue. I admit that I don't print out too much now, but I used to.  One of the daily routines requires me to print out 6 pieces of paper.  Up until earlier this summer, that number was between 9-12.  Instead of making copies of one of the items, I scan it and keep a copy of it on a server.  Instead of printing out some reports, I save those as pdf's and save on the server now.  While 3-6 pieces doesn't seem like a lot, it adds up.  That 3-6 in one day would be 780-1560 per year!  Now that's a lot of paper.  While I've made the effort to limit paper use, my co-worker hasn't.  We switch off which daily routines we do monthly, so for one month the paper usage is low, the next it's not.  While my co-worker does save the same items on the server, she prints them and then scans them. I have no idea why, other than the fact that she isn't the sharpest tool in the shed (and that's the nicest thing I have to I'll say no more).

Another thing at work is that I re-use paper when possibly, just like at home.  If I  have to print something off, then don't need it again, as long as sensitive info isn't on it that would require it to be shredded, I use it for scrap paper.   Several months ago we had trouble with a printer, and a company came out to fix it.  The issue was with jamming.  They thought they fixed it and to test it, they printed off an entire ream of paper!  Then they put it in the recycle bin. I almost had a heart attack!  I asked where the paper went and they showed me, so I took it out of the bin and it's now at my desk where I use it for scrap paper.  I have a ton of scrap paper, especially since they did this twice.

I'll also note that at work and at home, once I'm finished with a piece of paper, it goes into the recycle bin.  At work I have no idea what happens to it.  However at home I take it to a local school and put it in their recycle bins since they get money when the bins are filled up.

So there you have it, those are the things I do.  I'm not sure I do anything different than you do, but at least I do something.

Oh..and since part of the challenge was to change margins to narrow when printing..I'm happy to report in that it's something that I already do most of the time.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Aspartame - scarier than a haunted house

If you are looking for a good scare this Halloween, look no further than the pack of gum in your desk drawer, the sugar-free food in your pantry, the diet soda in your fridge, and on and on.  Why is this stuff scary? It's scary if it contains Aspartame.

Aspartame is a sugar substitute found in many foods.

Why is it scary? It's linked to the following:

Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Many of these reactions are very serious including seizures and death.(1) A few of the 90 different documented symptoms listed in the report as being caused by aspartame include: Headaches/migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, tachycardia, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, loss of taste, tinnitus, vertigo, memory loss, and joint pain.

According to researchers and physicians studying the adverse effects of aspartame, the following chronic illnesses can be triggered or worsened by ingesting of aspartame:(2) Brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, parkinson's disease, alzheimer's, mental retardation, lymphoma, birth defects, fibromyalgia, and diabetes.
(I copied the above info from HERE). 

Don't just take my word for it, or the word of those I copied and pasted above, please do a search online.  You'll find a lot of stuff that says it's safe, you'll find a lot of stuff that says it's bad.  You be the judge on if you feel it's safe.  

Personally, I'm now watching ingredient lists for this one and shying away from foods that have it.  I knew it was in diet soda, I never drink the stuff. I recently found out it's in crystal light and sugar-free kool-aid.  Both of which I have at home and haven't touched since I realized that.  I also know pregnant woman are advised not to ingest aspartame.

I didn't realize aspartame is found in gum.  I read about that on a recent post about aspartame over at Tomus Arcanum.  I read gum and went "What? Gum? I had no idea!"  So I picked up the pack of gum on my desk and looked and sure enough it was in there.  So I looked at a different pack that I had in my desk drawer, sure enough, it's in there.   I would say "oh, it's just one piece of gum, what could it hurt?"  Then I realized that it's not uncommon for me to chew on 4-5 pieces in a day at work (that whole...sitting at the desk bored and feel like eating but not hungry issue).  That's scary.   The two gums are brands that I chew all the time too, because I like them and there are usually deals on them so I can get the gum at a decent price.   From now on, I'll be looking at ingredient lists before selecting what gum I buy.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Green Blog Hop

Wednesday is Green Blog Hop.  Click on the picture above to find out more about it.

This past weekend I started thinking about cotton balls.  I don't like paying for them because I use them and throw them away.  Yet, what else could I use to remove eye makeup? It has to be something soft because it's around my eyes.  I would have to own plenty of them so I could use once and then throw in the wash. Plus, I would want something that could be used to remove makeup or for anything else I might use cotton balls for, such as cleaning a scrape (I'm very accident prone..or as Husband would say, I'm a klutz).

Then I decided to check out Etsy.  I love Etsy.  I not only like to buy things handmade, but sometimes I like to get ideas from it.  shh...don't tell.   So I did a search for makeup remover and found some great ideas!  Then I did a search on google and found other ides.  Some people suggest cutting up a cotton shirt you will no longer use.  Others recommend using scraps of material laying around.

I personally thing any cotton shirts I own wouldn't be soft enough for me, I guess I'm being picky.  Some of the Etsy items were made from terry cloth and looked really soft. I bet those would be nice.   I also don't have scraps of material laying around since up till now I haven't sewed much.  The material I have recently bought wouldn't be soft enough either.   I think I'll go to the fabric store and hut down some fabric to buy and try making my own.  If that doesn't work, I'll buy from Etsy, the prices seem very reasonable to me.  I love the idea of taking something I already own and making it into a makeup remover, I just don't have any clothes soften enough to use or any clothes that are so worn I can't wear them or give them away.

If interested to see what I found on Etsy, click here.  There are some shops that I liked their items more than others, but since I haven't actually tried any yet I didn't want to single out specific stores.

Do you use something other than cotton balls around the house?  If so, please leave a comment, I would love to hear what you use.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hoo Are you?


Here are this weeks questions and answers to Hoo are you? hosted by Night Owl Crafting.  If you would like to join in on the fun, please visit their blog for the rules.

1.What was your favorite meal growing up?
I loved, and still love, toasted ravioli.  Never had toasted ravioli?  Head to St. Louis and get some!

2. What's your favorite month?
Hmm..this is a hard one. I want to say October because it's my birthday month and Halloween, but I do love the summer months because they are nice and warm.  

3. What store is most represented in your wardrobe?
Tough! Probably The Limited since I have several pairs of their pants and tops.  However there are a handful of stores I normally shop at and they could probably all tie for this one.

4. How many times do you go to the movie theater each month/year?
Previous to this year, it was only once or twice a year.  However this year I've been going to the movies almost once a month with a friend.

5. Fill in the blank- I've never been able to: raise only one eyebrow at a time. It looks so cool, I wish I could, but I can't. 

Monday, October 18, 2010


This past weekend I watched Food, Inc.  Have any of you seen that documentary?  If watching it doesn't cause you to make the life changes you've thought about or cause you to really look at what you are eating and try to eat healthier, I don't know what will.

For those of you who haven't seen this documentary yet, here's the trailer from it's website.

I know it took me awhile to watch this one, I think part of it was that I didn't want to know.  Ignorance is bliss, or so the saying goes.    I finally decided, after reading a bit online, that it was time I saw this one.

Fortunately, I wasn't really surprised by what I learned because I had read similar things already.  I have a feeling if Husband watched it he would be shocked. In fact, I tried to get him to watch it and he wouldn't. I think he believes ignorance is definitely bliss when it comes to the food he's eating.

The past 4 months or so I've been making slow changes in what foods I buy and what I'll eat.  I can promise you that I'll be making even more changes now.

One thing that has kept me from buying organic fruits and veggies up till this point is mostly the price.  Some things I do because the price isn't that different, but mostly I wasn't. I also had this mentally of "What does it matter, I'm only one person out of millions, I won't make a difference, the big companies don't care about me".  I liked that the documentary does actually address this.  We do influence companies based on what we buy.  If we keep buying the processed foods and the stuff that's bad for us, they will keep making it.  If we make the effort to stop buying soda, they'll stop making it. If we make the effort to buy cage-free, vegetarian eggs, that's the majority of what you will see.    If we make the effort to buy only grass-fed beef, we'll see more of it.    Plus, it's so much better for my health.  Once you realize the chemicals and other things that end up in the normal foods you eat, paying more to eat healthier doesn't seem all that bad.

Have you seen this documentary?  Did you make any changes after doing so?
If you haven't seen this documentary, any interest in seeing it? Why or why not?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Blog Action Day and Change the World Wednesday

I'm combining Change the World Wednesday and Blog Action Day all in one post.  Before I give you my thoughts, I'd like to give you some info on both of those.

Blog Action Day
The topic for Blog Action Day 2010 is WATER.    Taken from their website: Blog Action Day is an annual event held every October 15 that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking a global discussion and driving collective action.

Right now, almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water. That’s one in eight of us who are subject to preventable disease and even death because of something that many of us take for granted.
Access to clean water is not just a human rights issue. It’s an environmental issue. An animal welfare issue. A sustainability issue. Water is a global issue, and it affects all of us.

Change the Wold Wednesday
For this week's challenge, please participate in Blog Action Day and post something about water, on your blog, on Friday, October 15th. For more information and to register your blog, please visit the Blog Action Day siteHERE.

Or ... If you prefer not to formally join Blog Action Day, please write a post about water ... water pollution, reducing water usage, why it's an important subject, etc.

Or ... If you'd rather not write a post, please comment here with your water saving ideas.

My thoughts
I personally could probably do a lot better in the water conservation at home.  I don't take the shortest shower, I don't brush my teeth in the shower, I do wash some dishes by hand, I don't use a rain barrel, the list could go on and on.  I admit that at work I fill up my re-usable water with water that we have brought in (at least those plastic bottles are re-used!).  I didn't used to do this but then heard from a couple people about how the tap water in the city isn't the best. I do use tap water at home though.   I could make a list about what I should start doing, but I'm not going to. Those are things I'm aware of and I'll work on.  Instead, the more important topic is water in general, not my use, or waste, of it. 
Don't we all take tap water for granted?  I know I do.  I want something to drink, I get water.  I need to wash my hands after using the bathroom, not a problem.    The thing is, not everyone has access to clean water.  Hard to comprehend isn't it?
In fact, I urge you to read this information on Blog Action Day. It's a blog entry titled Five Facts About Water You Might Not Know.  I think you'll learn something you didn't know. I think you'll be surprised.  Actually, let me just tell you want #1 is.  Ready:  Unsafe drinking water and lack of sanitation kills more people every year than all forms of violence, including war.  Pause.  read that again.  Yes, you did read that correctly.  If that doesn't shock you, I don't know what will. 
This post isn't so much what we can do to conserve water, but rather making you realize that something needs to be done.
I would also like to  give a shout out to this company, Charity:Water.  I donated money to them last December because I think their cause is worthwhile.   Their website has a great page on why water is so important.   Money donated to this charity goes towards drilling/building wells and providing fresh water in areas that don't current have access to it.  
In honor of Blog Action day: Water, I'll be donating money to that charity today.  It's the least I can do.  
I urge you to either find a way to conserve water yourself and/or find a charity you believe in that helps provide fresh water to those who need it. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Special Operations Warrior Foundation 5k

Last Saturday, October 9th, I participated in a 5k that benefited the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.
If you aren't aware of this foundation, here's a brief description.  This specific warrior foundation benefits the Spec. Ops. soldiers and their families.  It will help those who are injured in war. If the soldier is killed in action, the foundation helps their families, their children.  

When I saw this 5k advertised around town I knew I had to run in it.  My friend's son, Brandon, was KIA October 15, 2009 fighting for his country. For our country. For my freedom.   I ran this race in his memory.

It was a small race. I was disappointed by the lack of runners, because that meant less money going towards the warrior foundation, yet I was excited because that meant I had a good chance of coming in close to the front of the pack.  My husband and his brother actually came to the 5k (his brother was in town visiting and spending the day with Husband...I guess he didn't have much choice. haha).   I gave Husband the camera and asked him to take some photo's.   This was also Husband's first time going to a 5k, I normally do only 2 a year and when I leave the house he is always still asleep in bed. Lucky duck.

I'm in blue shorts and a blue top, making sure my nike sports band is ready to go so I can record the run.

Now I'm checking my ipod, making sure my playlist is ready to start. 

Finally the race was on, I was standing towards the front of the pack at the start and took off with them. It was myself and a bunch of guys.  I quickly lagged behind them..those guys were really fast!  I could tell I started out a bit faster than normal and slowed down a bit.  Two girls did pass me within the first mile and I thought about catching them, but I was tired already. Soon...I was having doubts about this race.  It was hot. It was humid.  It was really really hilly.  I started to think of slowing down even more.  I kept reminding myself that I was doing this in Brandon's memory and I couldn't disappoint.  I just couldn't.  So I kept on going. Soon I saw the finish and while I wanted to kick it in and go faster at the very end, I just didn't have it in me.

I actually ran behind this guy almost the entire time. I passed him coming up the last set of hills right before the finish, he was able to put in the extra effort and pass me again though.  Hats off to him..I tried to go faster and keep my lead but couldn't do it. (psst..don't pay attention to my bad form..that just shows how tired I was feeling since I normally have pretty good form)

I came in with a time of 26:42.  The result website shows that I had a 8:36 pace.  When I crossed the finish, I saw my husband standing there and went over to him.  He was surprised to see me finish so fast and hadn't expected to see me for another couple of minutes.  That actually made me really happy.   I then said that I thought only 2 females finished before me and he thought I was right.  So we stuck around for the awards ceremony.  I was giddy, up until earlier this year I had never won an award at a 5k before.  I mean, I did in highschool when I ran cross-country competitively and was fast, but never since then and especially not for something like this.  As it happened, I was the 3rd female to cross the line, I was the 23rd person to cross the line over-all (out of 109), and I was the 1st person in my sex/age group!  I was so excited!  I received an award and a $10 gift card to a local running store.

In case you couldn't tell, I'm still super excited about how well I did at this race.    Up until several months ago my average pace was 9:40-9:45 min/mile.  This was for a 4 mile run or less.   Several months ago I started to play indoor soccer.  Since then I have seen my pace get better. I was doing a 9:13-9:16 min/mile pace a couple of months ago.   Then I ran a 5k in September and ran with somebody who was averaging a faster pace and I stayed with her, and I dipped below a 9 min/mile.  I think that did it for me. I realized I could run faster for at least 3 miles.  I've since then been averaging an 8:43-8:46 pace for my 4 mile runs.  I've also been  increasing my miles for my long runs due to a 10 mile race I'm training for in November.  So far I've upped my mileage from 4 to 7 and my average pace for those was 9:16-9:17 min/mile.  I thought for sure I was going slower than that...but I guess not. haha!

Last picture, I promise.  Myla got a bath before we left for this 5k (it was at 4pm in the afternoon) and decided to tag along to dry off and show off her clean coat.  She was the life of the event too.  She stood, sat, or laid down the whole time, but the kids sure did flock to her.  Oh, and before you ask, nope..she doesn't run with me.  Myla's idea of a long walk is less than 1 mile.  And she's slow. I've never met a slower dog.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hoo are you?

I've seen the blog Night Owl Crafting before, but never had time to really play around with it.  Then I found it again via Slipstitches and More.  This time I had fun to look around and decided this would be a fun weekly event to take part in.  Plus, it's owls.  How could I pass up something with cute owls?


Here's the's a fun way to get to know other bloggers out there, most with a crafting feel to them.  I haven't shown you much of my crafting side but there's more in the works.   You can read more about this weekly party over at Night Owl Crafting.

This weeks questions and my answers are:

1. How tall are you? How tall do you WISH you were?
I'm roughly 5'6".  I would love to be closer to 6' but at the same time I'm actually happy with my height.  I know, I contradict myself. It's just that my Mom's side of the family are all taller..several 6' or taller.  I always feel short around them.  However, Husband is only about an inch taller than me and we are both taller than everyone else in his family.  So..sometimes I feel short and sometimes I feel tall. I would just like to always feel tall. haha

2. Do you have a birthmark? Where?
Not really.

3. What is your biggest money waster?
Seeing as how this is a green blog and I'm working on eliminating waste...of all kinds, I had to really think about this one.  I don't know if this is my biggest money waster, but it's something that annoys me a lot.  Kleenexes.  I know..we all use them.  I use them a lot since I have bad allergies.  However every time I use one and throw it away I feel like it's a waste of money. I suppose I could use a handkerchief, but there's just something that keeps me from doing that. Probably the idea of all those germs staying in the hanky and getting everywhere.

4. What song are you tired of?
I normally listen to audio books when I'm in the car by myself and for music I listen to bands I know I like, which means I don't listen to the radio very often.  So while there aren't any songs i'm tired of, because of this, I must admit that I'm really really tired of hearing about Kate Perry and Lady Gaga and the songs of theirs I have heard..I can't stand.

5. What stresses you out most?

Busy weekends.  Busy weekends really stress me out. If I have a lot going on, that means I don't have a lot of time to clean and relax.  Then I get stressed because I need to clean, but I want to curl up with a good book. If I do one, I neglect the other. 

Green Blog Hop Wednesday

Here's How to Hop Along: 
* Create a new Green Blog Hop blog post on your blog and include the Green Blog Hop button by copying and pasting the code above. 
* Follow Going Green with Noah, Tales of the Wife and And Then There were 4, the hostesses of the blog listed in the first three slots.  Grab our buttons if you get a chance.
* Add your blog name to the MckLinky below.
* Try to follow at least three additional blogs. This is not mandatory, but it will help ensure that everyone who signs up gets a few new followers!
* Follow as many other blogs as you want. The more you follow, the more that will follow you back! If someone follows you, it is common courtesy to follow back.
* The weekly Green Blog Hop MckLinky opens every Tuesday night and will be open to add your blog link until Wednesday night. You then have all week long to visit blogs and return follows!
* There is a new list every week. The link you enter one week will not carry over to the next week. Please link up again each week to join in the fun and to find new Green blogs.
Please remember this is a hop for blogs with GREEN content. Please create a blog post including the button after linking up. It's the best way to get the word out!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

CSN review and Giveaway!

I know I promised this awhile ago, but alas I'm finally getting it out there.

I recently had the opportunity to purchase an item from CSN.  I was looking at all the baking items and had several in my cart, then on a whim I decided to look at the doormats since I wanted a new one for our front door.   I found the perfect one right away. I immediately added it to my cart and removed everything else. haha!

When I got the item (super fast shipping by the way), I took it out of the box and showed Husband.  He just gave me the look that said "Typical..I wouldn't have expected any other doormat from you".  You ready?  Here it is:

It's the perfect item for me! I'm such a big supporter of recycling and re-using and everything else in between. Now, any strangers who show up at our door gets a reminder to make an effort and any friends who see it comment that it's perfect for me.

Now, what you are most interested in, the giveaway!  I am able to offer one of my readers a $30 credit with CSN.  CSN has over 200 stores and a wide variety of products, I'm sure you could find something you needed or wanted.

The giveaway is open only to those in the US and Canada.   There may be international shipping charges in the case of Canadian addresses (CSN only ships to the US and Canada).

Please fill out the form (below) entirely.  I'm asking for your email address because once the winner is picked, I'll forward the winner's email address to my contact with CSN and they will email the winner the gift code.  Therefore, the email address must be a valid email address.

I am mentioning this giveaway on both my blogs, to give all my readers an opportunity to win this.  Please only enter once, since all submissions will show up in the same document.  

This giveaway is open until midnight (central time) October 31st.    Good Luck!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Weekend Cooking - Applesauce

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

This week I'm going to share a recipe on how to make applesauce.  I'm sure there are a ton floating around on the internet, but this one is from my Grandma and she has been making it for years.  She's been making it so long, she can't even remember who taught her the recipe.   In fact, she doesn't even have the recipe written down. She just adds a little of this, a little of that, a little more of this, etc. This does not make it easy for somebody like me who has no cooking skills and needs specific amounts. haha!   My sister tries to make it every year but it never turns out as good as when my Grandma makes it (or so she says..I've never had hers), so yesterday we went to my Grandma's house and made applesauce and I wrote down what she did.   Ok, I admit, I didn't make the applesauce, I took pictures and played with my nephew.  However I checked in on the progress and helped with dinner (even if it was just making garlic bread).

10 apples
1/4 cup water - or more
1 cup sugar
Cinnamon - to taste
3 tbsp butter

Peel and cut the apples.  Don't make the apple pieces too small though.

Put apples in a big pan on the stove, add roughly 1/4 cup water.   If your apples are really juicy you won't have to add more water, but as you cook if you think more water is needed, add it.   Cook apples on medium heat.

Once the apples are soft, keep them on the stove and mash them.   For ours, it took about 30 min to get soft. Mash as much or as little as you want. It just depends on if you want a lot of apple chunks or if you want it smoother.

While you are mashing the applies, add the sugar a little at a time.  Taste once in awhile so you know if you want to add more or stop with the amount added.  Add the cinnamon to taste.  Add about 3 tbsp butter.

Once you have the amount of sugar, cinnamon, and butter that you want and you have the consistency you want, remove from the heat and let cool.

**the ingredients are based on 10 apples because that's how many my sister brought with her.  You can use more, you'll just have to make the appropriet changes.

As you can probably see, this is a recipe that you will have to play with until you get it right.  It's all about trial and error and what tickles your fancy while making it.   My Grandma does freeze her applesauce. I didn't ask how long it lasts, but I know we have it for dinners all year round when we are at her house so it does last awhile.

As for me, my sister was nice enough to give me some to take home so I won't have to attempt making this myself for a bit.  When I do, it will be interesting, I'm not the best cook (although I'm a damn good baker).

Change the World Wednesday - Plastic bags

Change the World Wednesday is hosted by Reduce Footprints

The current topic for Change the World Wednesday is plastic bags.   The goal is to go at least 1 week plastic bag free.  If that's something that you already do, spread the word about how bad plastic bags are.

If you remember, I recently mentioned flip & tumble and their product bags since there was a deal on Jasmere for the company.   So this blog post is a combination of me talking about the horrors of plastic bags, what I am doing about it, and a product review.

flip & tumble products - and my re-usable bag process
First off, the product.  I actually received my flip & tumble items within days of placing my order.  I was incredibly surprised by how fast they arrived.    I received a set of product bags, a carry pouch, a mini bag, a shopper bag, and a 24-7 bag. 

I got the carry pouch because right now the product bags I already have, just get thrown on top of the other re-usable bags I have.    Well, first.  Here's my process.  I have a nice selection of re-usable bags. I originally bought 10 when a local store had them $5 for 5 and they were the ones I wanted because there is a plastic (removable) piece in the bottom and I thought that would be perfect for groceries.  Most of the other bags I have that are the same kind were received for free.  I then have some decorative ones I've picked up here and there because I either liked the design or they were  offered with a certain purchase etc.   Of the bags that are all the same size/kind.  I usually have one opened and the rest folded up inside of it.  I keep this in my car so that whenever I go shopping I already have them.  At home I usually have one opened and hanging on the closet door in the laundry room, and as I use bags from my car and carry them into my house, they get folded and put into the one in the laundry room.  When I use up all the bags in my car or only have a couple left, I then grab the one from the laundry room and put it in my car and the process starts all over.   Now, I first got some produce bags a couple of months ago.  These get thrown on the top of the folded bags and I'm always worried about losing them.   This is where the carry pouch comes in.  It's small enough not to be a pain, but big enough to fit the 5 produce bags I bought and the ones I already own.  Now I'm not worried about losing them.

I've used the mini bag and the shopper bag.  I love how light they are and how they fold up into a ball.  I threw them into my purse and they came in handy because I did go into one store and forget to bring a bag in with me, but when I went for my wallet I saw those and was able to use them.   They were perfect!

I have used the produce bags already too.   I love these produce bags because it's a tight weave, so no big  holes (unlike 2 of my others).

No more plastic bags
I have to admit that for the most part, I don't use plastic bags anymore.  I'm usually pretty good about having a re-usable bag with me when I do shopping so that I don't.  If I don't remember a bag, a lot of times I get lucky that I'm either not buying a lot or buying something big so I can either carry it or put it in my purse.

However there are times when I still find myself using plastic bags.  One of these instances is when I buy items in bulk, such as my sunflower seeds and nuts.   I've also been known to forget my product bags in the car and have to use the plastic ones for that.

I'm really trying to get away from plastic though because I know how horrible it is for the environment.

So this past weekend I headed to the store to buy some nuts and dried cranberries for trail mix.  I knew I would buy in bulk and that's usually where I get stuck using plastic bags.  This time I came armed with my new produce bags and they were perfect!  I was able to attach the tags to the bags with the numbers so the cashier would know what product I used.   I want to find a way to get rid of that, but not sure how yet.   I was worried that the cashier wouldn't like the produce bags since you can't see inside of them unless you open them, although just from feeling them you would know there were nuts in them.  Luckily the cashier was very cool about it and even said several times how cool the bags were and they worked perfectly for the items I got.  Hopefully I've converted somebody!

I've also bought bio-degradable plastic bags for the kitchen trash can (the only trash can lined with plastic).  I have hopes that this will be a good fit, although still not happy with the fact that it's plastic but not sure else I could do.  Our trashcans for outside don't have lids (they were left by the previous owner and since they still work, don't see the point in buying new cans), so I'm not comfortable putting trash in the cans that isn't sealed.  We have a lot of deer and other wildlife in my subdivision.

I use paper backs when I clean up after the dog too.  So at least I don't have plastic there.

I realize this was an incredibly long post, but hopefully it gave you some ideas of what you could do instead of using plastic.  I can't rave about my produce bags enough.  Love, love, love them.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Think Green..Hop Along


How could I not follow this one too. I mean, really, it's Kermit!!!  Can't pass that up.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Green Blog Hop

(Please click on the picture for more info and if you are interested in participating)

For this week's Green Blog Hop, I have a question for you.

What do you do with purses once you no longer use them but they aren't in good enough condition to give to goodwill or sell?  I have a couple that are starting to fall apart.  I don't want to throw them away but they I can't sell them.  I don't want to donate them because they are falling apart and I assume those places would just throw them away once they realized that.   

Any idea's?   I'm planning to do a search online, but figured I would ask on the Green Blog Hop in hopes somebody has a solution that they have used and would recommend.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Reusable bags - including produce bags!

I don't know if any of you are Jasmere followers or fans, but today's special is pretty cool.  Jasmere is similar to Groupon except that it doesn't have to be a local company.  If you aren't familiar with either of those, let me explain briefly.  Jasmere has a deal of the day.  The more people who sign up for the deal and agree to purchase it, the cheaper the cost is. What you are buying is a credit, basically, for the company at a discounted price.  It will make sense, trust me. I'm probably just not good at explaining it.

The whole reason for this post, however, is because I purchased the deal for today and I like the concept and think you would too.   The company being highlighted today is flip & tumble. I have not used the products from this company yet but I have used similar ones and that's what prompted me to get this.  

At first I wasn't going to buy into this deal, even though the cost was reasonable.  It is currently $15 for a $35 credit.   However, I decided to look at the store online and saw that they had produce bags.  Oh my goodness! I love my produce bags and could see where more would come in handy.

Produce bags you ask?  What, pray tell, are those?  Well, if you follow "green" then you know that plastic bags in the landfills are horrible.  They don't break down, they just stay there..forever.  For about 4 years now I have been using my own bags for shopping.  However that didn't include produce.  I'm like the normal shopper, I pick out my lettuce, grab a plastic bag that the grocery store provides, and away we go.   I never thought twice about it until I saw a review for product bags on a blog I follow and I was like..oh..hello..plastic!  Yuck!  I brought product bags within a 2 weeks.  I've been using them ever since and I love them.  I have some that are a tighter weave for things like lettuce, and some that are more like a mesh bags for things like potatoes and fruit.    I've been meaning to buy more, because sometimes I don't have enough.  

flip & tumble sells produce bags! (the picture above links to the picture on their website)  The bags are $11 for 5 bags.  That's a pretty good price, in fact I think it's cheaper than what I paid for the 3 that I have.   So I immediately went back to Jasmere and bought my credit.  For $35, I can buy more product bags to make sure I never run out and buy a couple other bags as well.

Now, the great thing about their other re-usable bags are that they fold up into a ball and it's easier to stash.  I personally have a small bag that folds up into itself similar to this and it's incredibly light and I keep it in my purse at all times.  I can't tell you how often this has come in handy and I'm glad I had it.   They have a cute video on their home page showing how the bags fold up.

I hope you will consider purchasing this item from Jasmere.  While I count vouch for this specific company, I can vouch for product bags in general and it's a great way to be even "greener".

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Bucketlist - Great Wall of China

One of the things that is on my bucket list is to run a 5k or a 10k on the Great Wall of China.  This wish developed sometime last year, I'm not even sure how or why it ended up being a bucket list item for me.
Heck, I don't even know if it would be legal or ok for me to do that.

(image from Wikipedia

If you look closely you can see a person laying on their back in the bottom left...I have a feeling that's what would happen to me if I ever did attempt to run up all those stairs. haha!

Friday, October 1, 2010

September Coupon Savings

September was a weird month for me, regarding coupon savings and grocery shopping etc.   I thought I would end up way below by monthly goal because I wasn't doing much shopping at the drug stores, but I ended up doing a lot of extra shopping at the grocery stores and that caused me to spend more than I expected

My monthly goal is to spend no more than $330 on groceries and drug store purchases (my normal stores are CVS, Walgreens, and Target).

I ended up spending $319.33.
This is still under my goal but more than I had expected for September.

I saved $126.40 in coupons and rebates.  This month that number does include two rebates that were received, the total for the rebates was $17.99.    I ended up saving an additional $18.96 due to advertised savings (when known..which means at CVS and Walgreens usually).

Overall..not the best month I've had this year but I stayed below my goal and that makes me happy.  I know a big reason why I didn't do as well as expected was because I was in a cake decorating class this month and that caused me to buy a lot of powdered sugar, some butter, etc.  since I had to make large amounts of icing each week and baked goods.

Etsy items for sale - shameless plug

I have some Halloween cards up on my Etsy Shop and now that it's October, it's the perfect time for you to start thinking about who you want to send/give cards to and to start shopping around.

I'm priced them relatively low for the amount of time that is put into designing and creating them.  I hope this encourages people to buy handmade cards instead of the mass produced ones found in stores such as Target, Walmart, etc.

If you have a couple minutes I would appreciate it if you checked out my shop.  If you know somebody who usually sends cards for Halloween and you like what you see, I would appreciate it if you shared the link to my shop.   I'll be adding more as I design them.