Monday, November 29, 2010

Tom's of Maine Toothpaste review

I have been a bzzagent for awhile now and was recently given the opportunity to test toothpaste by Tom's of Maine.  I jumped at the chance since this product is more natural than other toothpastes on the market and since I'm trying to get away from harmful chemicals this company has been on my radar.

I have been using Tom's of Main Wicked Fresh toothpaste, cool peppermint flavor.  At first I was a bit worried since I have sensitive teeth and in the past if I have used a non-sensitive toothpaste for more than a couple of days my teeth would get really sensitive.  I'm happy to report that I've been using this toothpaste for a couple of weeks and have had no issues like that.  The sensitivity I have is roughly the same as when I'm using a sensitive toothpaste.  I also looked on their website and they do have a sensitive toothpaste, so I'll definitly be trying that one in the future.

I was also worried that the taste would bother me.  Any time I have tried to use a more natural toothpaste in the past I haven't been able to handle the taste.  I suppose I should have a disclaimer here and let you know that I'm very picky when it comes to tastes and a lot of normal toothpastes I can't handle either.  While I can't say this toothpaste has the best taste, it's actually pretty good.  It's a lot better than I expected and I'm able to handle it with no problems.  This is a major plus for me.

One of the reasons I wanted to review this product on my blog is because it is a more natural toothpaste and the company is environmentally friendly too, which makes me want to support them and tell you all about them.

This toothpaste does contain fluoride in order to help fight cavities however it DOES NOT contain alcohol or any other artificial ingredients.  Heck, the company even lists all their ingredients on their website and tells you the purpose and the source for the ingredient.

I recommend checking out the company's stewardship model too.   Here's a brief glimpse of what you can find mentioned in their stewardship model and why I recommend this company:
No animal testing or ingredients
Sustainable practices are a priority
NO artificial colors, flavors, fragrance, or preservatives
They use recycled materials and their packaging is recyclable

I also like that this product is very easy to find, I've seen it at my local grocery stores and mass merchandise stores.  I do believe I've seen coupons for this brand as well.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving: from my house to yours

This time of year will find everyone mentioning what they are thankful for, I'm not going to be an exception.  However instead of telling you how thankful I am for my friends and family, because let's be honest, everyone says and thinks that, I'm going to tell you why I'm thankful for something else.  (oh..and my blog readers are included with the things I"m thankful for...I wouldn't be here without all of you and I really appreciate those who find the time to comment and those who read the ramblings I type).

This year I'm incredibly thankful that I can run.   Yup, you heard me right. I'm thankful for running.  (I told you us runners were a strange breed.)

I've had a bit of a strange past with running and to show why it's not silly for me to be thankful that I'm running, let me explain.

First off, I have a 10 mile race on Saturday.   I never thought I would do this race again.  The last time I did the race was back in the 1990's when I was in highschool.   I'm incredibly thankful that this year, I'm trained and ready to run the Great River Road run.

Let me go backwards a bit.   This time last year I was recovering from a heal fracture.  Not just any little heal fracture, but one that basically fractured my heal in half.   The injury was officially diagnosed in August and I was in a boot the rest of that month and most of September.  I started walking on my foot again in October and in November 2009 I was walking regularly for exercise but still in a lot of pain. I was determined to run again, but sometimes it felt like I wouldn't make it.  I started to run short distance, not even a mile, in December and gradually moved up the mileage. I had some setbacks along the way though, that caused me to take weeks off from running (the last one was in April) and then slowly work up again.  I did the p90x program over the summer, part of it as a dare and partly because I felt it best to give my foot a break because I was still in a lot of pain.  Even though I'm set to run 10 miles on Saturday, I'm not completely pain free. Sometimes it hurts, sometimes it doesn't.  I have yet to decide if it's mental or not.   In fact, it still hurts me to the point that my next pair of shoes will be a minimalist shoe and I've been working on changing my running form in anticipation of said shoe.

For me, to know that this time last year I couldn't even run and now I'm running a 10 mile race?  That's a big deal.  I'm incredibly thankful that I can do this.

My history with injury and running goes further back than last year though.   In February 2007 I became injured with a herniated disk.   I ran 3 miles one day, woke up 2 days later in extreme pain.  I didn't know exactly what was wrong with my back, Husband and I thought maybe it was a pinched nerve.  I started to do some exercises to strengthen my lower back (where the pain was) but couldn't do much because the pain was so bad. I went from running 3 miles, to only being able to walk for about 5 min before the pain was too bad (to give you an idea, the specialist said it was one of the worst he has ever seen). It took me several years to get mostly pain free (I opted not to do surgery or steroid shots and instead do strength training exercises for my back). I was able to jog again the spring of 2009.   Yup..that's right. I finally got to where I could run, mostly pain free in my back, only to be injured again about 4 months later.

If I was to go even further back, than I would also have to mention that I hurt my knee playing soccer in highschool and it has never stopped bother me.  Then about a year after that I had to stop running due to pain in my heel (At the time the dr's just said to wear better shoes on a day to day basis and it was never diagnosed as anything wrong. Now, after having that same heel diagnosed with a heel fracture, I call tell you that the pain was the same and I believe the original injury was a heal fracture too).

So for me, being able to run 10 miles is a pretty big deal.  I've overcome a heal fracture and a herniated disk (within the last 3 years) in order to do this.  I run with knee pain for the first half mile or so of every run.  Yet, I can run 10 miles.   I'm not saying it's always easy.  Heck, I'm not even saying I do it pain free.  Between my bad knee, my herniated disk, and the heal fracture, most days I'm in some kind of pain.   However, this isn't about how I run with pain or manage pain on a daily basis.   Nope, this is how I'm able to overcome most of that and still do something I'm crazy enough to love, run.

This year, I'm thankful that I can run. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Stylish Blogger Award

Thanks so much Alison!  Alison was kind enough to give me the Stylish Blogger Award.  I'm tickled pink.  If you haven't checked out Alison's blog, Welcome Sunshine Home, I highly recommend you do so, and not just because she has a Saint Bernard.

I am supposed to share 7 things about myself, so here it goes:

1) I'm the youngest of 3 daughters.  My two sisters have 4 kids between the two of them (and another on the way) and so far they are all boys.   My father is no longer with us, and I believe he's upstairs pulling some strings to make sure we all have boys since he was stuck with all girls.

2) I chatted with a stranger for 20 min this past weekend, all because she had a handsome mastiff and I wanted to pet him.  This isn't the first time this has happened either. If you have a big dog and I see you, be prepared.

3) I'm accident prone, a klutz.  I feel I haven't always been this way, Husband says otherwise.  The last two weeks of the current session for soccer, I was hit in the face with the ball. ouch.

4) I love color.  We have some white walls in the house still, and I'm amazed I haven't painted them yet. I like bold colors too.  Wall colors in our house are green, blue, brown, grey, orange, and red.

5) I love to organize.  I'm crazy.  This past weekend I was finally taking my summer shirts off their hangers to be folded for the winter and hanging up the winter clothes, and decided to reorganize the clothes that are folded in the closet.  My running clothes are now all organized by type and it's oh so pretty.  It makes me happy. I also realize that I'm addicted to blue running clothes.

6) I'm addicted to running clothes in general, in case you couldn't figure that out from the post above. I blame it on living in a climate where we do go through 4 seasons a year.  I have to have appropriate running clothes if I'm going to be outside right? (and enough to get me through a week)  Tanks and short tights in the summer.  Short sleeve shirts and capri tights in the spring and fall.  Long sleeve shirts and long tights in the winter.

7) It's been a year since I gave up soda (for the most part..I'll drink about 1 soda every month or two) and made an effort to eat healthier.  I'm surprised I've lasted this long, but surprised in a good way. I've read a lot about eating healthy and some stuff scares me, it gives me nightmares.  I lost almost 10lbs within the first 2 months of giving up soda.  I don't weight much, 10 lbs is a heck of a lot.  I guess that's what all that sugar does to you though huh?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hoo are you #24


Here are this week's questions!

1. Name 5 things you are grateful for!
I think friends and family are both a given.  I'm also thankful for my dog, Myla.  She's such a cutie.
I'm thankful for friends who know what I'm currently going through and "feel my pain".  I'm thankful that after 3.5 years I'm finally going to be getting custom bookshelves in my library, I think I've been pretty darn patient.  I'm thankful that Husband and I both have jobs and spend money wisely, so that the current state of America hasn't impacted us too much. Along with this last one, I'm thankful that most of those I know and love haven't been impacted too much either. 

2. What is you favorite dish at Thanksgiving dinner?
Personally, I think I must be the only person who isn't fond of traditional Thanksgiving food.  Turkey?  No thanks.  Gravy? Never. Mashed potatoes? I liked mashed potatoes but am very picky about them, which means that I don't like most mashed potatoes.  Green beans? I'll eat 'em, but don't love them.  Pumpkin pie? No thanks.     

3. Do you have any family traditions for Thanksgiving?
When I was in grade school, wish I knew what age we started this, but my parents and sisters and I started going to the zoo with a friend of the family.  That was a long long time ago and I'm happy to report that we still do it.  Now, I don't always go. Some years it's just too hard for me.  Other years I've had Thanksgiving at my house and spent the morning preparing.  This year, I think I'll be skipping it again. I've kinda been in a ba-humbug mood about the holidays.  Once I have a kid, I'll be sure to go every year, but for now, I think I'll skip it. 

4. Are you staying home or traveling for Thanksgiving?
I'm traveling in the sense that I have to go to two different houses for Thanksgiving meals, but not traveling outside of my city.   We have lunch at my Grandparents and then dinner with the in-laws.

5. What else do you do on Thanksgiving day besides eat?
Well - see above for Thanksgiving traditions.  Otherwise, that's about it. I'm sure Husband watched football, but that's not my thing.

Change the World Wednesday - post for 2 weeks

Update from last week (which I missed posting):
I skipped participating two weeks ago, mostly because the goal had been to visit a goodwill or resale place.  Buy something used instead of something new.    I hadn't visited a shop like that in years and hadn't been able to visit one last week either, so I ended up not participating.

I did, however, stop buy a Goodwill place this past weekend to drop off some clothes and decided to go in.  I was hoping there would be a large selection of items other than clothes, but was disappointed.  Clothes were the largest selection, toys being the second.   I honestly doubt I'll shop there again.  Nothing grabbed my interest, most of what was there were things that I wouldn't buy, new or used.   As for the clothes, I'm picky when it comes to clothes. I have a hard time shopping for clothes at places like that, even retail stores, where the clothes are all lumped together and I have to look at each one to see if I would like it.  I prefer to see the item of clothing, then see all the colors it's offered in. Do you know what I mean?  Where the table has the same item, I don't have to look at each item folded on that table, each stack is the same item.  Anyway, I realize I could get some deals if I used re-sale shops, but it's just not for me.  Or maybe it's this particular shop that isn't for me. It's the closest one to my house which is why I stopped at it.

On to this week!
(or was that last week...)Where I still haven't completed the challenge but plan to.  This week's challenge was:
This week, plant something edible indoors (in your homes, offices, schools, etc.). Some ideas are lettuce, herbs, spinach, kale, and even tomatoes.

OR ...

If this is something you already do, we want to hear about it. Please tell us which items you grow, share any tips for success and comment on your overall feelings about the process.

I don't already do this.  I had thought briefly of growing herbs but then never have. Of course, I think that's because I've never thought of doing it inside.   So I've been thinking about it with this challenge and feel like herbs would the easiest thing to start with.   I had hoped to stop at a local hardware store this past weekend and pick up some seeds but didn't get the chance too.  So while I didn't officially plan anything, I've been preparing for it.

I picked the spot: the windowsill for the window above the sink in the kitchen.  This way it's a daily reminder that I need to take care of them and I have no excuse for not watering, etc.

I picked what the plant them in: I saved several food cans that were used this past week.  Instead of recycling them, I washed them out and plan to put the seeds in those.  I'll make them pretty..probably paint them.

That's about it!  I'm all ready to start, I just need the seeds.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Holiday Bloganza

It's time to enter the Holiday Bloganza!  Don't forget I'm giving away these snowflakes (they're pretty darn cool if you ask me! haha!)  

Don't forget, if you heart my shop on Etsy, you can enter an extra entry into the giveaway.  Visit each blog and read their Holiday Bloganza post regarding the giveaway too because several are offering extra entries.

Here are the rules to sign up:

 Follow Every Blog participating in the Super Holiday Bloganza by Google Friend Connect.   If you do not do this.  Your entry and all other entries you make will be eliminated.

1. After you have followed each blog.  Come back and Let us know in a comment  that you have followed every blog ( Do this in one comment)

2.  For extra entries, you can follow on Twitter, Networked Blogs, Etsy and Facebook.  (each blog should have this posted in their giveaway page to make it easier)                
 When you post a comment for extra entries, be sure to state which blog you are commenting on. 

3. Make a separate comment for every extra entry you do.  Do not say, I followed My Journey With Candida on twitter, facebook and networked blogs.  Make it 3 separate entries.  

.Place all comments in the linky, where it says Click Here To Enter.  
.Place your comment where it says Contest Entry.  
.You can enter your link if you have one and want to enter it.
YOU MUST ENTER YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS (I have no other way to contact you if you win) Your email is NOT  published.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Glee Gum - a review

I recently read a review of Glee Gum over at Tips 4 Green. I was anxious to try the gum since it is free of aspartame, something I can find in all the gum for sale at major stores (such as Walgreens, Target, etc).  I looked on the Glee Gum website and found that their gum is sold at Whole Foods. Now I'm really excited because I love to shop at Whole Foods.  I was at the store this past Tuesday and picked up a packet of Glee gum in the spearmint flavor.  It cost $0.79 for 18 pieces, which I thought was decent since other popular brands cost over $1.00 for 18 pieces.

Unfortunately, the gum didn't live up to my expectations.  I chewed one piece and it was so small it was like I wasn't even chewing on anything.  Plus, there was hardly any flavor.  The gum also got hard rather quickly.   Next time I tried chewing two pieces at once.  While this made the gum the right size, for me, the flavor wasn't improved.  Plus, because I'm now chewing 2 pieces at once, I really only get 9 uses out of this gum (in fact, I only have 2 pieces left and I've only been chewing it for 3 days).

The flavor is not very strong and is gone within a minute.  That doesn't cut it for me.  I chew gum at work to help with bad breath after I eat. Since I eat every 3 - 3.5 hours,  this is at least 3 times during the day.  The gum doesn't work for what I need/want it for.

I'm really sad to have to report that the gum didn't work for me.  I really wanted to support this company and chew a gum with no aspartame.

Have any of you tried this gum, this specific flavor, and been happy with it?  If so feel free to leave a comment so others can get another review of this gum.  

I haven't given up on this gum completely, yet.  I'm going to buy the peppermint flavor to see if that is more to my liking.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Yellow Pages, I don't need no stinking yellow pages (or..How to stop home delivery of the Yellow Pages)

I can't remember where I first read about somebody wanting to opt out from receiving the yellow pages that are delivered to your home. I'm sure it was on a post for Change the World Wednesday, but can't be sure.

Anyway, today I went on a hunt. How can I do this? I never use the Yellow pages, why would I when I could just look it up online.  Not every place will take the yellow pages to be recycled either, so they either end up collecting dust in my closet or I put them in a recycling bin hoping they can be recycled.  Wouldn't it be better for the world if I just didn't receive one at all?

I went online to the local phone company that publishes one of the two phone books I receive.  I didn't find anything so I did a search on their website, and didn't find anything.  So I resorted to a google search. 

If it all works out, than by golly, I hit the jackpot!

Check out this link for Yellow Pages Goes Green

On the home page there is a link you can click on that says "Stop home delivery of your local yellow pages".
Once you click on that you then have to click on another image but finally you are on a page where you can enter your zip code. Once you do that and hit enter it will display the companies that publish/deliver the yellow pages in your area.  

For me, they provided the company name, phone number, and a link.  One of the links took me to an opt-out form.  The link for the other company took me to a page where I could fill out a form to tell them how many phone books I wanted.  I wasn't sure about this one at first because it needed my name, phone number, email address, and delivery address.  Then just gave an option for submit but there wasn't anything for the number of copies I wanted.  I clicked submit anyway to see what happened and that did take me to a page where I could request how many of each directory I wanted, which I changed to zero.  

Since I just did this today, I can't tell you if it worked or not.  However, I have my fingers crossed that it will. I still wanted to share this info, though, so you can do the same if you wish. 

Last but not least, on the website the following info was listed as to why it's a good idea to opt out and I thought we would all agree with it:

Why opt out?
  • Helps conserve energy - companies that print them are burning up 3.2 kilowatt hours of electricity.
  • Saves trees - companies that print yellow pages had more than 19,000,000 trees destroyed.
  • Saves Fuel - companies that print yellow pages are wasting 7,200,000 barrels of fossil fuel.
  • Saves time - easier for consumers to find up to date listings online.
  • Good for the environment - stops unsolicited delivery of 540 million books per year.
Bottom line..... It's the right thing to do.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Re-post from Eco-Crap: Fiji Water

Eco-Crap: Fiji Water: "I just read that most people regard Fiji as a brand of water from an exotic place. Fiji is a country, a country comprised of about 300 is..."

I think Argentum Vulgaris summed up his views on buying bottled water pretty well in the above post when he said: "What's wrong with bloody tap water, I drink it!"

I have to agree with him. I really really don't understand the draw behind bottled water, much less Fiji water. Why pay for that when you can just get it from the tap at home? Worried about it not being as pure and chemical free as you want it? Buy a water filter and use the water from that to fill up a re-usable bottle.

My thought, and part of what I commented on his blog, is this: Somehow we need to make drinking tap water out of a re-usable container cool.
If we can get those in the spotlight to start doing this hopefully those who worship them will do so too.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Snowflake Ornaments on sale at Etsy

I was finally able to get some of my snowflake ornaments for sale on Etsy.  I would love it if you took the time to take a peak at the different items.  If you know of anybody who might like to purchase them either as a gift or for their own house, I would appreciate it if you passed the link.

My Grandma showed me how to do quilling when I was pretty young and I've stuck with it throughout the years.  Making snowflakes are my favorite thing to make, and about the only thing I make anymore.   This year I went out a limb and also made a tree, star, and poinsettia.

Thanks for taking the time to look!   If you want to make a purchase, feel free to send me a message on Etsy and mention this post.  I'll give you 10% off your order!

Thanks to a commenter on my other blog, I'm now aware that the widget doesn't show up in Google Reader. If you are having trouble viewing the widget, which shows my snowflakes, please click on the LINK to go to my Etsy Shop.  Thanks!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Super Holiday Bloganza!

I have decided to participate in the Super Holiday Bloganza!  What does this mean, well, basically one winner is selected to win a ton of gifts!  You have to be a follower of all blogs offering a giveaway, but that's it!  You can choose to do more for extra entries, but you don't have to.   Thanks to Terry for bringing this giveaway to my attention.  I decided to join because I thought it sounded like fun and I love making my snowflake ornaments.

Click HERE for more details about the Super Holiday Bloganza and to see what other goodies you could win.

My prize will be two quilling snowflakes.  One snowflake ornament will be all white and the other will be white and green.   The white and green snowflake will be a miniature version of the all white one.

Please note, if you heart my Etsy shop, you will get an extra entry into this contest!

(psst...I do sell these snowflakes on Etsy, if you are interested in purchasing please visit my Etsy shop)

Here's a list of all the blogs offering prices for the Super Holiday Bloganza:

Please help my school district!

While this idea was put forth by Parkway North and I'm a Parkway South alumni, I love that the idea is to first convert their school with the funds, and then convert each school in the district.    I might also add that while I'm a Parkway South alumni, I did move back into the district and my future kid will also attend Parkway South.  I would love for the schools to be run by solar energy by the time they get to high school (and middle school!).

If you have a minute, please take the time to vote, I would greatly appreciate it. (voting is open till Nov. 30th, so there's plenty of time to vote more than once if you want to!)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Show us your life - Bathrooms

I've decided to try and start doing the "show us your life" feature on Kelly's Korner.  This week the focus was on Bathrooms.  You all should feel very lucky because not only will I be showing you what 2 of our bathrooms currently look like, you get the before shots too.  I don't mean to sound like I'm living in some super fancy huge house by saying 2 of the bathrooms, but the couple who built the house 21 years ago also partially finished the basement and put a full bath and bedroom down there.  We haven't re-done that bathroom yet and it only gets used during pool season so it's not a high priority item, therefore I don't dare show pictures of that yucky bathroom.    Some of you have probably seen this pictures before, especially if you follow my other blog, Not Enough Books. However I think the majority of you will find these new to you and I hope you enjoy.

First stop is the hall bathroom.  As you can probably tell from the before and after shots, we gutted the whole thing..from the sink and counter top to the toilet and tub.  For those of you who follow me due to me eco-friendly nature, you'll be happy to note that from doing both bathrooms the only items that ended up in the dump were the flooring and pieces that couldn't be re-used.  Everything else (yes..including the toilet and some of the tiles that didn't break) were either sold or given away via Craig's list.

Ok..the before pictures (please forgive me for any crappy lighting/photo's, etc):

From the gold framed mirror to the frilly blue shower curtain

Let's not forget the gray tile in the tub area

The AFTER photo's:

Now...the master bathroom.  As you'll be able to tell from the photo's we gutted this entire bathroom as well. The only thing that remains is the tub and we even changed the plumbing on that, including the jets.  This one was more labor intensive because we took down the wall between the shower and the toilet, therefore we had to move the plumbing.  We also made the shower a lot bigger.  

Here are the before photo's:

And....the AFTER photos:
(oops..I just noticed that this picture is before we installed the handles on the cabinets, alas, I'm too lazy to go clean this bathroom and take another picture. You'll just have to trust me that it looks much better with the handles installed)

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my life/house.  Hopefully the feature will be kitchens soon..because boy oh boy, the remodel in that room was major and it looks sooo much better that it did when we bought it (think 80's pink kitchen..yikes!). 

Running update

I thought I would pop-in with a running update for all of you.  Not sure if anybody really cares, but it's a major part of my life, so I'm going to talk about it.

I think I've mentioned it before, but if not, I'm currently in training for a 10 mile race that's in a couple of weeks.  It's on the 27th of November, the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  What better way to burn off all the Thanksgiving food than a long run right?  Ok fine, I'll be honest, I think I'm the only person in the US who is not fond of traditional Thanksgiving food and therefore doesn't over-indulge.  However, I know there will be dessert (because I'm making it for one gathering) and I do love dessert.  

Back on point, 10 miles.  The last time I ran 10 miles was for this same race, The Great River Road Run.  This was way back in highschool, I do believe it was 1993. I might be wrong, but I can check because I still have the sweatshirt.    After that, I pretty much stuck to 5k (3.1 miles).    So working up towards 10 miles was a big push for me.  I had gotten to where I was running 4 miles in the morning, and sometimes running 5-6 on the weekend.   

Three weekends ago I was supposed to run 8 miles, but got lost (that's pretty common for me) at Castlewood Park and ended up running 9.  Then the following weekend my training schedule was to just do an easy 5 mile run.  Then last weekend I was supposed to do 9, but suffering a cold.  I did run all week but got out to run 5 miles on Sunday.    I'm hoping to get out and run 9 miles this weekend. Fingers crossed I do ok.  Last time I had major hip pain for the last 4 miles or so and I hope I don't have a repeat of that.

I'm getting nervous for the race. I'm just not used to the long miles.  I only have two more weekends to get in a long run and be prepared for it.   Stay tuned for updates on how my training is going and how the race turns out!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Great Wall Marathon? Oh dear

Remember this post, the one where I said one of my bucket list items was to run a 5k or a 10k on the Great Wall of China?

I actually found out, by accident, that there is such a thing.  While the main race is a marathon, a half-marathon, 10k, and 5k are also offered on the same day.  Before I realized that, let me tell you, for the first time ever I seriously considered training for a marathon.  For the first time ever I thought I could actually do it.  Then I found out I could do a lower mileage race and wiped my brow.  If I did it, and by golly I truly want to, I think my focus would be on the half-marathon.   Reading more about it, I find that the entire race is not run on the wall but parts of it are.  That's good enough for me.

I looked at the pricing for May 2011, it seems you can only sign up as a package deal.  I'm ok with that too, if I'm going to China I want to see some of the sights as well.    May 2011 won't happen, but now that I know it's a real thing, I'm going to keep thinking about it. I'm going to actually train for a half-marathon and work on running one or two a year and one day, I'll do this one.

The Great Wall Marathon

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Have you thanked a Veteran today?

Today is Veteran's day, if you haven't already please take the time to thank a veteran today.  For me, be thanking my Grandpa.  My Grandpa served in the Navy during WWII.  He was one of those who signed up soon after the Pearl Harbor bombing.

The picture below shows my great-Uncle (he served in the Air Force during WWII and was then career Air Force), my Grandma (Uncle Joe's sister), and my Grandpa (best friends with Joe and future husband of my Grandma).

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hoo are you? #22



Helllloooo fellow HOOOOOTS! Welcome to another week of 


Thanks to Robyn from Craft With Me for all the questions you will be seeing for the next several months!

Here are this week's questions. 

1. Name two things you consider yourself to be very good at.
Reading and procrastination.  I'm not proud of the procrastination part of it, but I don't think anybody would argue with me.

2. Name two things you consider yourself to be very bad at. 
Sewing and returning phone calls.  I keep attempting to sew stuff, but it's usually not pretty.  I can only assume I'll get better at it the more I do it.  As far as returning phone calls...I'm just bad at it.  I would rather text or email or just see you in person.

3. Do you believe everything happens for a reason?
Can I plead the 5th?  I guess for the most part I feel people say that and think that because it's a way to feel better about a situation.  Heck, even I say it and think that at times. Perhaps it is a copying mechanism, perhaps things really do happen for a reason though.

4. What is something you have eaten lately that you shouldn't have?
Don't even talk to me about Halloween candy....

5. Do you think the time should change or leave it alone?
I think we should leave it alone. I really don't think there is any purpose or point to it anymore. All it does is mess with kids (and adults) sleeping schedules. 

Change the World Wednesday - reuse, not just recycle

Last Wednesday the green thing to attempt for the week was about reusing items.

Here are the details:
This week take one item from your home/office and come up with new uses for it. For example, rather than toss a vegetable can, consider all the ways it could be used (pencil holder, planter, etc.). The idea, here, is to focus on one item and list as many (re)uses as possible.

Or ...

Write about 3-5 items which are recyclable but which many people toss out. For example, the plastic safety wrap around the neck of a mouthwash bottle is recyclable but often overlooked and tossed.

Or ...

Investigate the various types of recycling in your area and try them out. For example, our area has a metal recycling center. Let us know what you found out and whether it changes your recycling habits.

Each night that I did the dishes I thought about the different things I was rinsing out to be recycled.  I tried and tried to think of uses for them around the house and for the most part I came up empty.  Therefore I'm going to just tell you about some of the ways I already re-use and one way that I did re-use something new.

Kleenex boxes
I wish I could take the credit for this idea but I read it on a different blog awhile back (and of course I don't remember which blog it was).  Instead of recycling a kleenex box, reuse it to hold plastic bags.  Yes, as much as I use my own bags when at stores, we still end up with some plastic bags in the house.   I have used two kleenex boxes for this idea.  I remove the plastic part from the box, then I stuff as many plastic bags in it as I can.  The previous owners had put a storage unit on the inside of the closet door in our laundry room, the storage unit has several shelves to it. I have the boxes on two of those shelves. It's out of the way and organized.

Mint Tins
I've been re-using mint tins for a long time now.  There are so many different things they can be used for, here are some of the ways I use them.
I have two at work. One holds change and one holds my nail clipper/file.
I have a handful in my sewing box.  One holds bobbins, several hold pins, one holds needles, etc.  There are so many uses here because sewing accessories are so tiny.
I also have a handful in the office.  These hold things such as paper clips, push pins, rubber bands, etc.  It keeps my office supplies super organized and didn't cost me anything extra. 

Plastic food containers, such as sour cream, cottage cheese, etc.
I do what most of you do, I keep some on hand in my Tupperware cabinet for guests to take home leftovers. However one thing I also use them for, that I'm not sure many have thought of, is for paint.  When painting a room, I think we all put paint in something smaller for when we are doing the trim.  Why not use a sour cream container instead of buying something?  It can also be re-used for other painting projects because once the paint is dry, the paint easily peels off the plastic. 

update - I just thought of this!  Probably because I was thinking of the glittery mess I made the other day in my craft room.   These small plastic containers would work great for storing glitter, flock, and embossing powder (and other similar items).  I was trying to put some glitter back into the smaller glitter container and of course it didn't all fit and now there is glitter everywhere. Why not use one of these containers and just store the glitter in there!  Easier cleanup and I bet it would be easier to use too.

My newest re-use item for the week, a cool-whip container.   It's just big enough to hold all my running accessories.  I hadn't thought about how disorganized I was with them until I was looking at the cool whip container and trying to think of something I could do with it. Then I happened to glance on my ipod that was on the kitchen island.  Then I glanced at the inhaler and the lip balm that was on the bar (also in the kitchen).   Hmm...running accessories are everywhere!   So I went to the office and grabbed my sports watch, then I went to the bedroom closet and grabbed my roadID.   I put everything into the cool whip container and it fit.  Now, I can't put the lid on it, but I didn't really want to anyway.   I do plan to cover the container with scrapbooking paper though..just to make it more decorative instead of just having a cool whip container in the kitchen.   Now I have this on the bar and everything is on one place.  It might seem weird to you that I would keep this in the kitchen, but let me explain.  When I get ready to leave for a run, I always stop in the kitchen to get water, so it's natural for me to put on lip balm and take my inhaler while there.  When I come in from a run, I head straight to the kitchen to make a protein shake and I always put down my ipod on the kitchen island, where it either stays or ends up by the lip balm.  Knowing that the kitchen is the one room I am always in when I leave for a run and when I come back from a run, it's only nature for me to keep all my accessories there. (and just so you don't think I'm weird and would walk around the house randomly shredding running accessories...the watch ends up in the computer room usually because I upload the data from the watch to Nike's website and need my pc to do that..then the watch stays there because I never knew where else to put it.  The RoadID I was just putting on top of my shoes since it goes around my ankle, so it's convenient for me to put it on when I also put on my shoes.) 

Hopefully this gave you some ideas as to what you could re-use items for.   I know that I'm personally looking forward to what others came up with during this past week.  I really need idea's for food cans. I recycled 4 of these during this time and couldn't come up with a use for them.  I'm feeling very un-imaginative. 

Oh, and one last thing.  Have you noticed those dumpsters at schools and churches that are for paper? I don't know about you but it seems like everywhere I go in St. Louis I see them.  Well, did you know that the organizations get money for that?  I don't know how much but I assume it's per filled dumpster.   Instead of putting my newspapers and most paper in the recycling container that gets picked up curbside, I drop it off at the local schools.  It doesn't cost me anything, I'm driving by anyway, why not help them get some money.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Think Green Hop Along


Who could possibly resist Kermit the frog by a recycling container?

Fighting a Cold - the natural way

I've been fighting a cold for several days now.  It started with a sore throat on Saturday that turned into worse on Monday. I thought it was allergy related till it got worse, silly me.  Like most people, I want to get over this cold quickly and with the least amount of symptoms.   I don't go for the cold medicine though.  Nope. I would be lying if I said I didn't have some at home, but if you knew how long I've had it you would probably tell me to throw it away because it's expired (and I'm sure you would be right).  The only cold medicine I do use sometimes, is Tylenol sore throat. I can deal with being stuffy, I can't deal with a sore throat. I tend to get a sore throat with my allergies and this is the only product that can help relieve the pain for a bit.

If I'm not taking cold medicine, what am I doing for this cold?   Using natural remedies of course.   Why?  For one, cold medicine helps to relieve the symptoms, but it doesn't help your body fight the cold.  Natural remedies help your body fight the cold so you get over it faster.

I should mention that at the very first sign of either a cold or the flu, Husband and I start popping at least one of these, if not several.  Usually if one of us is sick, as long as the other starts taking some of these as a preventative measure, they don't get sick.   We go through a lot of Airborne in our house.

I'm sure you've seen airborne in the store and seen it advertised. Husband I love this stuff. No, it doesn't taste the best, but we think it works.  I would rather take a ton of minerals and herbs than cold medicine.  Below is a list of the nutritional information I took from airborne's website.

Without even doing the research on what all those minerals and herbs do for you, wouldn't you feel better taking those instead of the ones listed below?  This is the ingredient list I took from Tylenol's website for the sore throat medicine I tend to use sometimes.  (please note that the way the info copied, the Active Ingredients and Inactive Ingredients heading needs to be moved to the left by one active ingredient should not be over Liquid Cool Burst but instead should be over Acetaminophen. 

Active IngredientsInactive Ingredients
Cool Burst
1000 mg in each
30 mL = 2 Tablespoons

Each tablespoon contains: sodium 11 mg
Citric acid, FD&C blue #1, flavors, polyethylene glycol, propylene glycol, purified water, sodium benzoate, sodium carboxymethylcellulose, sorbitol, sucralose, sucrose

Instead of popping just regular vitamin C, I choose Ester-C.  Why? I think it works better than normal vitamin c. I think it could probably be a mental thing for me, but I'm ok with that.

Here's the ingredient list I took from Ester-C's website:  I personally like the "free-of" section.

Supplement Facts
Serving Size 1 Tablet
Amount Per Serving% Daily Value
Vitamin C
(as Ester-C® Calcium Ascorbate)
500 mg833%
(as Ester-C® Calcium Ascorbate)
55 mg6%
C-Sorb™ Citrus Bioflavonoids Complex
Citrus Bioflavonoids (Citrus sinensis)(fruit), Sweet Orange, Tangerine, Lime, Lemon, Acerola, Rutin, Hesperidin Complex (Citrus spp.)(fruit), Naturally Occurring Vitamin C Metabolites
200 mg**
** Daily Value not established.

Other Ingredients: Vegetable Cellulose, Calcium Silicate, Vegetable Stearic Acid, Vegetable Magnesium Stearate.

Suitable for vegetarians.

FREE OF: Yeast, wheat, milk or milk derivatives, lactose, sugar, preservatives, soy, artificial color, artificial flavor, sodium (less than 5 mg per serving), gluten, grapefruit.

Earlier this year I had a sore throat for several weeks. It was miserable. It never ended up a cold and when I finally went to the Dr., they decided it was allergies.  (I should note that this was about a month after I had a cough for over a month and when I finally went to the Dr. it was decided the cause was allergies).    Nothing was helping, not even my beloved Tylenol.   Husband did a search online and came home with honey.  He told me to eat some honey and cinnamon.  So I did.  And I felt better.   You can do a search and find lots of articles that list Honey as a natural remedy.  I wont' go into why honey is supposed to help with a cold, but it does. I've been putting honey on a spoon a couple times a day and eating it. I'm sure you could just add honey to green tea or something else that you can eat. You don't have to be a bit nuts like me and just eat it plain.

Cinnamon is supposed to be pretty helpful too.  I tend to put some honey on a spoon, sprinkle on cinnamon, add more honey, and enjoy.  You don't have to do it like that either, you could just add Cinnamon to something you plan to eat, I'm just a tad nuts. I've actually read several books and articles about superfoods and things that are supposed to be healthy for you, and cinnamon is often listed. 

Last time I was sick I drank some green tea.  I'm not much of a tea drinker but when I'm sick I can handle a warm tea at night.  This time around I haven't been able to do that. I'm taking a new medicine for my thyroid and it says not to take it with any other medication with this pill, 2-3 hours after you eat, or on an empty stomach 1 hour before you eat.  For somebody like me who eats constantly throughout the day, this is really hard!  I've had to switch to taking my allergy meds in the morning and taking my thyroid pill at night.  This also means that since we go to bed relatively early compared to most adults, I can't eat anything after 6:30.  Part of me feels like I could drink green tea and be fine, but since I'm just started with this med, I'm trying to follow directions to a "T" before I take some liberties. It takes 6-8 weeks for a body to get adjusted to this medicine, and I'm only on week 2. If I was past the 8 weeks and lab results showed my levels were fine, I would be drinking the green tea.     I suppose what I'm really getting at is, green tea is supposed to be incredibly healthy too, but this go around I'm not taking it.

I should also note that since I've been paying more attention to what I eat and what goes in my body, I haven't used the Tylenol sore throat this time around.  I would rather try to fight this cold with herbs and minerals and other natural remedies. 

While I'm on day 5 of this cold, I have to admit that my symptoms aren't nearly as bad as they could be. In fact, my co-worker that sits in the cube next to mine, just realized I had a cold this morning. 

I hope next time you have a cold or think you might, you grab a natural remedy instead of buying expensive medicines that might work to relieve the symptoms but not help your body fight the cold itself.

Do you use any kind of natural remedy?  Any that I mentioned here or something else? Feel free to share!  I would love to know what I might be missing. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Green Blog Hop

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.

Hoo's got talent? #26


Here  are the rules!

*Link-up your post not your main  URL to this party, then PLEASE include a link back to this page.
           *Make sure your link is to your specific post and not your   main URL.
                        *No Etsy pages or business websites please.
 *Include a short description of your project and the name 
of your blog in your link up.
                * Visit at least 2 other blog links and show them some  love!
         *Grab the party-link button on the side bar so others can join thePARTY!!

I've been wanting to join in on this one for awhile, but didn't have anything to post or was never prepared to post anything.  This week..I'm prepared!!!

I decided that Myla's eating area needed to be spruced up a bit.  I was thinking of doing something with vinyl wall art, but not sure what.  Then I found chalkboard vinyl and I knew I had to play with it.  This is what happened. 

I had some chalk, but when I was at a local craft store I asked if they had chalk markers and was rewarded.  This is what happened when I got home.  Whenever I tell somebody that it says Bone Appetite instead of Bon Appetite, Husband rolls his eyes. I think it's cute. I think I'm a dork.

Myla has decided she really doesn't care about the decorations (she just wants a place where there is food and fresh water), but if it pleases Mom, then they can stay.

This was my first attempt at playing with vinyl and it was a lot easier than I expected.  I purchased the chalkboard vinyl from Stampin' Up.  I own a silhouette machine so I already had a way to cut it.  I am in love with owls, so I already had the owl die cut and had the thought bubble too.  

I first cut out the shapes on regular paper and hung them up so I could see if I liked the size and the owl. I actually attempted two different owls but this was my favorite.  This was as big as I could go to, the paper is only as wide as the owl is.

I then followed directions on Silhoutte's website on how to cut vinyl and a cut out a small bird first to test. It worked well, and now is attached to my office door.  Then I cut the owl and the thought bubble.  I really didn't have any problems with this project at all. I'm actually surprised at how smooth it went.  I have more of the chalkboard vinyl still to use, but haven't decided what to do with it yet.  I can't do any more as big as those, but I can do a lot of small ones. 

I'm thinking of cutting out birds in different sizes and putting them on the wall that we pass through when going from kitchen to family room, as a kinda of birds in flight design.  However  I haven't decided if I want to do that with chalkboard or buy different colored vinyl to use.