Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays

I hope everyone has a wonderful Holiday and you get to spend time with loved ones and friends.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Diaper Debate

I'm determined to use cloth diapers once Squirt arrives.   So this debate isn't even whether I use cloth or disposables.  The issue is do I use a diaper service or buy them ourselves. 

At first I was set on using the all-in-one kind and getting enough that we would only have to wash every 2 or 3 days.    Then I talked to a friend who used a diaper service and she recommended it.  Even though she is a stay-at-home Mom she was happy not to have to actually clean the diapers off and wash them herself.   Knowing that Husband was going along with the cloth diaper idea but not looking forward to cleaning the diapers I looked into a diaper service.   

We compared the cost of the all-in-ones and the cost of the diaper service.  We factored in both of us working 40 hours per week and needing to find time to do all this laundry.  We factored in the cost of running our washing machine and dryer every couple of days.  We went away leaning towards the diaper service.   Since Husband only wants one kid, we wouldn't get as much use out of the diapers as other parents who re-use them for multiple children.  So it came down to the cost not being that much different.  We leaned towards the diaper service so that I wouldn't be stuck doing the extra loads of laundry and we wouldn't have to clean the diapers before putting them in the laundry.  

Then I did some more reading and saw that the diaper services use pre-folds.  First off, we already have the day-care reserved and we'll be using in-home daycare.  The lady we decided to go with is perfectly ok with cloth diapering and says she did it with her kids.  So I actually think she'll be ok with pre-folds.  However, if we ended up not being happy with her and wanted to put Squirt in a daycare center, they would require the all-in-ones.  So that could be an issue.    The other thing is that I wasn't too happy with the pre-fold idea.

This past weekend we went to a store called Cotton Babies.  I'm pretty sure they're my only option for a store that I can go into and buy cloth diapers instead of using the internet.  They have several different kinds so we tested them all out on a doll.  We came up with a way to do the pre-folds that makes me happy. I walked out saying ok, let's do this diaper service.   

Later that night Husband brought up the cloth diapering and mentioned that if we're doing pre-folds we should look into buying everything and doing it ourselves instead of using a diaper service. He thought the pre-folds were pretty inexpensive and it would be a lot cheaper.   So I ran numbers again.  Even though he insists on only one child, so knowing we'll only use these diapers for one kid, it's still a heck of a lot cheaper for us to purchase the pre-folds and covers than to use the diaper service.

Here's what is holding me back.  Again, we both work 40 hour weeks.  Doing it all ourselves just means we'll have to do more laundry.  We'll be exhausted.  We'll want to spend time with Squirt and not doing laundry.   Plus I had gotten really happy about the fact that I could just put soiled, poopy diapers in a bag and put it on my porch once a week and they magically get replaced with clean ones. 

So here's my question to all you Mom's out there who used cloth diapers.  You have experience, what can you suggest?    Was doing a load of diapers every 2 days a big pain in the butt and you wish you used a service or was it something you got used to pretty quickly and it wasn't an issue.  Is cleaning the diapers a pain, to the point that the idea of just throwing soiled diapers into a bag and forgetting about it would be heaven? Or is that something you quickly get used it?

Oh, and let me add in that we've run the numbers and we've erred on the side of things being more expensive and the cost of the diaper service is very management for us.  So while keeping cost down is important, it's not a deal breaker (if that makes sense).    I've also had people tell me that they were going to use cloth and lasted 2 weeks or a month, and switched to disposables because it was a pain (all these people have older children, so they weren't using the clothe options available these days). I don't see us doing that. Not just because I think it's the best option for my child and for the environment. But also because I'm pretty stubborn and since everyone is telling me I won't last and I won't like it, I'm determined to prove them wrong. haha

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Mastercard + cloth diapers?

I don't normally watch commercials.  I'm one of the millions in love with their DVR because I can record all my programs and watch them later, when I can skip adds.  However dealing with insomnia often finds me watching tv when most people are asleep. This means I'm watching, or listening, to a lot of commercials.

I just happened to catch a MasterCard commercial and I was just staring at the screen, not really paying attention, when I noticed something.  The toddler in the commercial is wearing a cloth diaper.  At least I assume it's a cloth diaper.  It certainly looks like the toddler is probably in a pre-folder with a cover.  I was surprised and then excited.  It's so nice to see a commercial for a major company showing this.  I don't know how many will notice that it's not a disposable.  I don't know how many who do notice will bother thinking "hmm..that's not a disposable. It's cloth. Let me look into this."   However, it's a start.  Even if the commercial gets one person to think about cloth and make the switch to cloth, it's worth it.  I can only hope this will be a trend and we'll see this more often.

Here's the commercial in case you haven't seen it yet. Not that I'm promoting the company, they aren't paying me for this, but it sure would be nice if they did.


Saturday, December 3, 2011


I don't think it will come as a surprise to any of you when I mention how much I like to workout.  Even a bad workout is preferred over no workout.  It's not that I'm that vain and want to keep my body in the shape that it is, it's more that it's a huge stress reliever for me.  I don't usually have a lot of stress, but a workout can still be very calming.

So that's why I'm struggling with working out while pregnant.  It's not that I can't workout, because I'm still working out roughly 5 days a week.  The issue is that I can't do the intensity that I need.  As luck would have it, my relatively stress free life is currently very stressful (both home and work).  I'm nursing an injury so I'm not able to run, but I'm able to do a lot of cross training.  I'm spending my time riding a bike, swimming, and doing strength training.  All are great workouts.  It's not the same as running.  It doesn't calm me the same way.  To make matters worse, I have to keep my heart rate at 155 or below, which means I can't get in as tough of a workout as I would like.  I think this adds in a bit of stress.

To add to this, trail running is a huge passion of mine.  I had 3 trail races planned for this winter. Due to being a huge klutz and tripping every time I trail run and falling a lot, I'm currently not trail running while pregnant.   I realize that this is all for the best, seriously I do.  It's still hard to not be able to do something you love so much.  I live 5 min from the park I prefer to run at, so it's not even like I can avoid it.

Yes, I realize I need to watch my hear rate.  Yes, I realize it's best to avoid situations that I know would be harmful to my body.  Yes I'm still stressed out about it.  Yes I do realize how that sounds.  Husband and I dealt with infertility and it took 20 months for my body to actually work properly.  So feeling upset because I can't do the races I wanted to do and feeling upset because I can't trail run or workout to the intensity that I want is also causing a lot of guilt.  I shouldn't be stressed about it, I should be happy about it because of the reason why.  Yet, it's hard on me.  I wish it wasn't.  I kinda hope this is a normal reaction that people have, just being a tad upset but I feel like I'm alone in this.  Which causes more guilt. Which stresses me out.  This is a viscous cycle.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Trashy Eye Opener

Over the Thanksgiving holiday Husband and I had some house guests, his brother, wife, and their (almost) 4 year old son.  They stayed with us for a week.  They've stayed with us before and we always offer and never mind. We have the room and since they live out of state it's always good to be able to see them.

This year was a bit of an eye opener though. I'm not talking about having a 4 year old around either, we'll be there before we know it.  I'm taking about waste.  Over the last couple of years I've slowly been making changes in our household so as to reduce waste, waste of all kinds.  These changes have turned into habits for us and we don't even think twice about it.  That is, until this past week.

The monthly challenge on Reduce Footprints was to reduce the electricity usage this month.  Perhaps that is why I was very aware every time lights were left on and devices plugged in.  I noticed that a laptop was plugged in and charging almost the entire time.  Yikes!  I only plug mine in when I need to charge the battery, which isn't daily or even every other day.   We also left the router and modem on the entire week.  Ok, most people do this.  We don't. We're in the habit of turning the router off when we aren't using wireless and unplugging both at night and not plugging them in until they are needed again.  I also noticed lights being left on and the tv being left on when nobody was around to use them.  I think these are ones that really bothered me.  Why leave a light on if you aren't in the room?

The other thing I noticed was the amount of trash and recycling.  In a normal week we fill the recycle bin about half way.  It was full this week and I had more to add to it.  Yes, I'm glad all of that was kept out of the trash but, wow, that is still a lot of "waste".    The trash? Oh my!  Normally we have 1 bag of trash per week, it's not even a full bag normally.  With having the holiday at our house I knew there would be more waste and figured two bags, that's pretty normal.  Oh no..we had two trash cans full.  FULL!  How does that happen?  I don't even know what was all in the trash.  I know some of the waste was due to having a child around.  There were a lot of single serving containers for drinks and snacks.  These were recycled when they could be, but not all of it was recyclable.  But that shouldn't have caused us to have so much waste this week.  Should I even mention how it can take us months to go through a roll of paper towels, but in one week almost an entire roll was used? Yikes!

There was also one incident at dinner.  Husband and I were getting containers together for his parents to take leftovers home and his Mom kept telling us to put it in a ziplock bag.  I ignored this as much as I could but she didn't let up so finally I commented that using ziplock bags would be wasteful.  I prefer to just give them containers they can then return to us at a later time.

This was really an eye-opener for me.  The things Husband and I do to be more eco-friendly and to keep waste at a minimum have become habits for us. I still slowly add in more things as I come across them and I think adding things in slowly has helped us become as eco-friendly as we are. None of what we do seems out of the ordinary or like it causes us too much work etc.  It's all so natural for us.  It also showed me just how different our household is from others.  I would imagine the things I noticed are normal for a lot of households.  That's really scary.  

I don't want this to seem like I'm complaining about having house guests either.  I will readily offer our house for their next stay in STL.  I just find this very fascinating. It almost feels like my own person science experiment. somehow get them to slowly change their ways..that's the challenge.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Change the World Wednesday - Food Waste?

Last Wednesday the challenge posted on Change the World Wednesday was to work on wasting NO food over the holiday. Well, really it's to waste no food for the week.   I read over the article that she linked to in how to help keep food waste down.  I'm happy to report that the suggestions are pretty much ones that we follow in my house anyway.

Husband and I provide the Thanksgiving meal for his side of the family and we always take the minimalist approach.  Instead of having a ton of sides and options, we limit it to three: stuffing, mashed potatoes, and green beans.  We then, obviously, have turky and gravy.  You can't forget the bread or my favorite part of the meal, dessert.    One reason we do it this way is because whenever we go somewhere for a holiday meal there is always way too much food left over.  The other reason is that normally it's us and his parents.  Every other year, just about, his brother comes in town along with his wife and kid.  It's a very small family meal so there really isn't a need for a lot of food.

This year his brother and family were in town and staying at our house.  Due to our nephew turning 4 soon we also celebrated his birthday.  This means that if there was any extra food to be had, it was with dessert as I made a birthday cake and pie.  However, dessert NEVER goes to waste in our house (especially not yummy applie pie).   The only other place where there could have been waste was the fact that two turkeys were made. I don't eat turkey, so I had no part in this.   The good thing is that almost all the turkey was sent home with others who would eat it, so no waste there.

I was also super excited when making the fruit pies and peeling the potatoes and making the stuffing that all the normal "waste" would be composted this year.

All-in-all, I would say this year was very successful with have zero to little food waste.  Other waste, well, wait for another post on that one. It's interesting having house guests who aren't as eco-conscious as you.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Things NOT to say to somebody dealing with infertility

People deal with infertility in different ways, some people talk about it and don’t really mind telling people.  Other people don’t tell people and prefer to keep it private. I’m of the type that preferred to keep it private.  For me it was easier to deal with people asking me when we were going to try for kids than to get the pity looks and be asked how things were going.  In fact, Husband and I told very few people we were even trying.  I knew before we even started that it would be a long process and I had issues.  The less people who knew the better.

So the following are things that people said to me during the time I was struggling with infertility.  The people who said these things all knew I had fertility issues and was working closely with first my regular OB and then a specialist after a year.

1)Hold this baby, maybe it’ll rub off on you
Yes..because babies have some kind of magic fairy dust that only works on those females who are trying to get pregnant

2) Hurry up and get pregnant
I rather enjoy being depressed that my body doesn’t work correctly and I can’t get pregnant, I’ve been delaying this on purpose. Now that I know you want me to be pregnant though, I’ll get right on that.

3) Try harder
Right, I’m sorry, let me put in 110% effort instead of the 100% effort I’ve been doing.  That’s all it is, I’m just not TRYING hard enough.

4) You workout too much and/or you need to stop running
Working out and running have nothing to do with infertility issues.  I didn’t do anything extreme to cause issues with my body.  Working out is actually a good thing for those wanting to get pregnant. 

5) You need to gain weight
I work out, I eat healthy about 90% of the time. I’ve always been skinny. These people know that.  I’m actually in a lot better shape than the people who told me this.

6) I know what you’re going through
This is the worst one.  Not when it comes from somebody who really does understand, but when it comes from somebody who has no clue. I had somebody who already had one kid (no problems getting pregnant), and it took them roughly 5 months (which is average) to get pregnant with their 2nd kid, tell me that they knew what I was going through and I could talk to them about it if I wanted to.  This is after I had been trying for a year, had gone through an OP surgery, and was on fertility drugs.  No..they have no clue what it’s like to have infertility issues.

I’m sure there’s more, but I can’t think of any right now.  Have you dealt with infertility?  If so were there things people told you that really bothered you and you wished they hadn’t said anything?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Change the World Wednesday - eco-friendly holidays

WEEK-LONG CHALLENGE: At this time of year, many people are planning holiday dinners, family get-togethers, etc. Typically, decorations play into these events. So this week, we'd like your tips & ideas for decorating in a "green" way. And, of course, we'd like you to choose Eco-friendly decorations for your event.

Or ...

If you are not planning to decorate for a special occasion this year, we'd like to know how you generally adorn your living space. For example, do you purchase recycled items (wall hangings, knickknacks, etc.). Is your furniture made of Eco-friendly materials? Again, we'd love your tips & ideas for creating a comfortable, "green" living space ... and if you're thinking of adding anything new to your home, please choose an Eco-friendly item.

And don't forget, we're still working on a month-long challenge ...

MONTH-LONG CHALLENGE: This month make note of the electricity (Kilowatts) used in your home (find this number on your electric bill, by reading the meter, by using a home electricity monitor, etc.). Then, spend one month reducing that number by 10%. In December we'll come back and report on our success including the actions we've taken to reduce our usage.

We're pretty much minimalists in our house.  We don't have a lot sitting out and don't do a lot of decorating for the holidays.  In fact, while we have the Thanksgiving meal at our house for my in-laws, we won't decorate at all.  I think cooking and baking everything from scratch is enough.    There have been times in the past that my MIL will bring decorative paper plates for us to use, I usually just stuck those in a drawer and use the normal dishes anyway. I know she's trying to be helpful by doing this, thinking it's less clean-up for me.  However, I would rather use real dishes and put everything in the dishwasher.

The only holiday that Husband and I decorate for is Christmas.  We don't buy new things each ear, we just use things we already own and have been given to us.  I know there's a big debate on fake tree's vs real tree's and which is more eco friendly.  We personally have a fake tree that we've had for 7 or 8 years now. We didn't do it because we thought it was eco-friendly but rather I'm extremely allergic to the real thing.    But least I don't plan to buy another one anytime soon.

As far as normal, every-day decorating.  Again, we are pretty much minimalists.  We haven't bought a lot to decorate our house.  The photo's on the wall are almost all from trips we have taken in the past.   Husband recently built some shelves we hung in the kitchen and he put pictures of the nephews and family up there. I plan to put pictures of the kitchen before the makeover as well.   Anything that sits around was mostly given to us or we've had for awhile.  I personally don't want a lot sitting around because it's just more for me to clean.  Besides, having a big dog means her tale could knock things over.  I also have 6 nephews 5 years and under, so we don't need anything out they could mess with.

I also had an update on the month long challenge.  Husband and I FINALLY bought a new window treatment for the master bathroom.  We've been using the pink blinds the previous owners left since we moved in 4 years ago.  We re-did the master bathroom earlier this year and have been wanting to replace the blinds but they worked and we were lazy (ok and cheap).  We finally bought on that can be lifted up from the bottom or pulled down from the top.  The reason we wanted one we can pull down from the top is because this is a huge window that is directly across from the shower.  We couldn't lift up the bottom for light because then people can see in. I was more worried about this than Husband was, go figure.  Husband actually replaced the blind while I was on my long run over the weekend.  When I got home and took my shower it was sunny enough outside that I could pull down the top a couple feet and let in enough light that I didn't need to use any lights in the bathroom while showering and getting ready.  I love this!  Unfortunately right now it's too dark in the morning and at night when I'm mostly in there to take advantage of this, but in the summer I look forward to using a lot more natural light in that room.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Winterize your Home - Change the World Wednesday

This week's CTTW has us looking at our houses and how we can be more eco-friendly for the weekend.

WEEK-LONG CHALLENGE: This week, prepare your home for winter. Do at least one thing which will ensure that your winter is Eco-friendly. Need some ideas? Click HERE. If you are moving into spring/summer, prepare your home for the warm months ... you'll find some ideas HERE.

Or ...

If you've already prepared your home for the cold (or warm) months ahead, we'd like to know what you've done. Please include tips, ideas and any do-it-yourself advice.

I can't say that we have deliberately set out to winterize our home however we have done several things that are on the list.  One thing I can say we definitely do is keep the thermostat pretty low.  I'm pretty much always cold in our house. haha!  I learned early on just to layer up and keep blankets on the couch.

One thing the husband does this time of year, and I have no idea if it helps or not so would like your opinion on it, is that if he uses the oven he will leave the door open after he turns it off. I suppose he feels this helps to heat the kitchen/house a bit?  I have no idea if this makes a difference or not, but I don't say anything. I figure that since the oven is off, it can't hurt. 

I think I feel we do need to do is clean behind the fridge.  I know I haven't done that in a year, which means it hasn't been done.  

Ok, so not a lot to share with this one this time around.  I'll do better next time.  :)

I haven't mentioned the month long challenge yet, which is to reduce energy use by 10%.  You know, we actually do really well with our electricity.  So I've been trying to think of ways to reduce our usage.  I haven't come up with anything yet.  Unfortunately, I think it might actually be a bit higher.  Due to my insomnia I will often get up once I've awaken and head into the family room to watch tv.  Sometimes I actually watch tv and sometimes I just turn it on for the noise and try to sleep.  While I feel this is a waste, especially on those days that I turn it on and then immediately turn my back to it and try to sleep, I also feel that if I can get even an  hour more of sleep it's worth it.  

Friday, November 11, 2011

Every day should be Veterans Day

I'm glad the US sets aside at least one day to honor our veterans.  I feel this should be done every day, and I know a lot do, but I'm still happy we have one dedicated day.  A lot of countries don't.

My paternal Grandfather and my paternal Grandmother's brother (whom we called Uncle) both enlisted the day after Pearl Harbor.   According to them it was the right thing to do.  I think we can all agree that it was actions like this that have many calling them the "greatest generation".

My Grandmother's Brother,
my Grandmother, and
my Grandfather
Nov. 26, 1944
 My Grandfather joined the Navy and served on the USS Perry until it was sunk due to a mine explosion (luckily my Grandfather was not on board when this happened).   My Uncle joined the Air Force and ended up making a career of it.

While both men had different reactions to fighting in the war and were effected differently, both deserved to be honored for their willingness to give up their lives to fight for our country, to fight for what they believed in.

While my Uncle is no longer with us and I am unable to thank him for his service, I do make it a point to thank my Grandfather on Veterans Day every year. 

My Uncle was buried at a local veterans cemetary, Jefferson Barracks.  This was the first, and possibly the only, military funeral I'll attend (My Grandfather does not want a military burial).  While I know how this sounds, I'm just going to say it. I hope everyone has the opportunity to experience a military burial at some time.  There is just something about it that really touched me and made me proud to have a family member who served. 

I also take time on this day to contact a good friend and let her know I'm thinking of her and her family.  Her son was killed in action 2 years ago.  He was still a teenager.  It always makes my heart heavy because he died so young and had so much yet to experience in life.  Yet I thank him and I appreciate his willingness to serve our country in a war that many don't understand or feel the need for.

Today is for these gentlemen.  Those who were brave and loved their country enough to risk losing their life so we could remain safe and free. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

I am not a vampire

It's been months (except for 1 day due to drugs) since I've slept through the night. I was beginning to think I had been bitten and turned into a vampire, except that I'm still able to function in daylight.   I checked to see if I had become sparkly without knowing it or was somehow wearing new jewelry that would allow me to live in daylight, but both are false.   I'm pretty sure I'm not a vampire.  So that leaves me back to questioning why I'm not sleeping.

When I say it's been months, I do mean months. I started having trouble sleeping in July.  This is different from my normal sleep issues, which consisted of constantly waking up but going back to sleep and then waking up for good anytime after 4am.    Now I'm waking up anytime from 10:30 pm -12:30am.  This means I'm getting 2-4 hours per night.  I'm not falling back asleep.   For a couple of months I functioned pretty well like this, those days are over. It's showing at work. I have a bad temper anyway, now I'm having trouble controling it.

I did talk to a dr. recently and was given a prescription to Ambien.  The first night I took it, I slept 8 hours. It was awesome.  Since then, I've only managed to get 4 hours of sleep using the pill.  Last night I thought I was smart, I went to bed when I was tired and didn't take the pill.  When I woke up at 10:30, after 2 hours, I took the pill. I slept another 4 hours. I felt rested.   While I'm not supposed to take the pill every night, perhaps if I remember this I can at least gett a decent nights sleep every other night.

If I notice a couple of sharp teeth and that my skin starts to burn in the daylight, I'll let you know.  The vampire conversion process is finally coming to an end.  Until then, I guess I'll just deal with the insomnia as best I can.  Perhaps I'll go online and try to make some vampire friends so we can chat at night.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Why didn’t I buy them sooner?

I’ve been interested in arm warmers for awhile, but just never took the plunge to actually purchase a pair.  Luckily for me I was given a pair for my birthday and recently had a chance to wear them for the first time.

Shoot..if Kara Goucher can wear them, so
can I. It doesn't matter that she's
superwoman and I'm just your average
run of the mill runner.
 If you aren’t a runner, and maybe even if you are, you might be asking yourself “Why would you/I want arm warmers?  Couldn’t you/I just wear long sleeves?”  The answer is yes….and no.    Sure when it gets cold enough everyone has to switch to long sleeves when running outside.  However sometimes it’s a toss-up.  Will I be too warm in long sleeves? But will I freeze in short sleeves?  What if I’m doing a long run and I’m going to be out there for an hour or longer and the temps start out in the low 50’s but reach close to 60 before I’m expected to be done?   As you can see, once you start running outside there’s a lot of thought put into what to wear (at least for me there is).

Arm warmers are great because if the temperature is a bit cool but you feel you might be too warm in long sleeves, just put on a short sleeve shirt or a tank top and slap on the arm warmers.  The arm warmers cover the majority of your arm.  They are light-weight, moisture-wicking, and warm.   If the temperature warms up and/or you are running in direct sunlight and feel a bit warm, just roll them down.  Easy!   If you wore long sleeves and got warm it’s a pain to have to roll the sleeves up and get them to stay up.  If you are even able to roll them up. I have some long sleeved tech shirts that are form fighting and I can’t roll those suckers up.   Plus, if you do roll up your sleeves you risk stretching them out. Nobody wants that.

So yes, after one use of my arm warmers I’m a convert.  I love them!  I work them with short sleeves and it was perfect.  Running in direct sunlight I could tell I was getting a bit warm but not overly so.  However soon I was back in the woods and surrounded my trees and the temperature dropped and I was comfortable again.

I personally have a pair of Nike Dri-Fit arm warmers, at $20 they aren’t that expensive.  I must also say that I was worried they wouldn’t stay up.  I have very skinny arms.  Yes, I do strength train and while my upper arm muscles are somewhat impressive (for me) they are still a bit pathetic and small.  I’m happy to report that I had no problems with the arm warmers staying up for the entire run, which was almost 9 miles and took about 1 hr and 23 min. I would say that’s a pretty good test if they work or not.   Oh..and for me.  These were perfect for when the temperate was in the low 50’s.  I wore capri’s, the arm warmers, and a short sleeved shirt and was comfortable (once I started running and until I which point I froze).

Friday, October 28, 2011

Guilty Pleasures - Pumped Up Kicks

For some reason I’ve recently become addicted to the song Pumped up Kicks by Foster the People.  
Yes, I consider this a guilty pleasure.  This song is very much out of the ordinary for me.  I’m the type of person who listens a lot of angsty music, think Rage Against the Machine and Boy Sets Fire.   I love the harder stuff.  So for me to be addicted to a song like this, and admit it, that’s big. 

Enjoy this confession, and enjoy the song.

oh, and if you happen to listen to the lyrics.  You will notice that while the song has a very catchy tune, the song iteslf is dark.  Pherhaps that is why I like it so much.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Change the World Wednesday – Eco-Friendly gift giving

It’s Wednesday, so that means it’s time for CTWW and this week the question to ponder is:

This week, please share ideas on Eco-friendly gift giving. We're looking for anything which helps us choose "green" gifts that will please the receiver. Feel free to offer links, do-it-yourself projects, etc. ... the more creative the better.

I agree that we do give “stuff” for presents.  However I also feel that Husband and I are pretty good at picking out gifts for people and buying things that we know they want and/or need.   That being said…I do tend to do some eco-friendly things.

The last several years I have made a calendar for my Mom and Grandparents.  Each month is basically a picture of something that happened in that same month the year before, so imagine it’s basically a scrapbook but is a calendar instead.  They love this!  Now they don’t buy their own calendar, which they would end up throwing away at the end of the year anyway.  Last year I took this a step further and along with the calendar gave them each an empty scrapbook.  This way when the year is over they can but the pages off of the spine and put them in the scrapbook and have them to look at as they wish.  Sure, buying a scrapbook wasn’t the most eco-friendly thing I could buy but it’s a great place for the used calendar photo’s and they don’t end up in the trash (not that I think they would throw away pictures of their kids/grandkids/great-grandkids anyway).

My sisters and I also try to give my Grandparents a giftcard to restaurants, we know they don’t need “stuff” and this way they can enjoy a meal out on us.  Usually we pick up a gift card for a restaurant close to their house we know they enjoy.  Often times it’s a locally owned restaurant and not a chain as well, I like that better.

As far as other gifts..I like to shop Etsy as often as I can. Sometimes I’ll pick out things for myself to tell somebody to get me and often times I find something I know somebody else will enjoy.  I love buying handmade items and giving them as gifts as well. 

I can’t wait to see what others have done in the past to make gift-giving eco-friendly , hoping to “steal” some idea’s.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Almost as exciting as my half

I ran my second half marathon on October 2nd, almost 3 weeks ago.  It was a fantastic experience and one I don’t think I’ll forget any time soon. I went in hoping to redeem myself and do a heck of a lot better than I did with my first half, which was this past April.   I’m happy to report that not only did I NOT have to walk, I hit my time goal and shaved off 20 minutes from the first half.   Shaving off 20 min in 6 months is awesome.

Within the last 6 months running has become very social for me.  I love that!  I joined a website called DailyMile.  It’s basically a site where you post your workouts and talk about them and become friends with other runners and cyclists.  I joined and didn’t know anybody and little by little had people friend me and I would friend others.  I ended up meeting up with a guy I met on there for a group run one Sunday.  Then while I didn’t always run with them on Sunday’s, I would head to another park to run solo trail runs, I soon realized that I liked running with others.  So little by little I started running with that group more often and it soon became a weekly event.

I then met another girl on there who lives in  my area and we started to run together on Wednesday’s after work.  I looked forward to those runs as, while she runs at a slower pace, this never bothered me because I used the runs as recovery and it was good to take it easier and not worry about my time.

So what I’m getting at with this, is that I’ve become a social runner.  While my half was almost 3 weeks ago, those I’ve been running with and others that I’ve been talking with online are all getting ready to do their half marathon or full marathon this weekend.   They signed up for the Rock N Roll – St. Louis race that’s on the 23rd.  While I won’t be running it, I’m nervous and excited for all of them.  For some it’s their first half marathon.  For others it’s their first marathon.  For other’s it might not be their first but they haven’t run one in awhile and are in much better shape so they’ll be working for a PR (personal record). 

I will be attending the expo tomorrow. It’s basically a 2 day fair where race participants can pick up their race packets but there are also a lot of vendors there giving out free samples or selling products.  I’m in need of a new pair of running shoes and have two picked out.  My hope is that a vendor will have one of them discounted. haha!  I’ll also be meeting up with a handful of runners who will be running on Sunday.   I can’t wait to hear from them after the run and read their race reports.   I’ll be on pins and needles Sunday morning until I hear from some of the runners about how well they did.  For me, being a non-participant is almost as nerve-wrecking as doing the running myself.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

CTWW – Environmental Impact of Pets

This Week's Challenge:
This week's challenge comes from Jennifer. I think it's going to be a fun challenge! Here you go:
This week, find one way to lower the environmental impact of your pet.

OR ...

If you don't have a pet, suggest ways that we can protect wild animals.

This week’s CTWW challenge is all about making our pets more environmentally friendly.   This is something I’ve thought about in the past regarding my dog, Myla. For the most part we don’t have a lot of waste with our dog.  

We don’t buy her toys because she doesn’t play with them a lot.  We do have a lot for her, because she doesn’t ruin them.  So when she wants to play she just selects one of her favorites and is happy (usually it’s a duck..she’s odd).  So in the toy department we don’t buy and we don’t throw any in the trash either.

The bag her food comes in is probably one of the worst ways she is not environmentally friendly.  I don’t really see a way around this either.  She is using Newman’s Own Organic adult dog food.  I feel better about her on that than a lot of other brands.  Especially since she has stomach problems and seems to do ok with this stuff.  Since Myla is a large dog, 100lbs, we buy big bags of dog food and I just don’t see a way around those bags.  I have been known to use the bags for trash in the past, so at least they did get a 2nd use out of them. 

The dog treats we’ve used in the past has come in cardboard containers, so at least those are recyclable.  However, once the current treats are gone I plan to make her treats instead of buying them.  If it doesn’t work, I’ll go back to buying some, but I hope I’m able to find a good recipe and get the hang of it so they can be made from scratch.  I feel this would not only be healthier for her but also reduce waste.  The exception would be when I buy her special treats from Three Dog Bakery.  They have an apple oatmeal treat that she goes crazy for so I buy them once in awhile. 

The main area where we are not environmentally friendly is when it comes to cleaning up her waste. If it’s in the yard, I use a paper bag. I feel this way it at least has a chance of breaking down in the landfill.  However when we take her for a walk we end up using plastic bags, and not biodegradable ones.  I would love to use biodegradable ones, and I need to just bite the bullet and buy some.  Here’s the thing, while we rarely bring in plastic bags from stores, we do end up with some from other people.  So I use those. I also use sandwich bread bags and the plastic bags newspapers are delivered in.  So I feel like at least those are getting a 2nd use.  I suppose I could just recycle those at the grocery stores instead though.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Eco-Friendly Birthday

I’m not talking eco-friendly as far as wrapping paper, etc, I’m talking gifts.  Although, to be honest, only one gift was wrapped and I recycled the paper. Not everyone would be pumped to get a composter for their birthday, but this girl was!  Yes, I got a composter. It is actually a gift from my in-laws, but the idea came from my husband.  He told them I would like it and his Mom didn’t believe him.  So for those of you
who wouldn’t enjoy the composter put yourself at ease because I did get a couple of other things (arm warmers and a gift card to a local running store. Heaven).

I’ve been wanting to start composting for awhile but the issue was a composter.  The ones I was looking at were around $100 or more and I knew my husband wouldn’t go for that.  He’s only eco-friendly because I force the issue in the house.    I played around with the idea of using a bucket to make one, but never really went further with that.

Therefore getting a composter for my birthday was an awesome gift.    I got the composter on Saturday and the first thing I did on Sunday after I arrived home from my long run is get Husband to help me put it together (it wasn’t hard).  We then had yard work to do so I already put it to use.   I then baked a cake and bread in the afternoon and was able to put even more stuff in it.

The composter I have is the tumbling composter from Suncast.  I can’t really give a review of it just yet as I’ve just started using it. Plus I really need to read up on composting again to make sure I do it right.  I’m sure it will be trial and error. Plus starting in the winter
probably isn’t best, but at least it’s something. 

Stay tuned for future updates where I tell you how well (fingers crossed) this adventure works for me.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

CTWW - Lightbulbs

It's been a long time since I updated this blog!  I'm sure you all missed me (cough cough).  Things have been pretty crazy for me lately but I hope this is a start to me being able to update my blog more frequently again.

This week, replace at least one incandescent bulb in your home with either a CFL or LED bulb.

OR ...

If you accomplished this challenge when we first ran it in July of 2009 (or before) ... or if you felt, at that time, that you couldn't participate ... we'd like to know how it's gone since then. Are you using Eco-friendly bulbs ... why or why not? Do you prefer CFLs or LEDs ... and why? If you're using Eco-friendly bulbs, have you noticed a decrease in your electric bill? Do you recycle bulbs ... if so, where? We'd like to know where you're at now in regards to light bulbs.

UP THE ANTE (On the Halloween challenge): Argentum Vulgaris challenges us further. Here it is: Don’t buy anything that is used only once for Hallowe’en! Make, or use what you have. Who's going to take him up on this one??

I didn't participate in this challenge before, wasn't doing the CTWW posts back then.  I struggle with doing it now.  As light bulbs burn out we do replace them with a more eco-friendly option.  However, I won't replace a lightbulb that is currently already working.

So here's why I won't participate in this challenge this week (unless a lightbulb burns out).  I realize that replacing a lightbulb with a more eco-friendly option will save me money as far as electricity goes.  I can't get past the idea of replacing a lightbulb that isn't currently broken.  It's working, why replace it?  To me this seems like a waste.   Why would I throw away or get rid of something that works?

Maybe you all know something I don't know, maybe there is a really good reason why I should replace existing working bulbs with new ones.    Till you change my mind, I'll leave things as they are.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

CTWW - Could you shower in 5 min?

This Week's Challenge:

We're going to revisit our original challenge which is designed to save water. If you've been with us from the beginning and have already accomplished this challenge, feel free to "up the ante" on the rest of us. Here you go:

This week take only showers and limit them to no more than 5 minutes each.

Or ...

If this is something you already do, please share other water saving ideas with us.

UP THE ANTE: Argentum Vulgaris challenges us to take a 3-minute shower and further save water by peeing in the shower. Oh My Goodness!!

"CALL" THE ANTE AND RAISE IT ONE: Brian challenges us as follows: "When you take a shower do so with the coldest water you can stand. This will save you money because your water heater will not run as much plus it is better for the environment because...well, your water heater will not run as much." WhooHoo ... it is ON!

oh boy.  I do not do well with this one.   I'm a girl..I workout. I have 2 legs. I have 2 legs that need to be shaved almost every day because I'll be out and about in shorts.  How do you girls do it?  I've tried shaving by sitting on the side of the tub but then I just get cold and that doesn't work well for shaving.

I will admit that if I don't have to wash my hair or shave, I can be in and out of the shower in 5 min.  I can't handle it when I have to shave and/or wash my hair.

What's worse is that there are several days a week when I take two showers since I take one in the morning before work and then again at night after I've done a workout.  The good thing is that the 2nd shower is usually around 5 min.

This week, I'll make the effort to wash my hair faster..shave faster (without cutting myself of course) and possibly taking those 2nd showers even faster.   Wish me luck.

oh..and interested on your thoughts on that first Up the Ante.  Is it gross to pee in the shower?   Or is it not so bad? Interested to see what the majority of us American's think.

Monday, July 18, 2011

CTWW - no plastic?

I'm a "tad" late in getting out my Change the World Wednesday post for last Wednesday.    Here's the challenge as it was given to us last week:

This Week's Challenge:

So ... are you ready for another challenge? How about a tough challenge ... a real tough challenge ... one that will definitely "test your metal"? Are you up for it? I know that you are. Here it is:

This week refuse to buy anything which is, or which comes in, plastic. Instead, opt for Eco-friendly items and packaging ... or do without.

UP THE ANTE: Jessica is upping the ante and challenges us to make our own reusable, bulk product bags. You can see her efforts HERE. Whose going to take her up on her challenge?? Thanks, Jessica!

I didn't actually read the challenge last week.  However, I did go grocery shopping on Thursday and admit that I 1)brought my own bags to the grocery store and 2) that includes re-usable bags for produce.     I believe a couple things might have come in plastic (cheese and milk and bread) but most of what I bought was not in plastic.   I' going to keep this challenge in mind though for when I head to the store this week when I shop for the pool party we are having Saturday.  I'm interested to see how well I can do.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Carpenter for hire

Earlier this summer Husband and I started working on the landscaping in the backyard by the pool.  We started in April and continued to work on it through May and most of June.   I meant to do a post on this too, in fact I thought I did until I went looking for it.  Expect that one soon!  

With the landscaping now looking nice we have a nice spot for some furniture.  Currently we have a table and 4 chairs that were left by the previous owners.  It's not the best, but it was free so we kept it.  We started talking about getting a canopy and some sofa's for by the pool.  We also talked about need some lounge chairs since the ones given to us when we first moved in are both broken. I guess that's what you get when it's not a good brand, it breaks after 3 years.   After pricing out a lot of this, we thought we should wait.

Until, I saw directions for a lounge chair on the Ana-White website.  I'm a long time follower of this lady.  She draws up plans to build tables and beds and bookcases, etc.  They seem to be pretty easy to follow, a lot of people comment that they have never built anything but were able to X item thanks to her.   I emailed Husband the info for the lounge chair and suggested we try to build it.  Oddly, he agreed.  Let me remind you that this is a guy who never even used a drill or mowed the lawn before we got married.  Sure, we've done a ton of home renovations, but to actually build something? Could we do it? Could he do it?

We decided to start with a workbench.  I found plans on the same website and figured this would be a good way to get our feet wet and if we are going to build other things we would need one. It should be much easier to build a workbench than a lounge.  Husband built the workbench, by himself, on weekend morning.  I don't know how long it took him but it was only a couple of hours. I don't remember why I didn't help him, other than that I think he started it on Sunday morning while I was running and finished it not long after I got back.  I didn't even realize he was working on it till he found me to tell me he finished it.

I could have sworn I took photo's of it right after he finished it, but I can't find them. Instead you get this one..which was taken last weekend after he made the chairs and, as you can see, already started to use it.

We set out to buy the furniture for the lounge and this time I didn't even pretend I was going to help build it. I just helped carry the supplies to the basement and left him alone.  He finished it this past Saturday.  We then went out on Sunday and bought the materials for a second one, and he finished it within 1.5 hours.  I'm amazed and proud of him.    Before you see the pictures, please excuse the mess and that they kinda suck. The lounges are currently in the unfinished area still since we still need to seal them before putting them outside.  The mess on the floor..the previous owners let their kids do that and we haven't bothered repainting the floor.    Psst..don't forget you can click on the photo for a bigger image.

I can't wait to get these sealed and to get some cushions for them.  They will look so nice outside!

And don't worry, now that I know Husband can build things, I've already given him plans for a craft table. He looked at them and said "oh, this will be easy."  I can't wait!  I also caught him measuring the dining room, and then the kitchen table the other day. when I asked what he was doing he said "Seeing how big a dining room table I could make."  (yes..there is no furniture in our dining room).

As far as cost, was it really worth it?   I did a quick search online and wooden outdoor lounge chairs can be found for as low as $185.  The first trip for supplies to build a lounge chair we spent $170.  We also bought a couple of tools that were not exactly required but would make the job easier.  The trip for the second chair we spent $59.09.   I would say it was definitely worth it.  Sure, the chairs might not be fancy smancy but they look nice and we like them.    Plus, Husband is incredibly proud that he actually did this on his own. 

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Change the World Wednesday - proudest green achievement

This week's Change the World Wednesday with Reduce Footprints is:

This week we'd like to hear about your proudest "green" achievement. Perhaps you started a compost for the first time or purchased organic food. Maybe you stopped driving a car or added solar panels to your home. It could be as small as carrying a reusable bag or as large as building an energy efficient home. Whatever your proudest Eco-friendly achievement is ... we want to know about it. Please leave details and tips/ideas so that we can all celebrate with you and perhaps try the activity ourselves.

I would have to say that my proudest green achievement is getting my Grandparents to recycle.   Sure, they still don't do it 100% of the time, but they do it more than they used to.   My Grandma will sometimes also save things and wait for me to show up and them she'll be like "Ah-ha! Look at what I'm going to recycle!".  I don't want to say it's a game, but it kind of is.  Whenever I'm at their house if I notice something in the trash that can be recycled, I take it out and give my Grandma "trouble", and if she saves something while I'm over she makes sure that I see it.  I mostly just like that they now think about it and make an effort to recycle.

Also, I have to mention my vegetable garden. It's not doing too great, but I'm trying. I haven't had a vegetable garden since I was young and my Mom would grow tomatoes and I would sometimes water them. So I guess that doesn't really count as me having one when I was  young.   This year I have 4 tomato plants, two strawberry plants, and 1 pepper plant. I attempted lettuce, that didn't work out well. Then I lost the rest of the seeds so I haven't tried it again.  I feel good that I'm even attempting a vegetable garden, no matter how small it is.  We all have to start somewhere don't we?  (It goes without saying that I used all organic soil too.)

 I would mention my blackberry bush, but I've already done a post on that.  I have to admit that I look at it every day though and I can't wait for the blackberries to be ready for picking. They are all reddish/pinkish and I'm enjoying watching the colors change as the fruit ripens.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Catalog Choice - I'm loving it

Several weeks ago the Change the World Wednesday challenge was on paper usage.  One of the things mentioned was to sign up with catalog choice and start elimination unwanted catalogs in the mail.

Knowing that it would be pretty easy to do this via Catalog Choice I've been making the effort to do so.  So far I only have two catalogs that I've requested to stop being sent to my house via this website.  Two isn't much, but it's better than non.  It's also the only two that we've received. haha!   You need info from the catalog so I can't go in and request ones that I know we sometimes get until after I've received them.

I like that my account shows how much I'm saving by doing this though.  I've saved 1 fully grown tree, 30lbs of greenhouse gas, 71lbs of solid waste, and 11 gallons of water.  Not to bad, so far.

I haven't just stopped at Catalog Choice though. I took it a step further.  We receive an alumni magazine for the college where Husband got his MBA.  He doesn't read it. He doesn't even look at it.  When I do the bills on the weekend I put it right in the recycle bin.  Well, we received it on Monday and on Tuesday I went online and couldn't find a spot to elect not to receive.  So I called the number and requested they stop.  They said they would remove his name from the list, but we'll see.  Considering how common his name is and they didn't get my address, I'm not so sure this will really happen. I figure I'll give it till the end of the year (I know most places create lists well in advance) and if we are still receiving them I'll try it again.

I also contacted a company that constantly (as in once a week) sends us mail begging for cash/donations.  This is a charity that we both agree is worth supporting and we do donate money, but we do it online.  So I went to their website and filled out a contact form asking them to remove us from their list since we donate online and don't want the waste of receiving the mailings.  I received a personal reply within 24 hours saying they would remove us from the mailing list.

I'm feeling pretty good about this!  I know it can be time consuming doing all this, but if I remember to save the mail as it comes and do it when I have time, little by little I'll be able to get the junk mail to a minimum.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Change the World Wednesday - Take Action

This week, become an activist. Please take some kind of action (letter writing, phone calls, petitions, etc.) designed to encourage a business, community, government, etc. to make a positive change. Need some ideas? Here you go:

  • Browse the Care2 Take Action site, HERE, and sign a petition or in some way get involved.
  • Write an email/letter to a local restaurant that uses Styrofoam containers for take-away food and politely ask them to consider an Eco-friendly alternative.
  • Visit Oceana HERE and take action to protect our oceans.
  • Contact your community (apartment managers, homeowner's association, etc.) and suggest "green" improvements to your area.
  • Choose from one of these 10 Actions to save the whales.
  • If you attend a festival, look for ways that the function could be greener and then write to the organizers with suggestions.
  • Contact your child's school with ideas on how the school can be greener.
  • Find out what you can do to help end nuclear threats HERE (thanks, Mrs. Green)
  • Check out the opportunities to take action from the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council)HERE. (Thanks to EcoGrrl for reminding me about this one).
The idea, here, is to take action and make your voice heard on behalf of the environment and all of it's inhabitants. And, of course, we want to hear about it so please share your experience, links, etc.

Or ...

If you are already taking action, we'd like tips on how to make it successful and we'd like to hear about your lessons learned.

I took the easy way out and I looked around on the Care2 Take Action website.  Several of the other options don't really apply to me, and the ones that did (such as writing an email or letter) just didn't appeal to me. I have a feeling, though, that now that the idea is in my head the next time I notice a restaurant use a non-recyclable container for food I'll probably send an email.

In the past, I have written such an email though.  I had a giftcode for an online merchant and ordered some bamboo towels.  The towels came in plastic wrap.  I emailed the company the same day the item arrived and expressed my concern that their eco-friendly item was being packaged in a non-eco friendly way.  I'm happy to report that I heard back from them within a couple of days.  The response didn't sound like a standard response either, they thanked me for making the suggestion and said they would look in to it.  Will they?  Who knows, but it did get at least one person thinking.

Back to the Care2 Take Action website.  I first clicked on health to see what I could find and wouldn't you know it, there was a petition for a matter in my home state.  It was a matter I feel very strongly about so after reading a bit more about it I went ahead and signed the petition.  I'm not going to say which one it was because it's of such a subject that people are either for or against and it's not something I publicly talk about because it can really cause some disagreements.

I also checked out the corporate responsibility section and after reading several that caught my interest I signed those too.

One of the other areas that don't really apply to me is contacting your community, in my case a home owners association, and suggest green changes.  Ok, I suppose it could apply to me but I wouldn't know where to begin, as in I don't know what to suggest. However I bring this up because my husband and I have been going around and around with our home owners association for a couple months now regarding solar panels.  We want them.  They would have to be on the South side of our roof and for us that's the side facing the street.  I contacted the association to try and get this approved.  One lady is for it and doesn't see it being an issue.  One of the guys works in government and he's been really hard to get in touch with.  He thinks it's a good idea but is more worried about how it would look and how it would effect the neighborhood in that regard.   When they came to the house several weeks ago to discuss it, again, I said that I felt this is the way things were going and soon others would want it as well. I said that I felt this would be a good selling point if we were to move.  I also said I think people would notice it as first but then it would just seem "normal".  

So far..I haven't heard back from them.  I give them the rest of the week and then they get another pestering email from me.   Fingers crossed they will approve it and we can move forward actually getting an official bid.  The company we are working with don't want to move forward with drawing up a proposal, it's labor intensive, until we know for sure we could do it.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Change the World Wednesday - Take out versus homemade

There are actually two "up the ante" challenges this week..let's see how well I can do.

This week, make your coffee or tea at home. Getting coffee/tea out every day not only costs a lot but also generates a lot of waste. Make it at home instead. And don't forget ... both coffee grounds and tea leaves are great in the compost bin.

Or ...

If you don't drink these beverages or always drink them at home, choose one other food or beverage, which you typically buy at either a restaurant or grocery store, and make it yourself at home. And, of course, we'd like to hear all about it!

Or, if you're a Superstar, accept the "Up The Ante" challenge ...

Our bloggy friend, What A Card, is upping the ante on this challenge. She says, "Use the money you save by not going out for coffee/tea for some environmentally-friendly purpose. I use the money I saved so we could afford to switch to organic milk." Great challenge, WAC!

Or, wanna reach Super-Superstar status? Accept a second "Up The Ante" challenge ...

Whoops - this idea actually came from @CoffeeContessa... not Jessica (thanks, Jessica for pointing that out). So, here's what @CoffeeContessa says "I'll up the ante and only brew organic certified!" Okay ... who's gonna take on this challenge?

I honestly feel like Husband and I are the only ones who don't drink coffee or tea.   That makes the first part of this challenge and the second "up the ante" challenge a piece of cake.  Don't buy coffee or tea on the run? Done!  Only brew certified organic..sure..I won't buy the non-organic stuff!

So I suppose I'll take on the 2nd challenge and the second "up the ante" challenge.   What do I normally buy that I could make at home?  And what could I do with the money saved by doing so?   Well, this is actually something I'm trying to do.  I've already switched to making my own croutons instead of buying croutons.  We make our own spaghetti sauce, chili, and dinner rolls ( can make these ahead of time and freeze them, then only heat up what you want for dinner that night).  

Here's what I'm going to do.  I already make one of my salad dressings from scratch.  However there is one other one that I love and buy. It's called Garlic Expressions.  I love garlic so of course the first time I noticed this one I had to try it. I've been in love with it ever since.   I don't feel bad buying it because the list of ingredients is short and basic.  However, at almost $4 a bottle, I feel it's expensive.   So..I'm going to take on this challenge by attempting to make this myself.   I'm off to search for a similar recipe online and I'll probably buy ingredients tonight since I'm doing the grocery shopping on my way home from work.

Another thing, since the goal was to reduce your drink waste, that I want to mention is sports drinks.  I workout a lot yet I refuse to by individual sports drinks because of the waste.  Instead, I have found several brands that offer tabs.  You're familiar with Airborne and how it comes in a tab that you dissolve in water? Same concept. It's a tab that you just add to your own bottle with your own water.  I personally like GU better than the Nuun.  I tried lemon-lime GU and Orange Nuun. The Nuun tasted like Airborne, yuck.  I'm going to give Nuun another try though, just a different flavor.  I believe there were 12 tablets in the Nuun and only 10 in the GU container.  Sure, I'm still buying something that has to be thrown away or recycled (although I know the Nuun container did not have a recycle sign on it) but instead of buying 10-12 containers I'm buying one.

As for the second challenge, I suppose I already do this to a point.  I've slowly been changing our food choices to organic.  I'm not 100% there but I'm getting there.  It's a slow process since it's more expensive. I feel like I need to do a little at a time and get used to the increase in cost, then work on cooking more from scratch, then buy more organic etc.  For me the two go hand in hand.

Oh..and I did search for a recipe and here's the one I plan to try:
1/4 cup pure apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil or other cold pressed oil 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
one or more cloves of garlic, crushed, chopped or sliced

What I'm going to do is take this recipe to the store with me, but also look at the ingredient list of the dressing I like.  I might end up modifying ingredients based on that.   I'll be sure to do an update post. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Get Fit Monday - a workout week in review

It's been awhile since I updated you on my weekly activities.  I've been making some changes to my routine, adding in a bit more cross-training and a few extra workouts.  I switched up my routine again this past week and I think it worked out really well for me.

My workout week starts on Tuesday.  Tuesday morning I get up at 4:50am in order to get to the gym for a 5:30 barbell strength class.  I am loving this class. It's very hard, it hits all the major muscle groups, and it's fun.  Tuesday night I've been participating in Big River Running's speedwork sessions.  They are hard but I love the structure of it.

Wednesday nights I'm starting to meet up with another runner for a hot evening run. It's the worst time of the day to run but we both want to run with somebody because 1)it's fun and 2)it keeps us motivated.   This past week we did just under 3 miles.

Thursdays I get up at 5:30am for a morning run, usually 4 miles.  I then take a yoga class at 7:15pm.  The instructor is a bit's definitely a different type of yoga than I'm used to.  I like it..I think I just need to get used to it.

Friday's I get up at 4:50am for a 5:30 spin class.  I'm loving the spin class! It's so hard, I really push myself, but it's so much fun.  I love that it's a great workout and it's something different from running.  A girl just needs to mix it up sometimes.

Saturday is my swim day.  This is the workout I'm the worst at but it just takes practice right?  This past week I ended up doing a total of 500 yards but I had to take a lot of rests, usually after only going one length.  I only did 8 full laps of freestyle. I know I need to increase that but I'm happy that I did more laps with modified breaststroke and other swimming forms.

Sundays are my long run days.  The last two weekends I've run with a group of other runners and I love it. It's just more enjoyable running with others.  This week my goal was 8 miles but I decided to do two full loops of the course we run, which is 9 miles. I could have stopped at 8 but when I hit 8 I knew it wasn't much further to the cars and I felt like I could do more. I'm so happy with this!  It feels good to get in that many miles.  I have switched completely to a minimalist shoe now and this is the furthest I've gone in them.  My calves are still sore and I doubt I could have done much more since they were really hurting that last mile, but I'm glad I stuck with it.

Monday, today, is my rest day.  Ah....I love rest days. I feel it is well deserved this week.