Monday, February 28, 2011

Get Fit Monday - Castlewood Cup edition

This Monday, instead of telling you about everything I did last week I'm going to focus on one thing, the Castlewood Cup.

The Castlewood Cup is a 15k (9.3 miles) trail run held at a local state park, Castlewood.  I live right by the park and tend to run there on the weekends, so I knew just how tough it was going to be.  There are a some wicked hills.  Lucky me, the 3 worst hills were all included in this course.

I had signed up for this one last year knowing that it would be tough, take a lot of training, and would be just what I need to force me to go outside in the cold weather and run.

Unfortunately, I had several set backs that kept me from training like I wanted to.  I did a 10 mile race the end of November and my heel (I have a heel fracture that still gives me trouble) hurt for over a week after that.  Then I had a cold that lasted about 2 weeks in December.   Then the end of January I had an op surgery that kept me from doing anything for a week, and then once I did start to run again I had to take it easy and could only handle low mileage.   So coming up to the race..the weekend before I ran 7.1 miles on the course, but before that the most mileage I had done was almost 5 miles.  Nowhere close to the 9.3 needed.

So I was very nervous about race day and my goal was to complete the race without walking and not to be last.   One of my friends was running it with me and I knew that if I was able to stay with him for most of the race, I wouldn't be tempted to walk.

So how did I do?  I'm happy to announce that I didn't walk!  Nor did I come in last!  In fact, I was 192 out of 322 people, and I was the 45th female to finish.  Woohoo!  I completed the 15k trail run in 1 hr and 36 minutes.  This gives me an average pace of 10:32/min mile.  That's a somewhat slow mile for me, but considering the hills and the length of the course and my problems training, I'm ok with it.  I'm happy with how I did.  In fact, my last mile was mostly flat and it was 9:06/min.  I still can't believe I was going that fast, I thought I was dragging.     The race was very hard and had it been much longer I'm not sure how long I would have lasted.  It truly was a challenge for me and I feel incredibly happy with myself for doing it.  Oh..did I mention that we had a lot of rain last week and the trail was very muddy.

My husband went along and snapped some pictures.  I thought I would share, even though they aren't the most flattering pictures of me.  You've been warned.

This is roughly 2 miles into the race, I'm in black with the blue shirt.  And my friend is behind me in white.  and yes..we were talking. lol 

Towards the end of the course there was a creek crossing, which was somewhat high due to the recent rains we had.  Husband got a picture of me before I got in the creek.  There was a photographer taking pictures of everyone crossing the creek though, so I hope to get one of me in the creek soon.

This is me almost at the finish line!  I'm incredibly tired and as you can see I'm barely picking my feet up.

This is my friend and I after the race..once we had gotten something to eat and drink.  It was sooo cold..we were standing by the heat lamps and shaking. I was holding the cup with both hands because my hands were shaking uncontrollable. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Practically Green

I saw a blog post at Sprout's Green Family regarding a website called Practically Green and knew I had to try it out.  The goal of practically green is to help you become more green.  When you sign up you are asked to complete a survey that can be a bit lengthy but stick to it.  You will then be rated on how green you are.   Then you can play around on the site, with the different areas, and view ways to be more green.  You can update your green status by marking different things that you already do, add some to your list of things you plan to do, and mark others as not applying to you.  This can increase your green status.

I started out being Fairly Green.  Which actually made me a tad upset because I feel I do a pretty good job of being green. I know I'm a lot more green than most people I know.

The different areas you are graded on are broken out like so:

Water is by far my worst area.  My points are only 30.  Energy is my best at 790, Health comes in at 430, and Stuff is 460.

You can also earn badges based on the things you do.  I've earned the bronze badge in energy and stuff right away.

I decided to see how  high I could increase my score by going over the different things recommended and marking all the ones that I have already completed or already do as Done.   I found several things that just aren't applicable to me or aren't going to happen for awhile.  One example is to buy or build a LEED house or apartment.  Since we don't plan to move until we are old and gray, I marked this one as "not applicable".  Another example is the option to install a dual flush toilet.  We recently replaced two toilets with low-flow toilets but not dual flush, I'm marking that one as not applicable as well since we aren't going to replace them again.  However I did get points for having a high-efficiency toilet installed. Another example is to replace our water heater with a tankless one.  We don't plan to buy a new water heater for another year or two so I marked this one as "add to my plan" and we'll research options when the time comes.

Don't get me wrong though.  There's a ton of stuff suggested that I think is somewhat easier and cheaper.  Example, one suggestion is to turn the water off when you brush your teeth.  Done!   One of the things I believe will be pretty in-expensive is to install low-flow valves on all faucets.  I did a brief search and it looks like it would cost $6 or less to do this for each faucet.  Even better, the website Practically Green links you to a video so you can see just how easy it is to do this.  I added this one to my plan. In fact, this was something new the website taught me. I knew you could buy low-flow faucets but I never thought about seeing if I could convert my current ones to be so.  Since we have replaced all faucets (except 1) in our house, fixing the faucet is the way we will go.   Another simple and easy action is to switch to a reusable water bottle. Done!

As you can see, the steps you can take to be even more green range from being major (replace your water heater) to simple (use a reusable bottle).

I'm off to play on the website and see how high I can get my numbers and what I can add to my "plan" so I have a list of things to work on changing.  I'll be sure to do another post and let you know how I did.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

CSN Giveaway - winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered into the giveaway.

Congrats to Liz!  You have won the $30 gift code for CSN stores.  Have fun shopping!
I'll email the code to you, but if you don't receive it please contact me

Change the World Wednesday - commute

This week, if you drive, reduce your speed. Reducing your driving speed reduces the amount of fuel you burn ... and that is very Eco-friendly. So ... this week ... slow down!

Or ...

If you don't use a car for transportation, please share your alternate choice and give us practical ideas for making it work. For example, if you ride a bike or walk, please share how you manage inclement weather, shopping and getting to the other side of the city/state. Tell us about the ways in which you stay safe while riding a bike in heavy traffic or walking when there isn't a sidewalk. We'd like to know exactly how you make an Eco-friendly form of transportation work in today's world.

This weeks challenge is something that I've thought a lot about. Because I don't have much of a choice on how I get to work, I have to drive.  I can't carpool either. This bother's me though and I constantly think about it.

Unfortunately, I also speed.  Hey..when you drive mostly highway and you drive roughly 23 miles a day, the last think you want to do is mosey on home...I just want to be home..I'm ready to relax.  However I'm going to make the effort to slow down on the highway and go 60-65.

Sure..there is some public transportation in our city, but it pretty much sucks.  We do have a metrolink, but I would have to drive half-way to work before I could get to the closest station.  Then we factor in that I don't work in the safest of areas and the station I would have to get off at is under a highway and not safe at all. Then I would have to walk about a mile to work.  No thanks (not to the the lack of safety).

We do have buses that come into the area where I live, but it would take me twice as long for my commute.  When I already spend roughly 80 min a day getting to/from work, doubling that just doesn't appeal to me.

I've thought about biking to work...if I ever bought a bike.  However, my commute is roughly 23 miles, and that's highway. I'm not sure how long it would take on a bike going secondary roads. Not to mention the safety of it in the dark. It's something I've thought of though. I'm hoping to get a bike later this summer (husband has agreed to it..if I can swim 53 laps in our pool at the same time).  I think it would be nice to bike to/from work once a week.

However....I can tell you some ways I do limit car use.

Whenever one of our cars needs an oil change or work done, I will normally drop the car off and then run home (most places are within 3-4 miles of our house).  When the car is ready to be picked up, a lot of times I will run to get it.  This saves us from using another car to make 2 trips to the place.

I also carpool a lot when doing non-work activities. I live by both my sisters, my Mom, and the in-laws. If we are doing anything with any of those relatives, we carpool.   I also go out with one of my friends at least once a month and I have him pick me up, because if he's coming from his apartment, then getting to the movies or dinner would normally have him pass my subdivision..if he doesn't head right to a highway.

I also tend to do as many errands together as I can and I'll do them in a loop so I'm not backtracking and wasting gas.   I'll stop at the grocery store, library, etc on my way home from work in the evenings because I pass them.  When we go out on the weekends we try to do all the errands together to minimize gar usage.

While I can't get away from relying on my car, I do try to find ways to limit it's use.  For me, the challenge is going to be slowing my speed.   Oh..and we bought a hybrid this past November.  I'm planning to do a post about that won't say much...but at least it's something with this one. Just wanted to mention it so you can see that we do at least think about our driving and gas mileage. haha!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

***** Sticky Post - this will remain at the top until the giveaway is over, please look below for more recent posts*****

As promised, I am hosting a giveaway for a $30 gift code for CSN stores.

Here are the rules:
Anybody is eligible to enter, you can only enter once though (giveaway is showing up on both blogs but please note there is only one giveaway)

You will be responsible for any charges over $30 (including shipping if applicable).

The giveaway runs 2/11/10-2/23/10 (midnight, central time)
I will use to pick a winner on the 24th.

A couple things to know:
This code can be used to cover domestic shipping costs within the US, however please note that this code cannot cover international shipping taxes for Canadian addresses.

(The below info will also be emailed to the winner but I wanted you to know it up front as well)

1. Expires March 31, 2011.
2. Code expires after first use.
3. Entire promotional amount must be used on first purchase.
4. If the total cost of the basket exceeds the amount of money from the promotional code, you are responsible for the difference.
5. Promotional code will be applied to all items in your basket.
6. This promotional code cannot be used to purchase gift certificates on our sites.
7. This promotional code cannot be combined with any other promotional code or CSN Rewards Dollars

Monday, February 21, 2011

Get Fit Mondays - workout week of Feb. 14th - 20th

Hosted by Journey to Green
Last week was wonderful..we had such nice weather!  I went from running in my coldgear to running in capri tights and short sleeve shirts and even shorts!  

So let's see how I did this week.  

On the 14th I did an Insanity workout when I got home from work. Husband didn't think I could do the whole thing and wanted me to try it...I took that dare and completed the workout much to his surprise. Lol!   I had been worried too since I did two runs that weekend and was worried my legs would be fatigued.

I came down with a cold on Tuesday, which totally threw me into stress mode regarding the race.  Luckily the symptoms haven't been too bad and I continued to workout.

I ran on the 16th, Wednesday.  I ran after work and did 5.32 miles in 48:03.  I averaged a 9:02 min\mile.  Slower than normal..but I had a cold.  The first 3 miles were under a 9 min mile but the last two I was feeling it and they were slower.

I ran on the 19th. I actually ran 7.1 miles in 1hour 19 min. I averaged 11:11 min\mile.  I ran at Castlewood and did all the hills that will be part of the upcoming race.  The only parts I didn't do were part of the flat part.  Fingers crossed I won't have a problem doing the full 15k on race day.  This is the most miles I've done since, well, November I think. So I'm rather happy with this workout.

I ran on the 20th.  I ran at Castlewood again but didn't do any of the course for the race.  Husband wanted to see if he could run 1 mile so he went with me.  We ran the first mile together, at his pace, and then I continued and he went back to the car.  I only ran 3 miles in 30:44.  I averaged a 10:14 min/pace.  I really felt fatigued. I think I should have taken the day off after the long run yesterday.

My big race is on the 26th, fingers crossed I won't have any issues.   After the run on Saturday I'm pretty confident I can do it. I just hope this cold goes away. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Indoor clothes line

In January when I did a Change the World Wednesday post regarding laundry practices I mentioned clothes lines.   Due to my allergies I'm unable to dry clothes outside.  However, it struck me that I could hang a clothes line inside.  It took me awhile, but I finally did it!  I felt I would share how it works.

I'm lucky enough to have a laundry room on the main floor of the house (we have a ranch).  Even luckier is that there is a lot of storage in there.  On one side are open shelves and the previous owner attached gizmo's to it that allow me to hang up hangers.  They fold up so they are out of the way, and I only have them down when in use.  I use this every week when I do laundry.  It's an easy way to hang up pants and shirts that come out of the drier still a bit wet or that don't go in the dryer at all (mostly my running clothes).

However, I still wanted to hang up a clothes line so I could hang up socks, towels, etc that were still wet when coming out of the dryer.  The dryer is old, left by the previous owners, and while it does a good job it often times doesn't dry all the clothes when only one run.  I found myself running a lot of loads through twice.

I hung up two different clothes lines.  one is under the open shelving.  I liked this because it would be out of the way.  I hung up another one in front of the cabinets that hang over the washer and dryer.  I originally liked this idea but wasn't going to put it here because then it would be in the way when I tried to open a cabinet door.  However, I soon realized that I could hang the clothes line in such a way that they wouldn't always have to be hung.  This way I could have a clothes line in front of the cabinet doors, but it wouldn't always have to be there so it wouldn't cause problems.

The only thing I bought for this laundry room addition was the clothes line, it cost less than $3.  I looked in our supply of nails, etc and found some hooks.  Luckily there were 4 matching sized ones.  I then got to work. Installing both these lines took me less than 30 min.  I used a drill to drill the holes in the wall. I roughly measured but mostly just eye-balled it. It's not something that anybody is going to be paying attention to.  I then used, well, I don't remember what they are called.  They are the plastic pieces you hammer into drywall so you can then put screws in them.  So I hammered those in place.  The four hooks I had then screwed into each one of those.  I then tied the clothes line onto each hook.  That's it!  Now, I did go back and tie a washer onto one end of each of the clothes line.  This allows me to easily hook/unhook each clothes line without having to loosen the knot.

Here's a picture of the laundry room with the clothes lines and the extra gizmo's to hang up clothes.  (Just ignore the mess. lol! It's a laundry room afterall...the door is always closed)

Here's the same photo but with everything circled so you can see it better.

I've been using these clothes lines for several weeks now and I'm very happy with them.  Husband is a bit worried that I'll cause mold to grow on the wall since I'm hanging wet items next to the wall (in regards to the clothes line that's under the open shelves).  So I try to just hang stuff there that doesn't really touch the wall or that's not very wet.  I've used the one above the washer and dryer to hang up all sorts of things ranging from light socks to heavy towels.

So far I haven't used the clothes lines to hang stuff up instead of putting them in the dryer and I'm not sure I will.  However, I have not put anything through the dryer twice since installing these. I usually do roughly 4-5 loads of laundry a week and I was having to put at least 3 loads through the dryer twice.  Now I don't have to and it makes me feel better knowing I'm not wasting resources.

You might wonder why we have 4-6 loads of laundry for only two people. It seems crazy to me. I usually have roughly 2 loads of darks in the winter..thanks to jeans and sweaters and 1 load of medium colors.  That's 3 right there.  I then have a load of towels, bed sheets, and rags.  Then I have a load of running clothes, due to needing special detergent I do all the running stuff by themselves. It's a small load but I wait until I've used all the available running clothes for the weather we are having.  I then do a load of socks/undershirts roughly ever 2-3 weeks.  Sometimes I'll add this to the towel load but if I forget then I end up having to do it by itself since it gets so full.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Change the World Wednesday - Re-usable not disposable

This weeks Change the World Wednesday Challenge hosted by Reduce Footprints  isn't about recycling, but rather re-using  What we could use so we don't have to recycle or throw something away. 

Here's the info from the challenge post:
We've had a couple of tough challenges so let's switch gears and try something new. This challenge is suggested by our friend, Kris, who says, "... instead of finding new ways to use things that we would normally recycle the idea is to think about the disposable items you use and find a better solution. The idea is that it would be better for the environment and, in the long run, better for our bank accounts too. example: instead of using paper towels to clean up a spill, use a rag. Or..instead of using a paper napkin at dinner time, use a cloth napkin that can be washed and used again." So, here's the challenge:

This week, take a look at all the disposable items you use and find Eco-friendly alternatives. 

Or ...

If you've already gone from disposable to reusable, please share the changes you've made. read that right. Little ol' me suggest the challenge for this week. It's something that I didn't really think about until not too long ago. I've made some changes and I know I need to make more.  So here's a list of things that I've though of that I do.  Hopefully some of them will be new to you and hopefully you'll think of some I missed and leave a comment (or better yet..create your own blog post and link it to the official change and in my comments so I can visit and read your suggestions).

Without further we go:

1) I buy milk from Oberweis Dairy (which I've mentioned before), their milk comes in glass bottles which they would like you to return so they can reuse them.  No more dealing with plastic milk containers for me (well..except for my Husband's milk..but at least I can help out with the milk I drink).

2) Rags - I use rags to clean up spills in the kitchen, to clean with, etc.  I admit that I do still use paper towels but it's mostly to clean up when Myla has an accident in the house.  I try to use rags whenever possible.  Rags are usually cut up undershirts that Husband can no longer wear.  Keeps them from going into a landfill, keeps me from spending money on a rag/cleaning cloth.

3) Cottonballs - Instead of using cottonballs to remove eye-makeup, I made my own. I wanted a very soft fabric so I bought some. If you have a soft shirt or something similar that you can no longer wear, you could use that. I didn't have one.  I cut the fabric into squares. Some I sewed the edges, some I used a fabric glue to test, some I didn't do anything.  The sewing is nice but for me it's time consuming since I don't keep my sewing machine out.  The glue worked great but you'll have a hard edge, which doesn't bother me.  Not doing anything just means the ends fray.  I also doubled up the fabric so it was softer and more durable. I put a plastic container near my sink in the bathroom to put the dirty cloth pieces in. I put these in the wash (in a small laundry bag like you would use for stockings or bra's).  Once clean, I put them in my drawer in the bathroom and use them again.  I love not paying for cottonballs anymore and knowing that I'm not throwing away one or two cottonballs every night.  The fabric I bought either when it was on sale or with a coupon, I only got 1/4th a yard and it was only a couple dollars, roughly the cost of buying a bag of cottonballs.  I've been using these for several months now and love it.  I currently use cottonballs to remove fingernail polish (some I already had...I haven't bought more).  I plan to test using a fabric square to remove fingernail polish, not sure if it will wash off or not.  I'll have to keep you updated!  If I do go to fabric squares for fingernail polish..I plan to use a different color fabric so I don't use it for my face (even though the fingernail polish I use is free of harmful chemicals..I still wish to keep separate).  

4) Makeup brush cleaning - Up until a week ago, I used a kleenex to wipe my makeup brushes off after I used them each morning. I would re-use the kleenex several times, but was still using one.  Then I realized I could easily use something else.  I have no idea why I didn't think of this sooner.  Now I use a wash cloth. I just keep it with my makeup container so it only gets used for that purpose and I'll throw it into the laundry at the end of the week and get out a fresh one.

5) Cloth napkins - I admit that I'm currently not using cloth napkins but I plan to. I have fabric I plan to sew for this purpose, it's just a matter of getting off my lazy butt and doing it.

6) I rarely use paper plates and/or cups. I do have several packages because I got them when they were very very cheap and you just never know (although it's funny that I've never used any of them).  Since we have a pool we have my family over a couple times a summer for pool parties and I don't want to run into an issue with not having enough dishes.  As it is, I realized close to Christmas that I would run out of dishes for Christmas brunch with the family and when I was at the store I saw some plastic plates for kids.  They were pretty cheap, only $2 for 3 plates (they have dividers too!). I bought 2 sets (6 plates) because I knew I would have 6 nephews living in St. Louis by the end of this year.  They were perfect! My sisters weren't worried about the kids knocking my dishes on the floor and breaking them and I was happy not to use disposable plates.  

7) Food storage - I admit that we do use ziploc bags, but not many.  Most are used to freeze meat (and I'm open to suggestions for alternatives).  I then wash them out and re-use them. I bought some ziploc bags early summer last year when they were cheap and I have yet to even open those packages since we are still using the same ones.   Most food storage in the pantry is done with tupperware.  Husband and I store left overs in tupperware.  We also take our lunches to work every day and use tupperware.  I've had a box of sandwich bags in my pantry since before we moved into our current house, almost 4 years ago. 

8) We don't buy plastic water bottles.  Instead, I have 4 different bottles.  One is always at work for use at my desk.  One is actually specifically for running (it's attached to a strap for holding it in my hand).  The other two are used for everything else.  Here's a fun fact if you didn't know it already.  While you can't take liquids through the security checkpoint at an airport, you can take empty bottles.  When we travel I pack two empty water bottles, I leave the lids off and in an easy place to get so when I go through security there aren't any questions.  Once I pass security, I fill them up with water at a drinking fountain. Not only is it cheaper than buying bottled water at an airport, I'm not using disposable containers. 

9) Plastic Bags - I rarely use them.  I keep two reusable bags that fold up nice and small (and light!) in my purse. I use these everywhere we go.  If I'm not buying much, only a couple of items, half the time I'll carry them out of the store or put in my purse.   I always have re-usable bags for the grocery store.  I also use my produce bags from everything...from produce to bulk items like nuts and seeds (I bought some bags specifically because it's a small weave and can handle the bulk items).   I do use a plastic bag in the kitchen garbage can, but it's bio-degradable. I don't use plastic in the other trash cans, I just empty them out into the kitchen one each week.   I'm open to suggestions on what to use instead of a plastic bag in the kitchen. Right now not using a bag or a paper bag aren't an option (paper would get wet and rip....the outside trashcans we have are from the previous home owners and full of holes..not to mention the abundance of deer in the subdivision)

2/17/11 - update regarding plastic bags.  I mentioned I use my product bags for bulk bin items.  Well, I forgot to mention that I also don't use tags to mark the item.  The tags the stores provide for you to write down the bulk number aren't normally recyclable.  Instead, the bags I use have different colored tags on them.  So I take my grocery list/envelope and on the opposite side I write down the color..the item..and the bulk #.  Then I put these items last and when the cashier gets to them, I hand over my handwritten list.'s the little things like this that make me happy. 

10) (added on 02/17/11) One thing I forgot about, because I keep forgetting to do it, is bringing my own Tupperware when I go out to eat.   Most restaurants still use non-recyclable containers and it's rare for me to eat everything on my plate. So I'm always taking the food home and I cringe every time (we go out to eat usually once over a weekend).  For awhile I was really good about putting tupperware in my purse when we left the house and I would use that for anything I wanted to take home. I've been relaxed in that though, haven't remember in months.   In fact, what prompted me to remember is that a friend commented on my facebook post yesterday about this challenge and asked if I had ever done that.  Thanks to CTWW - I got somebody else thinking about it and a reminder that I needed to get better at it myself!  So...fingers crossed I remember to do this more frequently.

I'm sure a lot of you already practice some of the same things I do, but I really hope you do other things that I didn't list. I would love to know what I'm over-looking and what I could do differently.  

Oh..and as a continuation of last week. I posted all this on my facebook page too.   I was also tempted to buy some snacks from the vending machine at work, I'm craving chips, but reading the CTWW post on Reduce Footprints reminded me of the month-long challenge to not eat unhealthy snacks. So I won't be buying any. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Get Fit Monday - on a Tuesday

hosted by Journey to Green
I totally flaked on posting my workout update yesterday.  Ooops.  It wasn't anything special either.  I'm still not doing full workouts, was still taking it easy after the surgery.  I had actually pulled something or gave myself a hernia or, well, something that was really bothering me last week. Heck, it was so sore just my pants touching it was painful.   So I didn't do any cross-training, I didn't want to chance making it worse.  I did, however, go running.

I ran on Wednesday, I did 4.08 miles in 36 minutes, had an average pace of 8:49 which is close to what my normal pace was.  I was really happy about that.

I ran at Castlewood on Saturday and Sunday.  Saturday I went by myself and attempted two of the hills that are in the trial running coming up soon. I had to walk up the last part of the second major hill. I wasn't happy about that but since I haven't been working out as often as planned, there wasn't much I could do.  I was also still running on a lot of ice and snow.  I ran 4.64 miles in 49:01 minutes. My average pace was 10:33.  On Sunday I ran with a friend who is doing the trial run with me.  He hasn't run on the trails before so it was a way for me to show him the trails and to run one of the hills.  He was just getting back from vacation so we took it easy, we are both out of shape! lol!   We did 4.08 miles in 01:03:07.  Our average pace was 13:09.  This is slower than normal for me, but it was a great pace and we talked and had fun.  Yes, I said it, we had fun running.

I've been really nervous about the upcoming trail run.  I'm still having trouble with all the hills and the mileage.  The good thing is that when I was finished with the run Sunday I felt like I could have kept going, I felt like I could have easily ran several more miles.  We also ran up all the hills, although we only did one major one.  After Sunday, I'm actually feeling confident that I can do the race. I might be slow but I'm confident I can do it.  I have one more weekend to train and I plan to tackle one of the hills I have only run up twice. I think it's the longest and hardest. If I can do it, I'll feel really good.

So that's it.  I only ran 3 times Monday - Sunday.  How did  you do?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Change the World Wednesday - promote Green

This week promote "green" in a manner other than (or in addition to) writing in an Eco-friendly blog. Some suggestions might be to post green-living tips on a public bulletin board, offer to speak to a group about recycling (perhaps at a school or library), enter your green blog into a non-green blog hop, join a non-green forum where you might have the opportunity to introduce green living tips, etc. The idea, here, is to reach people who may not already be part of the "choir". Get creative and let us know what actions you are taking ... and how they work out.

I think of this one as being somewhat easy for me. I tend to talk about recycling and eating locally/organic, and being green fairly often.  Probably to the same people, much to their joy.   I didn't think I did this, but lately I've been paying attention and it's just something that seems to come up fairly often for me.  Like running. I talk about running a lot too even though I know most aren't runners. I apologize. 

I'm not much of a twitter fan, but recently started to use it to get the word out about the CTWW posts.  The good thing is that most of the followers I have aren't due to being green.  I've also started to post on my facebook page about CTWW and linking to the Reduce Footprints blog.  Most of those I'm linked to on facebook aren't because of a green effort either.

As far as those I talk to in person, some are more green than others.  I find that some people take my suggestions and actually thing about it, others don't.  Some feel they need to do more but are overwhelmed with life at the moment, but I hope that by talking to them I at least planted a seed.   

One of my friends recently started to use some cloth diapers.  I doubt I brought it up first, but I know I had mentioned my plan to use cloth when Husband and I have a kid. I know that we talked about a local store called Cotton Babies, that focuses on cloth diapering.  She brought the store up to me mentioning one was going to open soon not too far from where we live (it's actually open at this point) and thought I would be interested in it.  So we ended up having a great discussion about it and while in the back of her mind she had thought about cloth diapering, I really do think after discussing it with somebody who plans to do it and going over the pro's and cons, she made the leap.  She isn't 100% on cloth yet, the cost has kept her from being able to buy as much as she needs, but she does use them as much as possible.

I have talked to a lot of people about eating organic and I do believe I've made a few converts.  Nobody has switched 100%, heck, I haven't even switched 100%, but most have made some changes.  I know I have one person who isn't worried about eating organic, but worries about animals being treated humanly. I've talked to her several times (this week actually!) about local options where she would be better off buying meat.  Of course, I had to mention that going organic with dairy would be a good idea too since it comes from animals. 

I do know that my Mom and my sisters use re-usable bags a lot.  I think they all still use plastic, but it's not as bad.  My  Mom even carries a couple of bags in her purse now. She hasn't told me it's because of me, but I know on several occasions I showed her the ones in my bag when we were out shopping and I wiped one out to use and she always mentioned how it was a good idea.  She even got me a really cool one for Christmas. It folds up really small and is super light weight, but when you un-roll it, it's huge!  I love it!

Now, I have to admit that one of my sister's has me beet in one aspect.  Composting and growing veggies.  Her and her husband have an awesome vegetable (and fruit!) garden.  This year I'll be attempting both myself and look forward to asking her for recommendations.  Last year, she knew I had been interested in blackberries and raspberries.  She grows blackberries and needed to thin out one of her plants and had her husband bring me some.  I was able to plant both and one really really grew! I even got 3 pieces of fruit from it last year, which I picked, washed off, and popped in my mouth.  Yum.     Fun note, her husband brews his own beer and even grows some of his own supplies!  How cool is that!     Oh, and best of all, her kids are involved in this.  The oldest is 5, the middle one is 2.5, and the youngest isn't even 1 year yet.   So while the youngest one hasn't experienced the garden yet, he will.   I know that after dinner, they will go outside and pick blackberries for dessert (when in season).  I imagine they help to pick the tomatoes and other items too.  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Change the World Wednesday Month Long Challenge - #20ate

Challenge #1 - February is being chosen by snack food manufacturers as "National Snack Food Month". That means that unhealthy snacks will be unusually promoted and consumers will be encouraged to buy them. Processed foods, especially snacks, are bad for us and bad for the planet. So, let's reclaim February for the good food cause. First, visit #28ate to get the facts and then, participate by taking at least one of the actions they suggest. Come back here and tell us what actions you're taking to support healthy food.

Honestly, there is absolutely no reason to celebrate unhealthy snack food.  While it might taste good, that's the only good thing about it.  The packaging is horrible for the environment and the food itself is horrible for our bodies.  

If you know me, you could point your finger and me and say "You're one to talk." And in the past that would be accurate. I was a junk food addict. I love junk food, it tastes so freaking good. Give me chips any day of the week and you would make me a happy camper.  Cookies?  Yes please.  Chocolate?  Don't even try to sneak past me without offering me some.

Last year I made a big push to stop eating junk food.  I did pretty darn well. I used to eat chips 5 days a week, every day I worked.  I went from 5 to 0.  It was hard, but I did it.   

I'm not saying that I'm completely free of junk food, I'm not.  However I rarely buy it from the grocery store anymore.  When I do it's usually for Husband.  Lately, I've been slipping in the eating healthy area and I've been buying the chips from the vending machine at work.

That's going to stop though.

I detest the big corporations getting together and deciding they want more money and they want more people to buy their unhealthy crap, so they are going to dedicate a month to it and watch the money come in.   Guess what big corporations? You aren't getting any more of my money.   This month I swear off junk food. I will not be buying chips from the vending machine. I will not be buying chips from the grocery store.  I will be buying fresh fruit.  I will eat healthy. 

I hope you will join me.  I hope you will show your support buy also checking out the #20ate blog and read more behind this movement. 

I'll follow up at the end of the month and let you know how I did, hopefully I'll be a success!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Get Fit Monday - 2/7/2011 update

I don't have too much to update for today, seeing as how I was still taking it easy last week after my OP surgery.   I did reach a breaking point where I knew I just had to get off my butt and try something, I was going a bit nuts.  Yes, it's nice to sit around and be lazy and not work out, but I'm stressing out over the 15k trail run I have later this month.

On Wednesday, I had a snow day from work and decided to attempt a run. I put on my yaktrax and ran in the subdivision.  My plan was to go easy, go slow and take small steps so as to not bother the incision right above my leg.   My goal was to try and do 30 min of exercise.  I made it 20 min before my stomach started to hurt (I have an incision in my belly button and right above my right leg).  I ran a couple more minutes, then turned around and headed back to my house.  I ended up doing 3.04 miles in 31 min.   Unfortunately, I should have rested a couple days longer because my stomach was really sore the rest of the day and Thursday.

I had planned to try another slow, short job on Saturday but woke up to 3 inches of snow so I worked out with my husband instead.  We now have the Insanity dvd's and we did the Cardio Sports Circuit.  I had no set plan as to how long I wanted to work out, I planned to stop if I started to hurt. I made it 40 min.  I only stopped at 40 because the exercise they were doing really used your core and husband thought it best I not do it and I agreed.  The the dog threw up and I cleaned that up while Husband finished the workout, which was just over 50 min.   I was a bit achy the rest of the day, but not bad at all.

Sunday I decided to try another run.  Once again I planned to just run in the subdivision. I was tempted to run at Castlewood but felt it best to stick close to the house in case I started to hurt.  I had planned to take it nice and slow like on Wednesday and once again my goal was 30 min.   I ended up doing 4.04 miles in 35 min.  I didn't realize I was going as fast as I was! I thought for sure I was just poking along.  It was somewhat nicer out, kinda warm actually.  Warm enough that after about 18 min I ran back to the house and removed my jacket, hat and gloves.  At 20 min I wasn't showing signs of hurting, realized I was running close to my normal speed, and decided to set a goal of 4 miles.  It was tough, I wanted to stop after 3 miles but luckily was far enough from the house that it took me about .7 miles to get back to my street, at which point I decided I could handle the extra .3 to make it to 4 miles and ran past my street.

While I'm not achy today, there is one part of my stomach area that if I touch/push it, it hurts like there's a bruise there..although you can't see anything.  I only noticed it because I hit it getting dressed, otherwise I wouldn't have noticed since it doesn't hurt to move around.  So I'll take it easy the next couple of days and then we'll see what happens.   Stay tuned for an update as to what I end up doing next Monday. 


Change the World Wednesday - Give back

This past week's Change the World Wednesday was actually very hard for me.  First, there were two challenges and it's the second one that really got me.  I'm going to post about the 2nd one here, and I'll post about the other one soon.

Here's the challenge that got me:

Challenge #2 - A recent post on It's Not Easy To Be Green (you can read it HERE) talked about the dysfunctional relationship between humans and the planet. To put it briefly, humans take much more than they give in that relationship. So ... the challenge this week is to explore different ways to give back to the planet and nature ... and then take action. What we're talking about, here, is not just reducing our footprint, but rather giving back. Come up with as many ideas as possible, share them here and accomplish at least one of them this week.

I'm having the hardest time coming up with what I could do for this one. I seriously need suggestions.  

I've thought maybe I could plant a tree or some shrubs, perhaps something the deer would like but wouldn't be ruined if they ate it, but I can't exactly take action now since it's winter and the ground is covered with a couple inches of ice. But that's basically what I came up with. And it's not enough!

In fact, that's why it's taken me so long to post this, because I've been trying to come up with something.

Please do give suggestions.

I did take one action this past weekend, I bought some organic seeds to grow lettuce and tomatoes. I haven't planted them yet though. I'm still playing around with what to do.  Should I attempt to grow some completely in doors, which means I could start now.  Or should I wait a month and start the seeds indoor and then transfer them outside when the weather is right.   Either way, I'll be attempting these as a vegetable container garden.  

I'm anxious to see what others came up with and hope I can steal their ideas.  

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Early February snow storm

I'm guessing a lot of you were effected by the same snow storm that I was last week.  I ended up staying home from work on Tuesday because we were getting ice and my work was closed on Wednesday.  I had shared one photo of the sleet we were got on Tuesday but thought I would share the snow we got the following day.  Of course, since I took these photo's we got another 3 inches yesterday.  So much for the weather people telling us to expect a light dusting. lol

Poor husband did  have to go into work on Wednesday. 

In the top left you can see the 2 corners for the one step leading to the gate. That shows how deep the snow/sleet is right there.  

This would appear like we didn't get a lot of snow, because you can see how Myla's paw prints only go down an inch or so in the snow..but she's standing on several inches of ice.  Also, notice how behind Myla (towards the left) it looks like the snow goes down and there's a big hole?  That's the pool.   This past fall we bought a safety cover and had it installed across the top of the pool, making it flat/even with the concrete.  It's kinda like a trampoline where if a kid or a person would step on it, it would go down but would hold their weight so they don't fall in the pool or water.  Well, notice how low it is.  It's several feet below the edge. eek...I really hope the cover doesn't break under all the weight. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Upcoming CSN giveaway

I'm happy to be able to offer my readers another $30 giftcode for CSN stores soon. CSN is an online store with over 200+ different stores for you to shop at. They have everything from luggage stores to pet supplies to bookcases.   In fact, I've purchased from them before and got the following front door mat (which I love).

Be sure to be on the lookout for the giveaway soon!  

Oh baby it's cold outside....

But that's ok because I'm at home in my pj's.  I probably shouldn't admit to being in my pj's still, when it's noon.  Let's just forget that and pretend I'm in my yoga pants.

It's been sleeting since 5am (I know,I was awake and reading in bed).  So far we have 2" of sleet on the ground. yikes!  That's right folks, the picture above is from my front door and that's not snow on the ground.

My company wasn't called off, but luckily my boss didn't think it was worth me being in an accident trying to get to work and I was able to stay home.  No worries, I did remote into my pc and work for awhile this morning and will be checking emails for an tickets the rest of the day.

If you are stuck in this weather pattern, I hope you are all safe and warm at home! They are still anticipating my area will get 6-10" of snow today.