Sunday, September 12, 2010

Disposable world

Ok this is going to be a quick one so please forgive any misspellings.

Why has this become such a "disposable world"? At what point did we become so wealthy that we could just throw things away because we are too lazy to drive them over a church, thrift store or Goodwill? I mean really. Friday night on my way home from dinner we passed a house with BAGS and I mean BAGS of things they were just throwing away. There was at least 6 garbage bags full of clothing not to mention boxes of Tupperware and other things too. I stopped and grabbed some bags that were not damaged (or soiled yet by a neighborhood dog) and brought them home. I washed about 3 full loads of clothes. The bags contained dozens of outfits for babies, toddlers and even adults. Clothes with tons of wear left in them. I can't believe that someone would just toss them like that. Besides the fact that they will rot in a landfill somewhere, do you stop to think about how other people can benefit from the clothing? So needless to say after running them through the wash they will eventually be donated to my church to pass on to people in need.

So I challenge you, the next time your are moving, or spring cleaning or whatever the case may be, to find another home for your things, other than a trash can. There are so many places these days that will accept and welcome your donated items. If you have furniture and other non-clothing items, Habitat for Humanity's "ReStore" in Bunnell will take them with open arms. Clothing and other items can be donated to the Humane Society thrift store and Goodwill and thats only to name a few places. Almost any church will accept these items too, especially clothing to pass on to people in need. One thing that I do is just keep a box in my office and as I come across things I no longer use or need I put it in the box. When the box gets full it goes in to my car and gets dropped off somewhere. Another thing I do too is bring my old clothing to work and give them to friends who are close to my size. A lot of times after a few uses I decide that I am not crazy about the way some thing fits or looks on me, so I throw it in a bag and bring it in to work. My friends are always thankful and I always ask them that if they can't use them or don't want them just to please make sure they go to Goodwill or something of the sort.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Either stand for something or you'll fall for anything

Many people may not know this about me but I don't particularly care for conflict. That is why I love writing so much. I get to say how I feel and if someone doesn't like it, they can just stop reading. Well, the other night in the car my husband and I got in to a heated discussion. The discussion was actually about a friend of his who made a comment to me not long ago that I didn't agree with (and let it be known.) To make a long story short it was about a story I heard while watching Food Inc. about a young child who died from E. coli which was found in spinach he had eaten. There are all kinds of theories, related to the meat industry, of how veggies like spinach are suddenly being contaminated but I won't go in to that right now. The mother of the child in this story is now a food safety advocate. As a mother myself, I know that I can't do everything to protect my child. But, with that being said, I know that if God forbid something like that were to happen to me, the only thing that would give me peace would be knowing I did and would continue to do everything possible to keep this from happening to another child's family. With that being said, our heated debate was about standing for something. Basically the point I tried to get across was that I am not saying that I am right or wrong in my thinking, BUT I am doing what I believe could make a difference in my daughters future. I believe that even if I am only one person, I CAN make a difference. I can't stand the mentality of, 'well I can't make much of a difference by myself so I will turn a blind eye and pretend like the things that are happening in this world aren't really happening.' That is of course until it hits close to home and I have no choice but to recognize it. I can't be that person and I don't think anyone should. True, one person alone can't change everything but look how far we've come already.

Those who know me personally know that I don't go around all day preaching my beliefs about the environment and food safety or lack thereof. I do however talk about what I am cooking, what I am eating and what I am doing. You'd be amazed how many times I go out to eat with a group, whether it be co-workers, friends or even family and I order something "meatless" from the menu and the conversation suddenly turns to the over consumption of meat in the U.S. I can't tell you how many people have said to me that they too have wanted to cut back on their meat consumption but needed a push or maybe even some ideas on how to get started. When I walk out of that restaurant, I know that I have made a difference. I don't expect the world someday to be full of vegetarians. I do however want to encourage the people I love to make better choices for themselves and their families. To be more aware of where their food came from, how it was processed and what types of "unthinkables" it has been subjected to, like chemicals and added hormones. I do want to encourage people to cut back on their meat. Start with one meal a week, then one day a week and see where it takes you. Start exploring new options and you'll be surprised at how many tasty meat free choices there are out there. But, most importantly, share this thinking with the people around you. That, my friend, is how one person can change the world. By sharing what you believe in and standing for something.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

vegetarian 101

I found this great article in a blog that I am following called "Veggie Love Planet" which totally sums up my reasons for no longer eating meat. 

When it comes to vegetarianism, the number one question on most meat-eaters' minds is, "What do you eat?" The answer: Anything we want! There are vegetarian alternatives to almost any animal food, from soy sausages and "Fib Ribs" to Tofurky jerky and mock lobster. Vegetarian-friendly menus are sprouting up everywhere—even Burger King offers veggie burgers—and more and more eateries are focusing exclusively on vegetarian and vegan foods. There are fantastic alternatives to every dairy product you can imagine, including Soy Delicious ice cream, Silk chocolate soy milk, Tofutti cream cheese, and more.
Every year in the U.S., more than 27 billion animals are slaughtered for food. Raising Animals on factory farms is cruel and ecologically devastating. Eating Animals is bad for our health, leading directly to many diseases and illnesses, including heart attacks, strokes, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. In response to animal welfare, health, and ecological concerns, compassionate people everywhere are adopting a vegetarian diet.

For Animals

Animals on factory farms are treated like meat, milk, and egg machines. Chickens have their sensitive beaks seared off with a hot blade, and male cattle and pigs are castrated without any painkillers. All farmed chickens, turkeys, and pigs spend their brief lives in dark and crowded warehouses, many of them so cramped that they can't even turn around or spread a single wing. They are mired in their own waste, and the stench of ammonia fills the air. Animals raised for food are bred and drugged to grow as large as possible as quickly as possible—many are so heavy that they become crippled under their own weight and die within inches of their water supply.
Animals on factory farms do not see the sun or get a breath of fresh air until they are prodded and crammed onto trucks for a nightmarish ride to the slaughterhouse, often through weather extremes and always without food or water. Many die during transport, and others are too sick or weak to walk off the truck after they reach the slaughterhouse. The animals who survive this hellish ordeal are hung upside-down and their throats are slit, often while they're completely conscious. Many are still alive while they are skinned, hacked into pieces, or scalded in the defeathering tanks. By switching to a vegetarian diet, you can save more than 100 animals a year from this misery.
One suggestion: If you plan to make the transition to a vegetarian diet gradually, the most important foods to cut out of your diet first are bird flesh and eggs. While many people think that “red meat” and dairy products should be the first to go, this isn’t the case. By cutting bird flesh from your diet, you’ll save many more animals. Because chickens are so small, the average meat-eater is responsible for the deaths of many more chickens than cows. Plus, chickens and turkeys exploited by the meat and egg industries are the most abused animals commonly used for food.

For Your Health

Some of the leading killers in America today, including heart disease, cancer, obesity, and strokes, are directly linked to meat-based diets. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in America today, and it is caused by the build-up of cholesterol and saturated fat from animal products in our arteries. The only two doctors in human history who have successfully reversed heart disease have included an exclusively vegetarian diet as a part of their programs. The average vegan cholesterol level is 133 (compared to 210 for meat-eaters); there are no documented cases of heart attacks in individuals with cholesterol under 150. Other health problems tied to clogged arteries, like poor circulation and atherosclerotic strokes, can be virtually eliminated with a vegan diet.
Vegans are approximately one-ninth as likely to be obese as meat-eaters and have a cancer rate that is only 40 percent that of meat-eaters. People who consume animal products are also at increased risk for many other illnesses, including strokes, obesity, osteoporosis, arthritis, Alzheimer's, multiple allergies, diabetes, and food poisoning.

For the Environment

America's meat addiction is poisoning and depleting our potable water, arable land, and clean air. More than half of the water used in the United States today goes to animal agriculture, and since farmed animals produce 130 times more excrement than the human population, the run-off from their waste is fouling our waterways. Animal excrement emits gases, such as hydrogen sulfide and ammonia, that poison the air around farms, as well as methane and nitrous oxide, which are major contributors to global warming. Forests are being bulldozed to make more room for factory farms and feed crops to feed farmed animals, and this destruction causes soil erosion and contributes to species extinction and habitat loss. Raising animals for food also requires massive amounts of food and raw materials: Farmed animals consume 70 percent of the corn, wheat, and other grains that we grow, and one-third of all the raw materials and fossil fuels used in the U.S. go to raising animals for food. In short, our country's meat addiction is wrecking the earth.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Local vs. Organic

Local vs. Organic

Let's clear up one issue: There is no such thing as local vs. organic. When it comes to consumer choice, we should be buying local and organic, though for mostly different reasons.
Why We Should Buy Local?

Local is really important as a deep investment into your local economy and developing a relationship with the person who produces your food. Not only do local businesses generate more local income, jobs, and tax receipts, but they also tend to utilize advertizing, banks, and services in the local community. In fact, a dollar spent at a local business turns over seven times in that community; while the same dollar spent at a box store or chain only turns over 2.5 times. Buying locally builds a healthy community on many levels. (For case studies on the economic, social, and environmental impacts of buying local visit the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies). 

Why Buy Organic?

If we converted all tillable acres globally to organic practices, we could sequester up to 40% of all the world's carbon emissions. This is the single largest strategy for mitigating carbon dioxide. There is nothing more significant to help us in our crisis with climate. In the U.S. alone, it would be equivalent to taking 216,000,000 automobiles off the road, or 25% of our country's CO2 emissions. This is most hopeful news out there.

Some might recoil at the organic or even farmer's market prices that are often asked for these products, but remember when we buy organic we are paying the grower for the full price of our food. This true price reflects our power as consumers to support our farmers, who sequester our own personal carbon emission excesses, such as those from our commutes, air-conditioning, and other "necessary" purchases that have been shipped in from off-shore, with sustainable farming practices. And in the production of organic food, unlike conventional chemical agriculture, there are no long-term ecological costs that are yet to be paid for by us or by our descendants.

Buy organic always, and encourage and buy local. Doing so is a direct investment in one of our very few, possible futures.

Guest contributor Tim LaSalle is CEO of Rodale Institute, which is dedicated to researching and educating farmers and consumers about sustainable agriculture.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The benefits of garlic. Its good for more than just cooking!

Since my daughter started going to daycare about a year ago I have been blessed (not so much) with numerous colds. This is something I have always struggled with anyway since someone can walk into a room sick and I am almost definitely going to get it. I recently read about the health benefits of garlic and not long after that I got another cold. I decided to give it a shot and was pleasantly surprised."The Doctors Book of Food Remedies" by prevention magazine says "Garlic has been used throughout history for treating virtually every type of infection. Now there is increasing evidence that it can help protect against colds and the flu as well." It also goes on to say that to get the benefits of it you have to eat a lot of it. So everything I ate was covered in garlic and within a day or two I started to feel better. Before you knew it my cold was gone. My husband couldn't sleep in the same room as me (kidding) but my cold was gone.

I am one of those people who always gets worse. Very rarely do I get a cold and just get better on my own. A cold always seems to progress into an upper respiratory infection for me so to get better on my own was a breath of fresh (garlicky) air! Next time your sick, give it a shot. Remember you need lots of it.

Help others get creative...

Those of you who know me know Chloe started at a new daycare a few weeks ago. One of the things I like best about the new school is they are smaller and it is more of a family environment versus very business oriented like her old school. One of my missions is to educate others in all of the possibilities there are in being more environmentally friendly. I mentioned to Chloe's teacher and the owner of the daycare one of my passions of reusing and reducing waste. She was very open to my ideas.

I have accumulated a ton of egg cartons from friends because of my chickens and selling the eggs so I got a few craft ideas together and started working on getting some projects ready for the kids in Chloe's school. I was actually able to provide enough supplies for the entire school (39 kids) not just her class. They were thrilled about the "ready made" project and that it cost them nothing. I was thrilled to share the ideas with them and get such a great response, especially considering I was sharing my passion of "reusing" with them and they were receptive to it. I encourage you to do the same thing. Its great that we reduce our own waste and make positive changes in our own lives but what are you doing to encourage others to do the same?

My first harvest

I received my first half share harvest from Flagler Organics last week and it was awesome! I picked another basket up this week with even more great goodies in it. The half share is definitely plenty for the 3 of us and I am really getting creative now with the veggies I am getting. I am going to be making some zucchini bread this weekend and I cant wait. If you live in the Flagler County area and have not looked into Flagler Organics yet I highly recommend that you do. They have several pick up locations and days in Flagler & Volusia county area. In addition to the fruits and veggies I get in my basket they also sell bread, eggs, ghee and lots of other goodies you can buy when you pick up your basket each week.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

It's official, my mom and I are members of Flagler Organics

I am so excited that my mom and I have finally signed up for a membership with Flagler Organics. Each week I will pick up a basket with a variety of vegetables and fruits, all organic and from local farmers (within the state). If you have not looked into a buyers club or co-op in your area you really should. Here's how Flagler Organics works:

Depending on the season, each share will have a mixture of 6 or 8 vegetables and 5 or 6 fruits.

They have 3 types of memberships.
  1. Full Share Basket
  2. A share is enough food for 4 people who eat fruits and vegetables as a mainstay in their diet.
  3. Half Share Basket
  4. A half share is enough food for 2 people who eat fruits and vegetables as a mainstay in their diet.
  5. Singles Share Basket
  6. Is a little different. A Singles Share Basket has 3 to 4 vegetables and 2 to 3 fruits.
Every Tuesday your share of food will be distributed into a basket.  As a member, you pick up your basket each week and exchange the basket for another the following week. That’s it!  Share and enjoy your food with your family.

If you live in the Flagler/Volusia county area check them out at

To find a buyers club or local co-op/CSA in your area check out

Happy eating!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Taking Local Honey Gets Allergies to Buzz Off

With my fabulous (not) insurance I get through the city my regular allergy medicine (the only one that actually works) costs me $70 per month. Because of this I have explored other options. This is one that has actually helped. I do occasionally find myself needing to take an Allegra but at least my 30 day supply lasts me months now instead. Read below for some great info.

Taking Local Honey Gets Allergies to Buzz Off
By Valerie Carruthers, posted April 25th, 2010
Contributing author for Flagler Organics.

When it comes to preventing or easing seasonal allergies, local honey works far more effectively and safely than the immune-suppressing allergy drugs prescribed by doctors or sold over the counter. It also saves you lots of money. Horticulturist/author Tom Ogren ( has described local honey as being packed with pollen grains and other nutrients making it one of the most potent immune-system boosters.

How local honey works is similar to homeopathy’s concept of “like cures like.”

Allergies are caused by over-exposure to pollens found in our local plant species, such as the bottlebrush tree. Honeybees gather pollen from the bottlebrush and other local trees, shrubs and flowers that winds up in small amounts in the honey produced in this area.

Taking small amounts of local honey daily is like having ongoing allergy shots minus the discomfort or cost, say Ogren and It gradually increases your immune system’s tolerance to the pollens while decreasing the sneezing and other symptoms. [Important note: Never give local raw honey to children under the age of one. It can be highly dangerous to infants.]

For best results, take 2-3 teaspoonfuls of local honey daily, if possible beginning a few months prior to allergy season. (Highly allergic persons should start with a quarter teaspoon or less per day and slowly build up.) The more local the honey, the better it will work. Your body will then better adapt to its environment (See for more on local honey and health.)

One man's trash is another man's or woman's treasure

As many of you know one of my favorite things to do is take something that someone else no longer wants and make it new again. This was the case with an old pool deck at my in-laws old house that my brother in law and sister in law now own. The above ground pool has since been torn down but the small deck remained. The deck is pretty worn out since it is about 15 years old but there was so much potential still left in it. Sooooo they gave it to us and it is now our back deck. We did have to replace a few boards in the floor and re-brace the legs but overall we only have about $20-$30 in to it. Many of you may not know this but Lowes/Home Depot stacks up bent or damaged wood onto carts. Once the cart is full they sell the whole cart for pennies on the dollar. Because of this we were able to pick up wood for next to nothing to replace the damaged boards and build braces for the legs. We still need to put up a rail (I had sooo much fun with demolishing the old ones) and paint the deck but overall it is fully functioning right now as our deck. When all is said and done we expect to have less than $100 in to it. Now tell me where you can build a back deck for less than $100? Saving money and keeping stuff from the 2 favorite things to do!

Disposing of old medications

Unfortunately, old medication often goes straight down the toilet or the sink, but the problem is sewage wastewater treatment plants aren't equipped to filter out drugs so they wind up in our waterways.

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) studies have found pharmaceuticals present not only in waterways, but also in aquatic creatures. Minute levels have also been found in drinking water. In addition to antibiotics and steroids, over 100 different Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products as Pollutants (PPCPs) had been identified by 2007 in environmental samples and drinking water.

Not a lot is known about the environmental and human health impact of the presence of pharmaceuticals in waterways as more research is needed; but it's a disturbing situation.

How to dispose of old medication

It's important not to flush prescription drugs down the toilet or drain unless information accompanying the medication specifically states you can do so.

Probably the best first course of action is to contact your local pharmacy and ask them if they have a drug take-back program as these initiatives are becoming increasingly common. Pharmacies that do will ensure the medications are disposed of in the proper manner; usually via incineration.

Another point of contact is your local council's waste department as they may offer a drop-off facility for old medications or may be able to direct you to a service that does.

Failing all that, the general advice is to dispose of the medications in your household trash, but to take some special safety precautions by take the medications out of their original containers and placing them into another airtight container, mixed in with something undesirable - such as used kitty litter or other substances equally as unappealing. It's not ideal as the drugs can contaminate the soil when landfilled and possibly contaminate groundwater; but that's really the only other option and according to authorities; the "lesser of the evils".

While some disposal programs incinerate old medications, do not attempt to incinerate medications at home as this can be just as environmentally damaging as landfill disposal and hazardous to your health, due to the gases produced. Medicine disposal programs use special incinerators that burn at very high temperatures.

Michael Bloch
Green Living

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Support businesses that are making smart "green" choices!

From the Starbucks Website:

Join the movement. On April 15th, bring a reusable travel mug into your local Starbucks and get a free brewed coffee.
One person can save trees, together we can save forests.
For the good of the planet, Starbucks is encouraging everyone to switch from paper cups to reusable travel mugs. One day in March thousands of New Yorkers made the switch. Join them now by taking a pledge to do the same.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

David Kirby to Discuss Harm of Factory Farms at Embry-Riddle Town Hall Forum

Communications and Marketing Office
600 S. Clyde Morris Blvd.
Daytona Beach, FL 32114-3900

For more information, contact:
Phone: 386-226-6157
Fax: 386-226-6158
Contact: Mary Van Buren
Phone: 386-226-6525

David Kirby to Discuss Harm of Factory Farms at Embry-Riddle Town Hall Forum

David Kirby Daytona Beach, Fla., April 2, 2010 -- Award-winning author David Kirby will discuss his new book Animal Factory: The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy, and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment on Thursday, April 15, at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s next President’s Speaker Series event.

Kirby, a contributor to The Huffington Post, is the author of the bestselling book Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic РA Medical Controversy, which was a finalist for the New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism, and has appeared in media outlets such as Larry King, CNN, Don Imus, and Air America. His new book, Animal Factory, is a dramatic expos̩ of factory farms and the devastating impact they have on human health, the environment, and the economy.

Kirby will be interviewed from 5:30-7 p.m. before an assembled audience in the atrium of Embry-Riddle’s College of Aviation and a live call-in audience on 1150AM WNDB radio. Afterward, Kirby will sign copies of his book, which will be available for sale. Click here for a three-page summary of the information presented in Animal Factory.

Although the 90-minute forums are designed to engage Embry-Riddle students, faculty, and staff on issues of public policy, they are also free and open to the general public.

For more information, visit

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Support the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act

Most Americans strongly oppose the use of battery cages, gestation crates and veal crates to cruelly confine animals on factory farms. Unfortunately, your tax dollars are being used to support the use of all three systems. In fact, the federal government spends more than $1 billion a year on animal products for various federal programs like the National School Lunch Program. Currently, there are no federal laws in place regarding the on-farm treatment of animals exploited for these federal food programs, but new legislation introduced this spring aims to change that.

The Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act (HR 4733) would prohibit the government from purchasing any animal products from animals raised in veal crates, gestation crates and battery cages – three systems that deny animals on farms enough room to even stand up, turn around or lie down. If passed, this legislation, though modest, would affect the lives of millions of animals, and send a clear message to agribusiness that the U.S. government will no longer turn a blind eye to the inhumane treatment of animals raised for food.

You can help!

Call your federal representative and ask him or her to support HR 4733, the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act. Let them know that the on-farm treatment of the approximately 10 billion animals raised and slaughtered annually in the U.S. for food production is of paramount importance to you.

Stop the waste!

Anyone who knows me knows that one of things most important to me is reducing waste. One of the areas that I continue to struggle with is food. Now dont get me wrong. I dont throw food away since I have chickens, dogs & a compost bin that would love to have it. BUT it still frustrates me when I spend my hard earned money on food and it doesnt get eaten. Soooo I found this great website called where you actually plug in the ingredients you have and recipes come up using those ingredients. What a great way to "clean up" the food in your fridge. I love the site and highly recommend you check it out.

Top 10 uses for used coffee grounds

10. Deodorizer. Dry them out on a cookie sheet and then put them in a bowl in your refrigerator or freezer, or rub them on your hands to get rid of food prep smells.

9. Plant food. Plants such as rosebushes, azaleas, rhododendrons, evergreen and camellias that prefer acidic soils will appreciate the leftovers from your morning cup. Also, grounds can add nutrients to your compost bin.
8. Insect repellant. Sprinkle old grounds around places you don’t want ants, or on the ant piles themselves. The little buggers will move on or stay away. Used grounds are also said to repel snails and slugs.
7. Dye. By steeping grounds in hot water, you can make brown dye for fabric, paper and even Easter eggs.
6. Furniture scratch cover-up. Steep grounds and apply a bit of the liquid to furniture scratches with a Q-tip.
5. Cleaning product. As they’re slightly abrasive, grounds can be used as a scouring agent for greasy and grimy stain-resistant objects.
4. Kitty repellent. To keep kitty from using the garden as her personal powder room, sprinkle grounds mixed with orange peels around your plants.
3. Flea dip. Follow up Fido’s shampoo with a coffee ground rub down, working them down to his skin. Not only are the fleas suppose to vamoose, but puppy’s hair will feel soft too.
2. Dust inhibitor. Before you clean out the fireplace, toss wet coffee grounds over the ashes to keep the ash dust under control.
And, finally, the #1 use for used coffee grounds....drum roll here....
Cellulite reducer. Mix 1/4 cup warm, used coffee grounds and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. While standing over an old towel or newspaper, apply the mixture to your "problem areas". Next, wrap the areas with shrink wrap and leave on for several minutes. Unwind the wrap, brush loose grounds off your skin and then shower with warm water. For best results, it is recommended to repeat this procedure twice a week. A little weird to be sure, but as high priced cellulite creams have coffee in them, it just might work.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

There is a new chick in town...

Its that time of year... I have a new baby chick that one of my hens helped hatch. The unfortunate part about when chicks start sitting on eggs is that they stop laying. Fortunately I still have two hens that are laying eggs for me so I am able to get a small supply of eggs still.

I'm proud to share an award the green committee that I am on at work helped achieve....


Vancouver isn't the only city where gold awards make news. The City of Palm Coast has proudly accepted the prestigious Gold Level Designation for a Green Local Government, received for their extraordinary environmental stewardship throughout all departments and across the community. The Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC) acknowledged Palm Coast, the Mayor and City Council for not only their internal daily green operations, but also for passing local legislation that offers incentives to the public to protect the environment.

"City Council led by example and adopted the Green Development Incentive Ordinance in November, 2009 to encourage voluntary green building through innovative programs," says Denise Bevan, Senior Environmental Planner for the City of Palm Coast. "The program enhances sustainable practices within the City and recognizes participants with incentive-based initiatives, a Council vision that won points for us with the FGBC."

Additional criteria that helped the City earn the Gold designation include:

* Adopting the Land Development Code that regulates and encourages over fifty low impact development elements across the City of Palm Coast
* Increasing City recycling, with over 60% of residents putting out recyclables by the end of 2009
* Educating the community at the Arbor Day Event, Dynamic Decade Birthday event, Intracoastal Waterway Cleanup and several school field trips and assemblies for community students
* Protecting and promoting natural resources by preserving environmentally sensitive lands and building new trails and bike paths
* Acquiring green staff certifications and national awards
* Promoting water conservation by utilizing reuse water for irrigation and by educating the community in newsletters and on the website
* Continuing green standard operating procedures at all City facilities
* Implementing a battery recycling program for the entire community

Palm Coast is one of nine Florida governments to achieve an FGBC gold status and the only green local government in Northeast Florida. A member from the Florida Green Building Coalition will present the Gold award to Mayor Netts and the City Council at an upcoming Council meeting.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Don't let your coffee grounds go to waste...

Every day across America millions of pots of coffee and tea are brewed, and the millions of pounds of wet grounds, filters and bags thrown in the trash. This is wasteful and foolish.

Coffee by-products can easily be used in the garden.
* Sprinkle used grounds around plants before rain or watering, for a slow-release nitrogen.
* Add to compost piles to increase nitrogen balance. Coffee filters and tea bags break down rapidly during composting.
* Dilute with water for a gentle, fast-acting liquid fertilizer. Use about a half-pound can of wet grounds in a five-gallon bucket of water; let sit outdoors to achieve ambient temperature.
* Mix into soil for houseplants or new vegetable beds.
* Encircle the base of the plant with a coffee and eggshell barrier to repel pests.
* If you are into vermi-posting, feed a little bit to your worms

It is easy to collect coffee grounds from your office. Just put an empty coffee can next to the coffee maker. Empty once a week or as needed. Once people get wind of what you're doing, don't be surprised if others want the grounds, too! I've been doing this for well over a year now at work. People even started adding banana peels to the can and even apple cores and other food scraps. When I take it home to dump it all into my compost bin, I fill the can with water and then dump it in. This adds some moisture to my compost and helps rinse out the can too. The coffee can stays sealed so you don't smell a thing or see a thing for that matter. I even dump the left over coffee into the can.

Monday, March 22, 2010

My first "meat out"

So this year is the first year of not eating meat for me. I have been staying away from meat for the most part for the last few months. My issue is not necessarily with "eating meat" but actually with the conditions that animals are kept in for the purpose of becoming our dinner. My other issue is with the amount of meat people now eat thanks to what started as the "fast food craze". People dont realize the impact that eating meat at every meal every day, has on the environment, and our bodies. All these food recalls this year should have really clued us in. How does spinach suddenly end up with bacteria on it that is found on fecal matter? If you dont know, watch the movie "Food Inc." It really puts things into perspective. So needless to say, I am happy to report that I have officially survived my first "meat out". The organization(s) that created meatout not only ask that people not eat once a year, but give up meat just one day a week. If everyone did this, the effect would be remarkable! So I challenge you to give up meat, just one day a week. Its amazing how quickly you come with meat alternatives given the opportunity to explore. Happy eating!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Participate in Meatout

What is Meatout?

On (or around) March 20 — the first day of spring — thousands of caring people in all 50 U.S. states and two dozen other countries get active to host educational Meatout events. Activities include colorful festivals, lectures, public dinners, feed-ins, cooking demos, food samplings, leafleting, information tables and more.

The occasion is Meatout, the world's largest and oldest annual grassroots diet education campaign. Meatout 2010 is the 25th Anniversary! Every spring, thousands of caring Meatout supporters educate their communities and ask their friends, families, and neighbors to pledge to "kick the meat habit (at least for a day) and explore a wholesome, compassionate diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains."

Friday, February 19, 2010

Eggs anyone?

I am so happy to say that I am getting a basket full of eggs on a regular basis now and I LOVE it! I am able to share with friends and family but most of all I love that I have control over my food. I know what my chickens are eating and how they are being treated (spoiled rotten) and that makes me feel pretty darn good.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A fun post about my new phone

I have been in desperate need of a new phone for some time now but I hate "new" things. So for Christmas my hubby bought me Sprint's new phone called "Reclaim". It is so up my ally. It is made from 80% recyclable materials with 40% of the casing made from corn-based bio-plastic. So far I've had no problems with the phone and I feel great getting something "new" when it is made from 80% recyclable materials.

My Mission

So as I have been spending a lot of time thinking about this lately and trying to "re-ground" myself. I wondered, what exactly is it I am trying to do here. So along came my "mission statement". It really helped me define what it is that is important to me here. In later posts I will talk more about what I am already doing and plan to do to help accomplish each thing on my list. So here it is:


Monday, February 8, 2010

green update

Wow - I am really slacking on my posts these days. Life is just so busy. I just got done watching an amazing documentary that my sister bought me for my birthday called "Food INC" which I HIGHLY recommend. It was such an eye opener and really reminded me of a lot of the issues I have with the food industry. As usual it got the wheels turning in my head and I plan to make some big changes in my life.

My husbands parents raise cattle and have offered us a cow to slaughter for some time now and I think we are finally going to take advantage of it. I just have to make some room in my freezer first. Our chickens are doing fantastic and are laying daily giving me about 6 eggs a day. I also have a few roosters which I plan to move to my dinner table soon (or have my hubby do I should say). That one will be a first for me.

I continue to work with our green committee at work to reduce our waste as a City and offer better alternatives to the residents like recycling christmas trees into mulch to be used on city properties for landscaping and proper disposal of batteries, cell phones and other e-waste. My biggest accomplishment has been presenting our City manager as well as our City Council with a proposal (which was approved) that will save the City about $40,000 a year but also save a lot of paper products by eliminating paper delinquent utility notices and replacing them with an automated phone call. I am still working through the testing phase on this but it is going great and I have received a fantastic response so far. This was a very exciting journey for me and I am glad to finally be able to share it with everyone.

I continue to strive for reducing my waste, especially household and I do so by sharing my unwanted items, composting my leftover food scraps and buying only what I need and will use. I continue to reduce my meat intake and hope that others will follow in my footsteps too.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

check out my spinach

I just picked a ton of spinach from my organic garden. Spinach has by far been the easiest crop I have ever grown. It does great all year long and is basically maintenance free!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

green update...

Life is just a whirlwind of events it seems these days. So here is my update... finally

My summer garden did pretty well but I have to say my fall garden is looking amazing. I have okra by the dozens. Beautiful squash growing as we speak and many other veggies popping their heads up too like collard greens, eggplant, and lots of varieties of squash. I continue to use only chicken poop for fertilizer. I actually take the soiled hay from their chicken coop and use it as mulch between my rows in the garden. So it multi-purpose! Mulch and fertilizer. My cherry tomatoes continue to grow and my spinach has never missed a beat. I think spinach and okra may be the easiest veggies I have ever grown.

I am in the process of becoming a member of a local organic buying club called Flagler Organics. I was a part of a buying club in the past but this one seems to make more sense. You pay a set price for a full share or half share each week which gives you 15-30lbs of fruits & veggies. You dont control what exactly you get but they also provide you with recipes for many of the veggies which helps when you get something you have never prepared before. And of course they buy only organic and mostly local. I love that part.

I continue to help my parents convert to more "green" ways at their restaurants. As of now they save me all their old bread (uneaten) and instead of throwing away their unused dough my dad now bakes it into bread for me. I bring it all over to the pigs. I am still working on a couple of other things I'd like to change over there but it is a slow process... lol. I am trying to convince my parents that sometimes making the right choice actually saves you money too. I'll let you know how that goes.

My most exciting news is that we are working on getting solar panels for our water pump and sewer system. We cant do it until we build our pump house but we have priced it out and it should pay for itself pretty quickly. It will save us electricity on one of our biggest power drainers (besides the a/c) but even better we will have water even when the electricty is out. I'll keep you posted!

Thanks for reading!

support your local businesses that support you!

I went to Target the other day and found out that they now give you $ .05 for each reusable bag you use, off your total purchase. Now that may not sound like much but think about it. I average 5-6 bags per shopping trip once a week. Thats $ .30 per week and over a dollar a month. Point being Target has taken notice to something we are doing right. I am proud of them and hope that many other stores follow in their foot steps.

support your local businesses that make "smart

Saturday, July 25, 2009

green update...

Well as I sit home nursing my sick husband back to health I thought... good time to post an update. Things are going well. My garden is filled with tomatoes, peppers, spinach and green beans the size of spaghetti. My grandfather gave me the beans that have been in his family for years and he says they are called spaghetti beans.

Our chicken population is now up to 13. No one is laying yet but a few should be very soon (I sure hope). I expanded their area by adding a run which basically enclosed their existing coop. I give them access to the run area when I am outside to supervise. The area I have to be careful with my dogs as they are still very curious about them especially Raven. She torments them so I only let them out in the run area when the dogs are in the house. Cant wait to start getting some eggs. I am sure eventually I will have more eggs than I know what to do with. I got the new chickens from a lady I found on craigslist who could no longer care for them. I got a heck of a deal on them and they are a few different types of chickens so I should get a nice variety of eggs.

Cloth diapers have kind of taken a backseat these days. Chloe started day care a couple of days a week and they will not allow the cloth diapers. I still try to use them when she is home with me on the weekends though. I continue to use the cloth wipes on a regular basis. Those are great and a big cost savings.

As far as everything I just continue to do what I do and that is give new life to old things. I have collected some odds and ends from people at work like broken jewelry and puzzles with missing pieces and have made some earrings and plan to make some Christmas ornaments too. So dont be surprised if you get a handmade ornament this year for Christmas (that looks like a child made it lol).

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

green update

Ok, ok, I think its about time for a green update. I have lots to report on.

Cloth diapers:
First off I am proud to say that I am still using my cloth diapers. I think the biggest hurdles with using them is when someone else watches Chloe for me it is difficult to ask them to do something like changing cloth diapers. For me, it has not been hard. It is a passion of mine to reduce my waste. Its hard to ask someone else to do something just because its important to you. BUT I will say that my mother gets the "Best supporting mother" award. She has done a great job with the cloth diapers. We do occasionally use disposables, like when she is going over to my grandparents house and at night but overall she is mostly using cloth diapers. Here is what I have learned.
1. Cloth diapers need to be changed more often since the cloth comes in direct contact with the skin.
2. Poopy diapers are not fun but tolerable if you are well prepared. Have a towel ready to lay under the baby for those thrashing moments when poop gets every where. I was spoiled by my diposable since I would fold it over and let her poopy butt touch the outside of it. Since I will be touching the cloth diaper when I go to drop the poop in the toilet I dont exactly want poop all over it.
3. IMO disposables are easier at night. I bought extra absorbant inserts for the diapers for nighttime but they get very bulky and Chloe was not happy with me when I put them on. So what is 1 disposable diaper a day. Not much in the big scheme of life.
4. Reusable wipes are amazing. I highly recommend you trying these even if you have absolutely no desire to try cloth diapers. Basically all they are is wash cloths. You store them in the same container you would your wipes. (mine are in my wipes warmer) with a little bit of water. I add a small amount of baby wash to the water too. I had gotten some fancy recipe for a wipes wash using lavender and tea tree oil but all in all it got the be a pain mixing it up every time. I find water and baby wash work just fine. Just squeeze them out and use. Its great. I do keep disposables for traveling though.
5. Cloth diapers do tend to give baby the J-Lo look so be prepared for a booty that may not fit in every thing her size.
6 Oh yah, one last thing. sprinkle a little bit of baking soda in the storage container of dirty diapers and do not put the dirty diapers in a sealed container. They need to breathe. I also found that they smell much much less if I do not put them in a laundry bag. I actually just use a trash can and wash it out every time. Strangely enough the smell seemed stronger when I put it in the laundry bag that came with the package I bought.
So bottom line is (no pun intended) I am very happy with the cloth diapers. I dont have leakage problems (during the day) and Chloe seems very comfortable in them. 2 THUMBS UP!!

My Garden:
Its doing great. All organic. I have 27 tomatoe plants (if this surprises you, you dontk now my grandfather), corn, squash, watermelon, honeydew, peppers, carrots, mesclun & green beans. I use only chicken poop (yes I said poop) as fertilizer.

I have some new things going on right now that I am very excited about. One is that I am trying my hand in some jewelry making. Earrings is what I am interested in. Most of you know that I love my funky earrings. Well I plan to make some using all recycled materials. I dont want to divulge too much since this may be a flop. I promise to share pictures (if they are not an embarrasment).

Lastly, I have started making my own dog food. I was watching an episode of my favorite show WASTED on planet green and got the idea. I heard that it was cheaper but also there have been so many recalls on pet foods it puts me in more control of my food. As you all know I rescue dogs (sometimes they rescue me) and my tally is now up to 6 with the recent addition of my dog Roxy. So saving money on dog food was definitely appealing. We calculated that we were spending approximately 125.00 per month on dog food. I estimate that making my own food is going to cost us half of that. I'll know more by the end of the month and I promise to share!

Thanks for reading!!!

cost of painting my living room....

10 hours labor (mine) to paint the living room, hall way & breakfast nook - FREE

Moving furniture and sweeping up the scary stuff living behind the couch - BACKACHE

5 gallons of bear paint from a sealed bucket bought at the Habitat for Humanity Store - $15.00

Feeling great about only spending $15.00 and saving something from a landfill - PRICELESS!

My chickies....

I chuckle when I look at this picture now because these chicks looking nothing like this anymore. They almost 4 months now. I lost my 2 hens a couple of months ago. One to natural causes one to not so natural causes. So now I have my full grown rooster and my two baby chicks that my momma hen hatched. It was pretty amazing. I am sad that I lost my two hens but these three seem to be getting along great. Only problem is, one of the chicks is a boy. I am working on a plan. I am looking for more hens. Basically right now I am feeding three mouths and getting nothing in return. LOL.

first harvest`

Wow have I been slacking on my blog... its because I have been so darned busy. I took this picture probably a month and a half ago. This was the first of my mesclun mix of spinach, arugula and some various lettuces. If you could see it now!! Thank God it survived the heavy rains.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

let the challenge begin....

Let me start off by telling you what a fantastic time I had today at the Green Expo in Jacksonville. As many of you may remember when I first started this blog I mentioned my desire to switch to cloth diapers. I have not done so to date because I had yet to meet anyone using them and I had so many questions. Well there was a company there today called Baby Blessing Natural Products ( and the young lady there was such a wealth of information. She told me everything I needed to know. Well ladies and gentleman I am so happy to report that later this week (when the shipment comes in) I will be the proud owner of cloth diapers. I ordered a package for a very reasonable price and received 15 cloth diapers, inserts, reusable bag for the diaper champ, reusable wash cloths (to replace the baby wipes), among other things as well. They also gave me free shipping. I went ahead and bought a bathing suit/diaper as well. I should receive everything later this week and cannot wait to tell you about how it goes. Below are a few reasons I have chosen to switch to cloth diapers.


Do you have any guess as to how long disposable diapers last in the landfill? Estimates range between 100 and 500 years per diaper, so each diaper you put into the landfill is a diaper that future generations will have to deal with in time. Disposable diapers are the third largest source of waste, behind only paper products and food packaging. That’s amazing, considering disposable diapers are one type of product and there are millions of types of paper and food packages. Besides the waste they produce, also consider that the paper, plastic, and chemicals used in those diapers has to go through the manufacturing process, wasting energy again and again, 18 billion times per year.

Besides the obvious health implication of minimizing diaper rash your baby will not be exposed to the chemicals present in disposable diapers when they use cloth. Disposable diapers contain both dioxin, a byproduct of the paper manufacturing process, and sodium polyacrylate, the chemical that turns urine into a jelly-like substance. Dioxins have been linked with cancer, birth defects, liver damage, and skin diseases. Long-term effects of the exposure of babies’ reproductive organs to these chemicals 24 hours a day for two to three years has not been determined. In addition, cloth diapers are made from breathable materials, permitting air to circulate to the skin while letting out ammonia, the byproduct of urine breakdown.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

green update...

Wow! I can't believe it has been so long since I have posted. I have to say life these days is insane. But dont think for a minute I have stopped caring about the environment. Actually I find myself more passionate about it than ever.

I continue to bring leftovers from my parents restaurant to the pigs and now Marina, our cook and my friend is even saving veggie scraps and bread for my chickens. My chickens are doing great. I have a possible 6 baby chicks on the way that if my calculations are correct should start hatching this weekend. This should be interesting. I continue to collect fresh eggs daily from my other hen which is fantastic. With the new additions on the way I plant to close off a "run" for them. I have some left over wood fence panels that I plan to use for this. This will give them some access to the yard at my leisure without me having to worry about the dogs staying in the house.

Speaking of dogs, most of you know that one of my loves is for animals. I have rescued a total of 6 dogs, 5 still living from various situations. Well that total is now 7 (6 living) as we have a new addition to the family. She is a very sweet dog, boxer mix, who was found in very bad shape when we got her. She had mange and was very sick. The wonderful woman who found her took her to the vet and got her on the way to recovery but then brought her to the humane society because she travels for work and could not keep a dog. The humane society called the next day to tell her she would be put down. The woman went back to get her and needless to say she is now mine. I started out as just a foster home for her but Roxy and Chloe are BFF's and I couldnt stand to tear them apart. She is probably the sweetest dog I have ever had. She is very calm and loving. She has finally put some weight on and you'd never know she had mange. It was hard keeping her separate from everyone while she recovered but now you'd think she's been with us forever. We think she is close to a year old. I promise to post pics soon.

As many of you may know I am on the green committee at work. I have been working to help eliminate all styrofoam cups and plastic plates and utensils. I brought in a bunch of old plates and stuff from my parents restaurant. We are also running a dishwasher at work once a day instead of everyone hand washing their own items. Now keep in mind I work at the Utility dept so there are a couple hundred people coming and going so this is no easy job. But I have to say all is going great. I am also helping to turn scrap paper into small scratch pads.

My biggest accomplishment this month is planting my garden. It is about 20 x 20. It cost me nothing. I had the fence left over and actually used up the last of what I had. The top soil came from a great friend of Rob's who owns a landclearing dump and screens the debris that gets dropped off. So far I have planted peppers, mesclun salad mix, carrots, honeydew and I have tomatoes. I still have tons of room but my aching back said I had to stop. I cant wait to see my veggies grow. I am using no chemicals on my garden. I use my chicken poop as fertilizer. As a matter of fact I have started creating my own concoction I like to call "Poop Water". I disolve chicken poop in a gallon of water and have been watering all my plants with it and they LOVE it! Its been great. I will try to post a picture of my garden very soon.

Hope all is well!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

My new years resolution...

So I have been thinking... I want to try and buy nothing new this year. So much goes to waste every year. Think about how many things you have laying around your house that never get used. I have slowly been thinning my "junk" out and donating to the Humane Society Thrift Store (which I shop at weekly!) and at the same time have been picking up things I actually need. So my resolution is this. I want to buy everything used this year. Clothes, toys, furniture etc... The exceptions to this will be food, gifts and home/car repairs. I buy mostly used as it is but I want to really challenge myself. We'll see how it goes. I'll let you know.

In the meantime, the chickens are doing great. They lay about every other day so I am not sure if that is going to be their schedule or if they are still adjusting.

My compost bin is doing great too. I am saving coffee grounds and my banana peels from work and of course putting my chicken poop in there too. Oh yah, and I am so excited, I found a rototiller for $10 on craigs list. It is a 4 hp and is self propelled. I am really getting close to planting this garden!! Thanks for reading.

Monday, February 16, 2009


I have been planning on building my own compost bin for some time now but with the recent addition of chickens to our "Williams Family Farm" I figured it was time I got off my rearend. I actually found this one at Sam's by accident for just $40.00. It is great. It is made of 100% recycled material, has a locking lid, is very easy to put together and has 2 sliding door panels on the bottom (2 sides). It lets small amounts of rain in and vents. I was able to set it up just outside the coop so when I clean it up that is where it will the chicken droppings will be going. Then eventually it will find its way to my vegetable plants. I am very excited! 2 exciting additions to my "green venture" in 1 weekend... I can barely contain myself. LOL
We've got chickens!!! We picked them up late Saturday. We have 2 hens and a rooster but are getting another hen. We actually had not planned on getting a rooster but this guy would not leave the girls side. Not to mention you all know how much I love roosters so I fell in love with him and couldnt let him go. They are transitioning quite well considering I had 2 eggs already this morning. It was pretty exciting. I heard the rooster crowing this morning while I was getting ready for work so I went outside, 5:30 in the morning in the pitch dark with a flashlight just to check. Did I mention that the coop is on the far side of the property?? LOL it was a great feeling to see my first egg laying there. I have been feeding them tons of scraps. I was bringing the scraps to the pigs before so they were not going to waste but it feels even better to feed them to MY chickens now.

Monday, February 2, 2009

share your leftover paint

How many times have you painted a room in your home and had paint leftover that was destined to sit in your garage for years until one day your husband finally cleans the garage and it ends up in the trash, wasted? My brother painted his living room this past month and had a can left over. I loved the color so he generously passed it along to me. I expected to have to buy a small can if needed but didnt even have to. Not only did I save money by not having to spend it on paint but I saved a can of paint from being destined to a life in a landfill. I also noticed that our local Habitat for Humanity store accepts used paint. So think about it. If you have paint left over maybe a friend can use it. Even if it doesnt do an entire room it may be used for an accent wall. If they really like the color they can always purchase additional cans of the same color. Either way it saves money. 1 can did my entire dining room. I still have a little touch up I need to do but I have a little bit left plus my brother has another half of a can at his house that we can share for touch ups. I am really pleased with how it came out. I still have to finish the trim around the windows and doors but still it will be very little cost now to buy a small can of white paint versus what I would have spent.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

DIY Household cleaners

One of the things I have been trying hard to do is to use less chemical based products, especially around the house. I have found some great DIY household cleaner recipes I'd like to share. Let me know what you think.

EIGHT ESSENTIALSThese eight items make up the basic ingredients for nearly every do-it-yourself cleaning recipe.

Baking soda: provides grit for scrubbing and reacts with water, vinegar or lemon by fizzing, which speeds up cleaning times
Borax: disinfects, bleaches and deodorizes; very handy in laundry mixes
Distilled white vinegar: disinfects and breaks up dirt; choose white vinegar over apple cider or red vinegars, as these might stain surfaces
Hydrogen Peroxide: disinfects and bleaches
Lemons: cut grease; bottled lemon juice also works well, although you might need to use bit more to get the same results
Olive oil: picks up dirt and polishes wood; cheaper grades work well
Vegetable based (liquid castile) soap: non-petroleum all-purpose cleaners
Washing soda: stain remover, general cleaner, helps unblock pipes; should be handled with gloves due to its caustic nature. Washing soda is usually found in the laundry aisle of grocery and drug stores.
Don't forget to pick up an empty spray bottle at the hardware store, and keep those old rags and used toothbrushes for wiping up and scrubbing.

All-Purpose Cleaner
1/2 cup borax1 gallon hot water
Mix in pail (or use smaller amounts in a spray bottle: 1/8 cup borax to 1 quart of hot water) dissolving the borax completely; wipe clean with rag.


1/4 cup white vinegar1 gallon warm water

1 cup white vinegar2 gallons warm water
Mix in mop bucket, rinse afterwards.

Furniture Polish
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
Mix and apply with a clean rag to dust and polish. Reduce the olive oil if wood looks too oily.

Metal Polish
Copper and Brass
2 Tbsps salt
White vinegar
Add vinegar to salt until you've created a paste. Adding flour will reduce abrasiveness. Apply with a rag and rub clean.

Stainless Steel
Baking soda
White vinegar
Apply baking soda with a damp cloth, using the vinegar to eliminate spots.


Toilet Bowl
Baking soda
White vinegar
To clean and deodorize, sprinkle toilet bowl with baking soda, add white vinegar and scrub with a toilet brush.

Tub and Tile
1/2 lemon
Dip the face of the lemon half in borax to create a hand-held scrubber for dirty areas. Rinse and dry the surface afterwards.


Marble: Mix one Tbsp castile soap with a quart of warm water, rinse well, then dry with a warm cloth.
Other surfaces: half a lemon and dip the face in baking soda to scrub off residues. Follow up by spraying with glass cleaner mix (below).

1 cup baking soda
1 cup vinegar
Add baking soda and vinegar to a pot of boiled water and pour down the drain, then flush with tap water. For more stubborn clogs, use a "snake" plumbing tool to manually remove blockage, or try suction removal with a plunger. To prevent clogs, install inexpensive mesh screen, available at home improvement and hardware stores.

1/4 cup vinegar or 1 Tbsp lemon juice
2+ cups water
Fill a clean spray bottle with water and either white vinegar or lemon juice; wipe with a rag or old newspaper.

Baking soda
Sprinkle baking soda on surfaces, spray water, then let soak several hours or overnight. Rinse with water.

Stovetop and Oven Grease Remover
1/2 tsp washing soda
1/4 tsp liquid soap
2 cups hot water
Add washing soda and soap to hot water in spray bottle. Since washing soda is caustic, wear gloves.

Bleach alternative
1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide

Monday, January 19, 2009

How much trash do you produce?

Do YOU generate 21 bags of trash a month?The average American does - and one study found that a staggering 75% of things in landfills could have been recycled. All that garbage produces toxic emissions and worsens pollution. One of the things I do to reduce my trash is I buy in bulk and package using reusable containers. For example I bring my own lunch to work every day. I shop at Sam's and buy large containers of grapes, cherry tomatoes and snap peas. I use snack sized zip lock bags and split up my fruit and veggies so that I can just grab and go in the morning. I also reuse the zip lock bags. I wash them out and hang them to dry over my sink. They dont get very dirty. I also reused a plastic container that my salad mix comes in and put the bags inside so that they stay organized in my fridge. It works out great.

I read an article one time about how much "convenience" costs us. For instance buying bagged spinach versus fresh spinach. The results were amazing. The next time I went to the grocery store I took the time to price things out and I saw with my very own eyes how much money I was wasting. Besides wasting money its amazing how much fresher things are when they are not prepackaged. Sam's has amazingly fresh fruits and veggies so it makes it easy to buy in bulk there.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Check out my window trim... all from a job site left over

For those of you who dont know, my grandfather was green when green wasnt even cool. Of course he is green for different reasons than me. He is green for the green in his pockets! LOL. Now dont get me wrong. I love saving money but I also love saving waste. You have probably read in many of my blogs about things that my grandfather has given me or found. Well years ago he found tons of left over trim. Truthfully I cant remember where it came from but my husband tells me got it from a dumpster at a job site. This would not surprise me. Needless to say after years of me complaining about how ugly our window trim is (joys of a mobile home) I dug through my closet where the trim was being stored and paired up all the "like" pieces. Come to find out that I actually had quite a bit. It isnt all identical so I have to make sure I use the same ones within the same room so they dont look "ghetto or redneck" depending on where your from! LOL. Tonight Rob and I started the project and replaced the window trim in our dining room. I am so excited about the results. Now keep in mind that I will be painting it obviously but the picture gives you a rough idea. For those of you who are not home improvement savy the white blotches are liquid nail/silicone to fill in gaps. Let me know what you think. We actually had just 1 tiny piece of this trim left over when all was said and done. We almost thought we were going to run out but we stretched it. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Mission Accomplished. We have a chicken coop!

Woo hoo. I am so proud of myself for getting this done this weekend. But most of all I am proud of the fact that we reused material to build it. All in all we only spent $30. This included about 25.00 for 2 sheets of plywood (one for the roof and the other for the back hatch) and hinges and a latch. Thats it. Everything else was reused from leftovers (other projects) or things we have picked up or accumulated over the years. I even already had the hay from our halloween party. Now all we need are the hens. I visited Lory (Pig Tales) this past week and she is in need of an electric fence to keep the wild pigs out to avoid more babies this year. Well I just happen to have one that we no longer need so I plan to trade her for some hens. So all in all this turned out to be a great project. I cant wait to get my chickens and start collecting eggs. Checkout my pictures!

Let me know what you think.

P.s. no making fun of my boots.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

I challenge you... stop using those paper towels

Ok, I'll admit it. I used to be a paper towel addict. There I admitted it. I challenge you to face it too. Are you one? A lot of my reasoning behind it is that I was once at someone's house, who did not like to use paper towels, only hand towels, and it stunk. The towel I mean. I mean it was gross. So me being me, I was grossed out and became the paper towel addict that I once was. Suddenly one day I realized it. What was I thinking? Now I am in recovery and can honestly say I go through only about a roll a month. I do still keep them around because I do believe for sanitary reasons they are sometimes necessary. So here is what I do. I keep 3 towels handy at the sink. One for washing for dishes (get rid of those sponges. They are germ factories.), one for wiping down counter tops & the table with and last I have one strictly for drying my hands. Every day or two I toss these towels in with my others to be washed. This keeps them fresh (and non-stinky) but keeps paper towels from going to waste. Not only am I saving trees and preventing waste but hello I am saving money. Lets face it I am washing towels anyway so what is a couple more towels each load going to to do? As for the sponge thing this is pretty new to me although Rob said he always grew up this way. Sponges are dirty little demons and wasteful. With a cloth (small cloth, larger ones get clumsy) you get the same effect but can wash the towel regularly instead of throwing away the sponge. I do still keep a sponge handy because sometimes I need the extra scrubbing power but I find if I at least rinse off the food right away I dont need to scrub so much. I do not use my dish washer because my well water is pretty rough and I found myself re-washing dishes all the time (wasteful!). So here it is. I challenge you to replace your regular usage of paper towels with that of a hand towel. Remember to keep the hand towel somewhere it will be specifically designated as the "hand towel" Only clean hands should be touching it. I hung a small rack above my sink for mine. It works out great. Let me know how you do!

exciting update about Pig Tales Sanctuary!!

Abrupt twist in the tale: Woman gets her pigs back


BUNNELL -- The battle between the Flagler Humane Society and Lory Yazurlo over a herd of swine has ended.

The estimated 450 pigs that live at Pig Tales Sanctuary are now back in Yazurlo's custody after more than a month under the care of the humane society.

But the sanctuary founded by Yazurlo in 1995 will no longer operate as it once did, and Yazurlo still faces charges related to the seizure of her animals.

In a phone interview Monday, Flagler Humane Society director Donna Howard said she decided to return the pigs to Yazurlo after it became clear that the only way to remove the pigs from the sanctuary would be to euthanize them.

Howard said she couldn't let that happen.

So the two sides have agreed to "a happy medium," Howard said.

To keep the pigs, Yazurlo must abide by a list of rules that include refraining from taking in any more pigs or adopting them out, neutering all males and tagging the herd, Howard said.

In turn, the humane society will continue to pay for feed one day a week until March and inspect the 20-acre sanctuary on a weekly basis.

Then, the inspection will take place monthly and later be reduced to twice a year, Howard said.

Howard admitted she has reservations about giving up the pigs to Yazurlo. But the plan, coupled with assurances by Yazurlo's attorney that Yazurlo is capable of caring for the animals, has smoothed over those concerns, Howard said.

But if the deal doesn't work out, the humane society will step in and again take control of the pigs, Howard said.

In the meantime, Howard said she and her staff will "play big brother."

"We're going to keep an eye on them," she said. "Hopefully, this will turn out to be a good thing for the pigs."

Reached by phone Monday, Yazurlo said she's satisfied with the arrangement, including the no-pigs-in-or-out rule.

"Pretty much nothing has come or gone in five years," she said.

The inspections are no bother either, she said.

"I've always let them on my property," she said. "I had no problem with them."

The humane society took control of Pig Tales in November after officials discovered many of the pigs were "emaciated and malnourished" and suffering from illnesses, according to reports filed with the Flagler County Sheriff's Office.

Nine pigs were killed with single gunshots to the head during that visit after a veterinarian recommended it because of "their extreme suffering," the reports state.

Another pig in a deteriorated state was euthanized -- not shot -- by the vet the week after the initial visit.

The scene at Pig Tales prompted humane society officials to file complaints of animal cruelty and unlawful confinement of animals against Lory Yazurlo. Those complaints have been referred to the State Attorney's Office. No additional pigs have been killed.

About five pigs recently tested positive for pseudorabies, a contagious viral disease that causes a high mortality rate among infant pigs.

The sanctuary remains under a state-imposed quarantine order after some of the pigs tested positive for the disease in 2003. The state's refusal to lift the quarantine order made removing the pigs from the sanctuary impossible, Howard said.

"Once they told us the pigs couldn't leave the property, there wasn't much we could do," she said.

And the $3,000 weekly bill for the pigs' feed has become a financial burden the humane society could no longer support, she said.

The decision to work with Yazurlo is what's best for the pigs, Howard said.

Yazurlo, however, still faces charges. An arraignment is scheduled for Jan. 6, State Attorney's Office spokeswoman Linda Pruitt said.

Howard said the charges were filed to allow the Humane Society of the United States to offer monetary support to the Flagler organization.

But the HSUS is no longer in the picture and the charges aren't necessary, she said.

"She didn't intend to starve the animals," Howard said. "We're going to work with the courts and tell the judge 'listen, this is where we're at . . .' "

Yazurlo said she's not worried about the case.

"I think I'll be fine," she said.

Here's How to Help

If you would like to help, contact:

· Bunnell Feed & Supply, 386-437-2032

· Curley's Place, 386-586-1180

· Charlene Yazurlo, 439-4583 or e-mail at

Monday, December 29, 2008

check out the beginnings of my chicken coop

I was going to wait to upload a picture but I couldnt stand it anymore. Yesterday Rob and I finally found some time to start on my chicken coop. I hope to have chickens by the end of January. I am so proud to say that everything so far has been re-used. We have not spent a dime. The fence posts were left over from 5 years ago when we moved here and fenced in our backyard. I was using them as landscape timbers in the meantime. Suprisingly they were still in perfect condition. The wood for the supports was left overs from a job sight that Rob's brother gave us. The fence (it is not on yet) that we are going to us is also left over from 5 years ago. We are going to have to buy 1 sheet of plywood for the roof but it doesnt look like we will have to buy anything else. All in all it looks like it will only cost us about $10.00. I am going to build the gate myself with 2x4 and fencing. We already have hinges from a couple of rotten gates my grandfather gave me years ago and for the back hatch of the coop (So I can collect eggs without going inside) we are going to make using left over board on board fence panels my grandfather gave us years ago. An old neighbor was getting rid of them and he paid $20.00 for 8 panels. We used 3 of them already when we built our dog house. I am so excited. We hope to work on it some more this weekend. It will be a few months before we have eggs but it will be nice to have our own supply. I will post more pictures soon once we do more work.

find a new use for that shredded paper

If your like me you shred every bill or piece of mail that comes in with your personal info on it. Be sure and separate anything that does not have your info on it (insert, envelope etc...) and put that stuff in your recycle bin. Once your shredder fills up the shredded paper is a great alternative for bedding for rabbits, guinea pigs, gerbils & mice. I had a guinea pig and a rabbit and did this all the time. You'll want to make sure you avoid shredding credit cards or CD's or at least pull them out. If you dont have a small pet ask around your neighborhood or childs classroom. You'd be surprised at how thankful the parent will be to be able to save money on the bedding. The paper, once wet, tends to clump together which actually makes it easier to clean the tray out. Also those toilet paper tubes are great for gerbils and other small rodents. They love to chew on them.

avoid wasting paper... use E-vites instead

This is something I have done for years. Go to for electronic invitations. It works great. Guests can rsvp online and it even sends a reminder out 2 days before your party. You can include directions and even a food list if you are asking your guests to bring a dish. Best of all it is free. I love doing this. Of course if you have a few people who do not use e-mail you will need to send paper invitations but still think of all the paper you have saved!

Friday, December 19, 2008

be creative with your Christmas gifts...

I have to share this. My wonderful secret santa (thanks Michelle) at work, wrapped my Christmas gifts to cleverly for me. First off my bag was a reusable grocery bag. Then inside each of my gifts, instead of tissue paper, were wrapped with beautiful Rooster kitchen hand towels. I loved it. She also shared with me that most of the little gifts she left on my desk these past weeks leading up to the big exchange today, were purchased at area thrift stores. Now if you know me, you know how much I love buying used versus new. I have to say Michelle knows me pretty well. Just thought I would share this unique idea with you all.