Monday, August 24, 2009

Kwyta Recycled Chopstick Art

Chopstick Art by Bryan Parks.
He had a simple idea, collect used chopsticks, sanitize them, and use them to make high quality accents for any one's home. Billions of chopsticks are used each year and 25 million tree's were cut down in the process. This was a opportunity for Bryan.
From wonderful lamps (pictured above), to a plastic bag dryer, and even folding baskets. They have many great products made from wonderful bamboo chopsticks. I have my eye on the plastic bag dryer. I keep, wash and reuse any ziplock type bag that comes my way and this would be perfect. I would SOOOO love it!
Prices range from $9.00-$42.00 so they are pretty budget friendly and would be a wonderful gift for anyone. Just think about it. You are supporting a local company, recycling, and giving gifts all at once.
Shark Tank on ABC didn't know what they let through their fingers. I think we need to support more green companies. This will help keep billions of chopsticks out of the landfills, support for a local business, and inspire so many people to rethink and reuse everyday items. I'm still in shock that those sharks said no. I do believe money is important but I also very strongly believe that we need to support and inspire green companies as well. Somehow we need to meet in the middle.
I don't believe I could of said it any better. Read for yourself.

Our Recycled Products

It is important for everybody to do what they can to help our suffering planet. Recycling and buying recycled products is a good start. Our products are made from some of the billions of single use chopsticks that are discarded every year. Using discarded disposable chopsticks is just one example of making recycled products from a resource that would otherwise be waste. Please read more about us, and the impact that disposable chopsticks are having on the environment.

So a message from me to Bryan. "You inspire me." Keep up the good work!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

This is why I garden

Each day I look forward to getting dressed and wandering into the garden to water it. Mostly because my children are inside eating breakfast and I get time for myself to relax and listen to the birds. I find it therapeutic. I feel very lucky that I have a place to grow my own produce. Lucky that I can grow food for my family that's healthy and I know exactly where its been and what has not been put on them. No sprays...No nothing. Just good old organic soil. This is what today's pickings bring us. Some super yummy tomato's, 2 small cantaloupes (testers),
some crazy cauliflower, last bit of green beans and small broccoli heads. Pretty good for one day.

What do you know, they actually grew!!! We have cantaloupe. Very very small ones but hey, the grew!!! As you can see by the picture, they are the size of a large orange. My girls say they are very mild in taste compared to store bought ones. They prefer these over the store bought ones which makes me happy. I cannot complain one bit. Tried them out and they turned out great. Definitely will be growing them from now on. My plant has several more growing so maybe they will get larger. I'm just excited they grew and we were able toe at them. Ive heard several people say they don't ripen up and they gave up on them. Yahoo! I'm excited . (pat on back).

So, have I encouraged you to start your own garden yet? You can start one super easy and cheap. My mother uses 2 tires stacked on each other and filled with super rich soil. I use small containers for my beans at the end of my large raised bed. This way I can move them around if needed. Even someone living on a apartment can have a small garden. Maybe you know someone who has property near you? Ask if you can grow food in their yard and split the profits from it. Garden of free food that they don't have to lift a finger? I'm in! Find a local neighborhood garden, or maybe just a produce stand. Take the first step by doing research and talking to friends and family. Someone somewhere knows something.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Green Review Depth


From hair products, lotions, body wash to even bars of soap. These guys have everything you need to keep your skin and hair healthy. I just love the whole concept of this company. Just read and maybe you will fall in love with them too.

-The shape of the bottle is inspired by a blade of giant kelp.
-Whole Foods premium product-only the purest allowed
-Bottles are 50% recycled from water bottles
-Code 1 & 2 which means it can be recycled more easily
-70% organic
-Paraben free
-100% Vegetarian
-No animal testing
-SLS free
-Blended marine botanicals

My review: HAIR PRODUCTS-I have colored hair and was very skeptical about how my hair would feel after I washed it with this product. Its hard to find a product that will do what it says it will do. First of all I love the smell of these products. They are light and wonderful. Shampoo was so nice and soft and lathered up very nice. The conditioner smelled really nice as well. My sample was very small so I was worried about it being enough. I have very long hair and it takes a bit to condition my hair. Not this time! I used very little and it was enough. I let set for about 1 minute then rinsed. I was able to comb my wet hair with no problems and that in itself is a task. Best thing about this hair product was how my hair felt once dried. My hair feels like it did before I colored it. It is so soft and silky. Not oily at all and my hair felt very light. I am now switching to this stuff. I am still in shock and keep feeling my hair.

Bonus:Their samples are put in 100% recycled paper compartments.

LOTION-After I showered I applied the lotion. It was soft smelling and just the right thickness. I applied it pretty easy and quickly. It made my skin so soft and wonderful smelling. No oily skin afterwards, and my skin didn't feel heavy. I still feel wonderful a day later. My skin feels so amazing and soft. Again I am switching to this product.

Would I recommend these products to you? Yes! Would I recommend this product for your family? Big yes! I forgot to mention the best part of this product. You can find them at any Whole Foods so they can easily be found.

For more information

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ways to be earth friendly at school time

I am so proud of my children. We recently went school supplies shopping at our local Target store with a huge list in hand. I was not looking forward to this at all because I thought it was going to be super expensive and really didn't have a big budget for it. But to my surprise, it was very little out of my pocket. Why you ask? Instead of going and buying each item on the list, we went through our craft cabinet and found things we already had. Each year the teachers send home with the kids all that stuff they didn't use or still can be used. Pink erasers, rulers, colored pencils, pencil box's, etc. After we did that, we quickly realized that they only needed a handful of things. Yipee!!!But back to the proud of my children thing. We started browsing the store and looking for those few things we did not have and my children started looking at the Eco friendly selection. Instead of getting the "oh so cool" colored plastic items, they wanted the Eco friendly options. Recycled pencils, binders, etc. I am so proud of my children taking it upon themselves to be earth friendly. This means that all those words Ive thrown out over their little lives have actually sunk in. They do listen!!!
We decided to make a list of the ways we've been more Eco friendly at school time so everyone can learn from us.

Buy used-I start looking for clothes right after they get out of school for the summer. Yep, pretty early but you need time to do this. Start hitting up garage sales, thrift shops, and letting friends and family know you will take any of theirs off their hands. Keep a list of what they need in your purse at all times so you can mark off what you have found and write things you need on it.

Reuse-Go through all your school supplies that your children came home with the last school year. No sense in buying more stuff when you already have it. Keep an eye out for sales, and again ask friends and family if they have something you need. Most the time someone will have it.

After Season Sales-When winter items are being clearanced out at 80-90%, start buying items one size ahead for your children. These can be used for the next season but you pay way less for them. Same goes for school clothes.

School Supplies-Keep an eye out for recycled products. Target has a great little end cap of recycled pencils, pencil cases, folders, etc for only $1 each. Keep a rule when shopping. If it cant be recycled, don't buy it. So choose for paper binders, paper folders, etc.

Eco Friendly Sites
Reusablebags A very easy to navigate site to get just about anything you need. From reusable bags, lunch bags, home goods and a huge selection of water bottles. Great site with a great cause. Read up about them, they truly inspire me.

The Rainforest Site
This is a new site I just found. They have one of
a kind items for just about anything you need. Cool bags, jewelry, clothing, gardening, and anything else you could think of. As a special bonus, each time you buy also helps fun habitat preservation. Your shopping helps make a difference.
This site is great. You can get binders for as low $2.49. From binders, tabs, to inside pockets. I love this site. Binders are made from 100% recycled chipboard and everything else is made from 100% recycled post consumer content. The more you buy, the less they are. Right now they are offering free samples by calling 888-338-0924.

Review:I ordered samples and they came super quick. I received 2 office size binders and 2 smaller personal sized ones. They are super sturdy and can be modified very easily. My daughter is in love with these binders and cant wait for school. These compare to any standard binder you can find but the best thing about them is the fact that they are Eco friendly. We feel good about owning them and will not be getting sick from them. No more plastic for this family, we will be ordering from Earth Binder from now on. Another added bonus:They cost less than plastic competitors. $2.49 is super cheap if you think about it. Plus when your bored with the plain or design that's on it, you can easily change it. Because its recycled chipboard, you can glue anything you want on it. I recommend this company to everyone. Have you checked them out yet?

TerraCycle Inc
I must say, this is one of my favorite companies around. They have everything you can think of and its all made from recycled products. You can help out by 2 ways. One is by sending in product packaging and getting paid some change for each one. The other way is to guy products from them and supporting them that way. You can buy anything from lawn and garden, cleaners, office and school supplies, bags and winter and holiday supplies. Just click on "buy online" at the top right hand corner and they will connect you with a site that sells them.
If you want to order but don't want to pay shipping, Target and Fred Meyers are big sellers of their products. From Eco friendly plant food, to school supplies. Target has $1-$2.99 items by Terra Cycle. Super cheap!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Homemade Goodness *Basic Granola*

I'm so excited that I can make my own granola now. My husband is a big granola fan and goes through it so fast. I was buying granola for $1.53 per lb at Winco but not no more. I found a recipe that is so yummy and you can add anything you want to it. Plus its super easy to make which makes my life easier. Another bonus is that it cost me about $1 per lb to make it myself.

Basic Granola

3 cups oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup of honey
6 tbsp melted butter
Optional:nuts,flax seed, dried fruit, etc.

Melt the butter and put into a bowl. Add brown sugar and honey then stir. Add oats and mix well. This is when you would add any nuts you wanted. My favorite is almonds and ground flax seed. Pour into a cookie sheet covered in aluminum foil. I have a aluminum cookie sheet so I don't need to add foil. Put in oven for 10 minutes, take out and stir. If you wanted to add dried fruit, this is when you add it. Put back in for another 10 minutes. The longer you leave it in, the more crunchy it is. Take out and let cool for 10 minutes or so. Scoop out and your done.

This can be used as granola cereal as is. If you want to make trail mix just add small chocolate chips, and maybe some dried fruit. You basically can add anything you want to this recipe. Sometimes I add a cup of rice krispies, or sometimes I add 1 tsp of vanilla. It depends on my mood and what we have in the house. If you want to cut down on sugar, just add another cup of granola. Have fun with it and let the kids help you.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hard work pays off

Today I spent a little time in the garden and look what I found. A HUGE zucchini which I must have missed a few times. Oops! This I will shred into 2 cup size containers and put in the freezer for later use in muffins.
My tomato's are going nuts right now. Each day I go out and pick for that nights dinner or my girls will have a snack of them. They taste so yummy and way better than store bought tomato's. I think they are sweeter.
Under them are beans from the size of my house. I have a hedge of bean plants that thrived from neglect. These will be blanched and put in the freezer as well for later use. They taste so yummy this year and in this house the bugs don't eat them up. Yeah!
Broccoli is doing good now. Not exactly giving me huge amounts but something is better than nothing. This type of broccoli is not as good eaten raw for some reason. Only word I can use for it is peppery. ?? But they taste good steamed so cant complain.
Last but not least is my fabulous cauliflower that I am so proud of. Its my first time trying to grow it and best yet I was able to get these free with a Mothers Day coupon I received in the mail. Yahoo! Love free stuff. Not sure when I was suppose to pick it but it looked fine to me. Cant wait to eat it for dinner. Mmmmm!
My beans I had to pull today because they just weren't giving me anymore beans. I also pulled my crook neck squash due to the pesky white mold. I again froze most of it but the rest I gave to all my neighbors. I think I will plant some lettuce in their place and try to get the most of our growing season here in Oregon. My cucumbers are starting to give me something so tomorrow I will take some pics for you. My white cucumber is so pretty and I cant wait to try it. Until next time.....

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Homemade Goodness *Tortilla Soup*

Another good way to use your fresh corn. This one is a big hit in my house. So easy to make and everyone loves it.

Tortilla Soup

1 Medium Onion Chopped
3 Garlic Cloves Minced
1 tsp Oil of choice
2 tsp Chili Powder
1 tsp Oregano
1 28 oz can of Tomato's Crushed
1 28 oz can of water
1 28 oz can of broth (your choice of broth)
1 Cup of Corn
1 Can of Black Beans
Stale or crushed tortilla's from bottom of bag.

Saute onions, garlic and corn with oil in a pan for 5 minutes. Add water, tomato's, broth, beans and spices. Boil for 10 minutes. Just sprinkle tortilla's on it.

Optional: Add fresh tomato's, green onions and a spoon full of sour cream for a pretty and tasty touch.

Serves 4-6 people

Friday, August 14, 2009

Top 20 Online Green Sources

Shop . Pick the most energy efficient refrigerator, washer, dryer, or air conditioner for your home with Consumer Report's green product Web site. Using research complied from government data and environmental groups, this site rates foods and everyday household products, showing you which ones are better for your health and earth. This search-able site dishes on the latest and greatest green products, clothes, fashion, accessories, home goods, and kids stuff. As a eggregator, Greenzer directs you to the best green retailers, saving you tons of time and legwork. Just click on a product in one of Greenzer's many categories-apparel, baby gear, cleaning supplies, office products-and you'll be sent to the Web site that sells it.

Mind Your Money Aiding investors since 1996, Sustainable Business showcases a list of top sustainable stocks and helps you track the performance of your favorite ecofriendly companies. The Wall Street Journal offers it's analysis of the green business sector with daily postings on relevant news stories about oil prices, emissions cap and trade, alternative energy, and government environmental policy.

Make A Difference The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) gives online visitors concrete ideas for protecting the planet, whether it's urging the EPA to regulate the disposal of coal waste or helping to save the honeybees. This nonprofit carbon credit organization supports energy efficiency, renewable energy, and reforestation projects around the globe.

Live Green Whether you're updating a bedroom or building a new home, turn to the U.S. Green Building Council's residential building site for guidance on Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. Search for recycling centers by address or ZIP code, and learn where to recycle anything-from Styrofoam and car batteries to eyeglasses and old linoleum.

Eat The nonprofit Green Restaurant Association helps eateries go green and points prospective diners toward ecofriendly establishments. With the "Find a Restaurant" section, you can search by category (cafes, tea houses, resorts, etc), location, or keyword. Dedicated to empowering farmers "in support of ecologically produced local, organic, and authentic food," the Cornucopia Institute provides, among other things, a thorough report on the practices of organic diaries nationwide. See how your favorite brand of organic milk scores. The website for this famed California aquarium offers an array of ocean conservation research and learning tools. Click on the "Seafood Watch" section for a printable pocket guide of sustainable fish guidelines.

Have Some Fun This comprehensive guide to the great outdoors provides maps and descriptions of more than 45,000 hiking and mountain biking trails all over the country, plus access to U.S. Geological Survey topographic maps for a minimal subscription fee. Want to know what your favorite actors and musicians are doing to save the planet? Check out this green Hollywood gossip site to find out. Their efforts just might inspire you to do more, too.

Get Healthy Determine the safety (or toxicity) of your personal care products with the Environmental Working Group's "Skin Deep" database, which offers a searchable list of more than 42,000 cosmetic products and ingredients. Have concerns about mercury levels or the quality of your water? The Environmental Protection Agency offers the latest info and research on environmental and health hazards.

Stay Informed This one-stop destination for eco info aggregates the day's news headlines, offers its own take on variety of hot topics, and draws commentary from noted environmental writers. Get informed with news stories by TreeHugger reporters, interact via Twitter and topical forums, and take action with carefully selected buying guides. You can even watch informational webcasts on "TreeHugger TV." With info on new advances and experiments in bio fuels and wind power and the latest green gadgets, this Web site covers "innovations that are saving the planet," appealing to those who enjoy science and want to take care of the environment.

For more information on this topic, trek up to your local grocery store and buy the September 09 issue of Whole Living Body and Soul by A Martha Stewart Publication.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

ACV your new best friend

ACV, also known as Apple Cider Vinegar, is truly amazing. I wish I knew about this amazing thing years ago. It all started when I had a girly issue a couple of months ago. Instead of going to my doctor or to the store to get over the counter med's, I decided on researching natural remedies for it. Ive done the creams before and they have worked but I wanted to be more natural with my body. ACV was the common natural remedy that kept coming up. What could vinegar do? Well you would be amazed. Its not only for girly remedies, but its for just about anything you can think of. But don't take my word for it, do some research yourself and see. Here are a few benefits Ive found on the net and have used myself.
Disclaimer:Always contact your doctor with any problems you may have. I am not a doctor, I am only giving advise on things I myself have tried. It is your choice to try these out.

Need a sample? Bragg Live Foods gives samples of ACV and much more!

To read up a bit about ACV, check out Earth Clinic Remedies

Apple Cider Vinegar

Its rich in enzymes and potassium
Supports a healthy immune system
Helps control weight
Promotes digestion and ph balance
Helps soothe dry throats
Helps remove body sludge and toxins
Helps maintain healthy skin
Soothes irritated skin
Relieves muscle pain
Helps Acid Reflux
Canker Sores
Colds and flue
Need I say more?

Where to buy? Well any apple cider vinegar will do in a pinch. I started off by buying just the store brand type for about a buck. It worked but didn't taste all that good. I found Certified Bragg raw apple cider vinegar that is unfiltered, unheated, and unpasteurized with 5% acidity. Its available on the Internet on their website for about $5 but you have to pay shipping. I found it at Fred Meyers (or Kroger) for about $5.99 (and no shipping charges!) in their naturals section. Just keep in the fridge when you open it. Plus makes it go down a little easier.
Order it through Bragg

Or just pick up a bottle where you can find it. Whole Foods or New Seasons are also great places to find organic apple cider vinegar.

Now what are you waiting for ? Try it out yourself. If my children can do it, you can too!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Homemade Goodness *Corn Chowder*

Corn is in full season right now so stock up on it. I picked up corn today at The Pumpkin Patch 6/$1. Can you believe it? Crazy low prices. I bought 30, brought them home and then realized that I had to somehow do something with it all. lol. Yikes! Here are a few idea's:
1. Cut corn off, lay on a cookie sheet, freeze it, then put in a freezer safe container.
2. Freeze whole corn as is in freezer safe containers.
3. Eat it.

We decided to make corn chowder tonight and it was amazing. My kids ate it up so fast. My husband even enjoyed it and that's saying a lot. He doesn't like soup at all but since this was so thick, it really wasn't soup. So try this out and enjoy!

Corn Chowder

2 1/2 cups corn (cooked or not frozen or can is fine)
2 cups of diced potato's
1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup onion diced (or green onion)
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 1/2 hot water
2 cups of milk (or reconstituted milk)
1 tbsp flour
Combine all ingredients into one big pot except milk and flour. Cook until potato's are tender. Add milk and flour and let cook for 10 minutes on low heat. Let set for 3 minutes and serve. Serves 4-6 people.
Garnish with shredded cheese or green onions.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Find it jar project

I stumbled upon this amazing site with so many great idea's for keeping your children busy without media involved. Its called "Unplug your kids" and their motto is "Living a TV free life....with a few crafts and books thrown in." I spent an hour just browsing through the site in amazment. That is how I found this cute easy to do project. Check out her site and get lost in it too.

First you need to do colored rice. To do this, check this link out to get the easy directions. You can find this rice pretty cheap in bulk. The cheapest rice you can find is just fine because your not going to be eating it.

Then once you do that project, your onto the "Find it jar" project. This project can be made in many ways, just cater to what you have already. Or go through a neighbors recyling bin (ask first lol). Then have fun making this with the kids.

How much fun would it be for your children to find things in this jar? Just thinking about it gets me excited and ready to go buy some rice. I can just imagine my children playing with this, the looks on their face when they find something would be priceless.