December 19, 2006

On Canvas Bags, Reusable Mugs, and The Compact

I had my first victory this past weekend with remembering to take my canvas bag to the grocery store! Granted, I was just running in for a few baking items to go to Cincinnati to bake with a friend, but I remembered to grab the bag on the way out the door, and wasn't ashamed one bit to put my few purchases in it at the self-check out. Of course, it probably would've taken more nerve to actually go through a line and have someone else ring up my purchase, but I was in a hurry, and the line was short. My DH is going shopping today, though, so I'm sure there will be more plastic bags in the house. We will still have to get some every now and then though, because I use them when I clean out the cat litter boxes.

I've also started carrying a stainless steel mug for tea with me. It's one that the DHs job gave him. I had to go through our cabinet carefully to find one that wasn't lined with plastic. The lid on this one is plastic, but the entire interior is stainless steel. So far I've done pretty good with taking it with me from home and using it at work. I've even started using a real spoon at work instead of the plastic-ware that our office supplies. It's all about small steps.

Speaking of small steps - I'm thinking of taking a great big one. My baking buddy mentioned that she and her husband were thinking of starting The Compact on Jan. 1st. I'm thinking I might just join her. I'm going to spend some time next week (when I'm off from work) evaluating my options, and looking at what we need to lay as ground work and rules for this adventure. The DH is skeptical, but I'm on board. We'll see if I can convince him or not.

December 07, 2006

Deep Breaths - it's not too late....

OK - I've started finding myself in the panic over what I'm going to get for everyone for Christmas. Even though I've already managed to get gifts for most everyone on my list. It's really a bizarre feeling - like what I've got planned isn't going to be enough, so I need to buy more, more, more... I definitely do not like this feeling.

I feel like my hope of "making a statement" with my Christmas gifts is slowly fading in the bright and shiny light of consumerism run amok. My plans of making everyone a soy candle have now blossomed into a soy candle paired with this, or that, or that other thing. Most of what I'm thinking of pairing the soy candle with is pretty cool - OK even better - it's really neat. I got coffee from Grounds for Change and some of their canvas bags, so a couple people will be getting some GREAT coffee with their candle, packaged in a reusable bag. Now if I can only get them to actually use the bag... And as for the rest of them, they'll be getting their gifts wrapped in Wrap Sacks. But somehow, I'm feeling a little guilty for buying all of this - even in it's reusable, good for the earth, sustainable shininess.

Hmm.... This is definitely a dilemma to ponder.

November 20, 2006

Recycled Clothing Triumph

I did it! I successfully managed to find a Christmas party outfit that is 100% pre-worn. The cute pinkish colored sweater set is awesome, and has a few sequins to make it a little more dressy. I'm still waiting on the velvet skirt, but that should be here shortly. And I already have black dress shoes.

Not only that, I found an almost new Wool pea coat on ebay that fits perfectly, is absolutely adorable on, and is "used." I spent a little more for this than I originally wanted to, but it's worth it. I haven't had a "new" winter coat in years, and the one I've been wearing for the past few years is huge on me. So this is quite the happy thing.

Now - onto coming up with appropriate and useful Christmas gifts... Not exactly sure I'll manage to get everyone something that isn't "new", but I'm going to try. I've bought a soy candle making kit, and am going to use containers from the thrift store to make them in. Hopefully people will like them.

October 18, 2006

The Compact, consumerism, and curbing my buying desires...

I've been reading a couple different blogs recently - which isn't a new development in and of itself. The interesting component is that a group of them have recently centered around The Compact. I'm still researching and reading just about anything I can find about it. But from what I've read, it sounds like an admirable project that can range anywhere from the strictest rules against purchasing anything, to a slightly looser version that encourages you to moderate your purchases.

I get this kind of rush when I think about downsizing our current living situation. And the more I dwell on it, the more I feel downright disgusted with the fact that there are only two of us living in a four bedroom house (which still hasn't sold), and that we've managed in our almost 5 years of marriage to completely fill EVERY room in that house (and the basement) with stuff! Some of it most definitely has sentimental value, and would most likely be kept in the event that we downsize. Most of it, however, is the kind of crap that accumulates due to the fact that I'm a pack-rat, that I can't convince myself to pass up a "good deal," and are items that have stuck around long past their "expiration" date. Can someone please tell me why I'm still holding on to 2 corsages from high school prom?!??

My hope is to come up with some sort of moderated "rules" from The Compact to begin a cleansing of sorts. Obviously my first goal in this will be to not add stress to our already insane lives - which means that any implementation will have to wait until after Nov. 1, and can not be disruptive to Tom and his school schedule/needs. Stay tuned for more as I contemplate this lifestyle alteration.

September 26, 2006

Turn the Light On!

A friend of mine sent me the following e-mail as a sort of grassroots effort to motivate people to purchase Compact Flourescent bulbs for their homes, etc. **Disclaimer - I did not verify his numbers, facts, etc., however I have heard this sort of information from multiple sources and do believe in the abilities of CF bulbs to lessen our use of electricity.

How Many Light Bulbs Does it Take To Change The World? ONE.

For years, compact fluorescent bulbs have promised dramatic energysavings - yet they remain a mere curiosity. Compact fluorescents emit the same light as classic incandescents but use 75% or 80% less electricity. What that means is that if every one of 110 million American households bought just one ice-cream-cone bulb, took it home, and screwed it in the place of an ordinary 60-watt bulb, the energy saved would be enough to power a city of 1.5 million people or is equivalent to taking 1.3 million cars of the roads. That's the law of large numbers - a small action multiplied by 110 million.

The single greatest source of greenhouse gases in the United States is power plants. One bulb swapped out: enough electricity saved to turn off two entire power plants - or skip building the next two. The typical U.S. house has between 50 and 100 sockets. Last year, U.S. consumers spent about $1 billion to buy 2 billion light bulbs - 5.5 million every day. Just 5%, 100 million, were compact fluorescents. The compact fluorescents that GE, Philips, and Sylvania are putting on shelves are rated for 8,000, 10,000 or 12,000 hours. Every CFL has the life span of 6, or 8, or 10 equivalent incandescent bulbs. If 100 million CFL light bulbs are sold next year, it does away with the need for 100 million old-fashioned bulbs to be manufactured, packaged, shipped, bought and discarded next year - and every year until 2012 or beyond. It also promises that a 60-watt CFL saves $38.00 in energy. Spend $2.60 (or less), earn $38.00. These days, that's a great return.

To read more, this article can be found in Fast Company, September 2006.

Additionally, Grist published readers questions about CFL lights at: and

August 18, 2006


Ok - Rachel was encouraging me to write something impassioned – and here it is.

The first map (with the yellow colors) shows the extent of the oil spill off Lebanon’s coast. And, yes, I agree that the main concern right now should be a lasting cease fire to stop the loss of life. However, the fact that this spill has gained little to no American media attention is VERY disturbing. And what little attention it has gained is dismissive, at best.

For a country that is so entrenched in our oil-guzzling ways, I would think that a spill of this magnitude (30,000 TONS of heavy fuel oil) would spark some kind of response – if nothing more than to say “hey – that’s oil we could’ve used!” It seems, however, that the greater disaster of essentially poisoning that portion of the Mediterranean Sea, the destruction of a fragile ecosystem and the largely dismissed “where to place blame” game, has failed to capture most of the American populations attention.

Greenpeace has posted on their website the following:


Oil slick and environmental consequences of conflict in the Middle East

While our immediate concern and sympathy lies with the injured, the displaced and the families of the victims of this conflict, long term environmental damage is an inevitable consequence of war.Greenpeace is calling for an immediate cease fire and an end to the violence and environmental destruction.

We also call for efforts to establish long lasting regional stability and peace. This would also allow urgent and needed humanitarian aid to reach all parts of Lebanon, and for the UN Environment Programme, the World Health Organization and others to begin assessing the environmental damage caused by the bombing.

In the case of the heavy oil flowing into the sea from the bombed storage tanks at the Jiyyeh power station, 30 km south of Beirut, the most important priority is to prevent any further leakage and destruction and which could potentially spread to the entire east Mediterranean coastline.View maps of the current oil pollution.

In the short term the Lebanese authorities are in urgent need of assistance to stem and control the flow of the oil onto its beaches and into its fishing grounds. In the longer term it could take between 6 and 12 months to clean up the oil from some 100 km of Lebanon's coastline. The spill is especially threatening since fish spawn and sea turtles nest on Lebanon's coast, including the green turtle which is endangered in the Mediterranean.

Greenpeace urges the international community to work to bring an immediate end to the human suffering and the environmental destruction.

I whole-heartedly agree that the International Community should work to help Lebanon in this time of crisis. I realize that our allegiances (as America) fall with Israel – but pollution is not a nation by nation issue. This is a global environmental crisis that needs to be handled as such. 30,000 TONS of oil into a body of water should not qualify as an after thought. The shooting has stopped. The attacks between Lebanon and Israel have stopped (hopefully for good) – now it’s time to get someone in there to stop the attack on the environment!

August 12, 2006


There have been quite a few things recently that I've thought I should write about...but that's not seemed to have happened. There are so many things that I've found myself passionately enraged over, but none of have managed to formulate themselves into coherent thought. I'm still not sure how coherent this will be. I really need to just get in the habit of writing it all out when it occurs to me - because for the life of me I can't remember what on earth I was wanting to write about!

July 08, 2006

Whoa! Where did time go?

Ok - so apparently, you blink and almost 2 months flies by. I can't believe I haven't posted since May, let alone the fact that I'm another year older. This year is seriously flying by, and I'm not feeling like I have a whole lot to show for it. There has been a constant barrage of stressors in my life the past few weeks. And I kind of feel like I'm constantly trying to discerne what I should be truly stressed about.

We went back to Asbury for my 5 year reunion, which was really really fun. It made me miss all my old friends, and really made me want to live in that area some day. It's so beautiful, and has so much to offer. Pretty much anywhere you live is within quick drive time of downtown Lex., and you can always get far enough out to have animals on your property. Now if only our house would sell and Tom were out of school! :)

I'm trying to keep an optimistic attitude about my job at Heart. I'm praying that when all is said and done, that not only will there be a position for me, but that I will actually enjoy what I'm doing. I've almost been there 5 years now, and I'd like to keep it that way. I'm really of the old-fashioned mindset that you pick one company/organization, and devote your lifelong career to it. I'm not saying I'll be with Heart for the rest of my life, but I'm not a person who can lightly switch jobs every three months.

Well - things are still boring like in May...hmmm...guess I didn't miss too much by not posting.

May 19, 2006


Well we’re heading toward the last half of May, so I thought I’d check our progress on my Springtime Resolution. We’ve spent some money on eating out this month. But we’re hovering right around $160 for the month, whereas last month we were at about $430. So I definitely feel like we’ve made HUGE strides at decreasing that expenditure in our budget. I think if we just keep on the track we’re on, we’ll make it through this month and be able to head into June with the goal of knocking that amount down even more.

The hubby and I are doing much better than my last post too. I think that we’re both learning to start living for the here and now, not CONSTANTLY looking for what’s next up on our road. There’s room for improvement, but we’re getting there. I think we’re actually getting along better now than we ever have.

The house is still up for sale which is rather depressing to me, as is the fact that the house we want has now officially been priced out of what we can afford. So we’re trying to examine our options. We thought about seeing if we could rent the house we want for a year to pay down some of our debt, etc., but I’m not sure if that’s going to work because we would have to pay less than market value for rent, and I don’t feel ok about that. I’ve started looking at other houses that are on the market, but since our house appears to not be going anywhere anytime soon, I’m not really getting my hopes up. I’ve even gotten to the point where I’m looking at those places that say they’ll buy any house in any condition for a fair price. Actually, I e-mailed one today, so we’ll see if they respond. I’m starting to wonder if this is God telling us that moving right now isn’t a good idea. I thought that everything was going to just line up and fall into place, and it’s far from having done that. Guess we’ll wait and see.

May 02, 2006

So true!

I read this the other day in some email I get from MomsTown Reality Radio (don't know how I got on the mailing list) - but I absolutely loved this persons perspective on what's popular and approved of in our culture. All comments welcome:


Out of respect for our daughters, future daughter-in-laws and women in general we feel compelled to take a stand against pop tarts. What's a 'pop tart?' you might be wondering. They are the girls (we hesitate to call them women due to a lack of maturity) we see in the media every day. They are thegirls our girls are exposed to on television, online, in magazines, and on the radio. They are the young women who, even born with a silver spoon, choose to behave badly on a regular basis for the return of fame and more money. They are dripping in couture, accessory dogs, and 'look at me' attitudes. What message are they sending to our young girls and boys? Do we want our girls to aspire to these shallow depths and our boys to date (and God forbid) marry a pop tart?

We believe, and correct us please if we're wrong, that it's better to be known by 10 people as a woman of quality and substance than to be known by millions as a pop tart. Now you might be thinking this is the ranting of a couple of feminist women, prudish moms, and what-have-you. Whatever we might be labeled we believe it's time someone takes a stand on the side of integrity, and on the side of women and girls who don't want to be force-fed unhealthy pastries.
True beauty is smart, confident, poised, and articulate. True beauty is as unique as each individual. It is our belief that there is a beautiful woman growing inside each girl. It is up to us to protect them and teach them the difference between smart and tart. It's okay to voice your opinion, take a stand, and have your own style. Following the latest craze, the fad, and posting unkind words or inappropriate pictures in is not the way to achieve long-lasting beauty or the kind of attention they might really be wanting.

Now that we've stated the problem, how do we, as a society, fix it? We hear from moms and dads about the pressures being put on our youngsters. It's the kind of peer pressure we never experienced. First, would be to teach our children they are better than that behavior, not that they're better than someone else. As Grandpa used to say, "You ain't better than nobody, and ain't nobody better than you."

As a parent, watch the trends. We don't want our kids to get caught up in the bling of tart culture. Be aware, be educated, and know what is going on in your kids' world.

This is in no way an attempt to stifle creativity or take away the right to express, however, a Chihuahua is a pet, not a brooch, and deserves to be treated as a loved member of the family, not an accessory. We're not going PETA on you, but come on let's get real, let's celebrate smart girls withstyle not stupid girls with an "I'm better than you" attitude.

April 28, 2006

Springtime Resolutions

I was reading on my friend Rachel's blog and found it hilarious that she and Adam are taking the same challenge that Tom and I are for the month of May - spending no money except on groceries and bills! :) Apparently great minds think a like!

We've started clearing out a lot of the junk in our house, and have come up with PILES of garbage to get rid of. I've got about 5 bags of clothing to donate, and a few select items that I've been putting up on ebay and giving to friends. So far, so good. It's rather cathartic to get rid of all this crap that's litterally clouded our entire home. At this point, even if it doesn't sell, our house will be a much better place to live! Even our animals are behaving better - knock on every piece of wood I can find! We even found a way to re-hang our storm door on the other side, so that it's firmly attached to the door frame and if the wind catches it, it will be closing it, not breaking the hinges! So that saved us quite a bit of money.

I'm still terrified that our house isn't going to sell. Our realtor e-mailed me yesterday and said that the houses in our neighborhood are averaging 6 months to sell. That's not bad in the grand scheme of things, but considering that we know where we want to go, and I don't want to make Gret's dad wait that long, it's not very good news. I talked to one of our neighbors last night and she said that theirs has been on the market for over a year. I personally think it's priced too high, but it does have a finished basement and a really nice deck, so who knows. I'm trying very hard to just have the faith that God will bring us the right buyer at the right time with the right amount of money!

April 19, 2006


Our house is officially up for sale! :) We still have a lot of cleaning and organizing to do, but for the most part, we're ready to go. There's a little "New Listing" sign in our front yard. I'm really excited - extremely nervous, but really excited. I hope that it sells quickly and for what we're asking, so that we can get out of it without owing anything, and I hope that we will qualify for a new loan to get the house we’re looking at.

I know that if we don’t get the house we want, we’ll find something, but this house would be perfect. It’s my best friend’s dad’s house, and it’s about 10 minutes from where both of us work. It’s closer to all our friends and all the places we go to hang out, grocery shop, etc. Plus the bike trail is less than a block away, so we could go ride a lot. I’ll post pictures of our house soon.

January 03, 2006

New Year's Resolutions

I'm taking a page out of my friend Rachel's blog and attempting to document my New Year's Resolutions. They're nothing much really, but I'm hoping that by at least putting them in writing that it will serve as motivation when the year starts to lag.

1. Spend more time devoted to God, going to church, and in a quiet time.

2. Keep the rooms clean that are already clean, and clean the rooms that need cleaned - then keep them all cleaned!

3. Find a new job - at least to the extent that I have any control over it.

4. Diminish our debt load as much as possible and make smart shopping/spending decisions.

5. Continue learning about organic food and healthy lifestyle decisions.

6. Continue to eat healthy and get back into the habit of working out daily.

7. Keep working on building my relationship with my husband, and working to be a Godly wife for him.

So that's definitely plenty I think. All of them are important, and I truly hope that by the end of the year I've made a successful attempt at all of them.