June 14, 2010

Going Green


Watching the growing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico just made me sick.  I could only think of the Lord’s warning regarding the “evil and designs of conspiring men”  in these last days (D&C 89).  But it was also a wake up call for me about the importance of “going green.” 

I am not an activist, by no means.  I don’t march on D.C.,  don’t send letters to my Senator (yet) and have never made the journey on a Greenpeace boat. I am a shop-a-holic with more plastic Wal Mart bags than anyone in Arkansas.  It looks like I intend to die with the most bags and win.  But this….the oil leak, struck a chord in me. It’s time to consider going a little more green, one baby step at a time.  My children are watching. 

My first baby step in going green was to buy re-usable bags, and actually ~*take them with me*~ when I went shopping. I happened upon several, by chance, at the dollar store (I was originally planning to just add to my collection of plastic bags with my purchases). They had PINK ones <swooning> and a blue one with a Pink Flamingo!! (for the story about why I have a thing for Pink Flamingos, go here). There was a canvas bag with Pink trim….oh!!! 

Progress Report: I have taken all of my bags with me into the store 5 times!!!!  And today I bought another canvas bag with blue trim.  My kids now take the bags right back out to the van after we put groceries away without being told.  <gasp>  We truly must be getting greener.  While it is true I shop frequently, please understand, I combine my shopping with other reasons for going into town. We do the “green” thing. Believe me, if we lived in town, we would have bikes.

Did you know you can use your old, worn tires for growing potatoes?  Put your soil in the center, add your potato seed and grow “up.”  As the greenery grows, add more soil and stack another old tire (as many as three tires) on top.  At harvest time, you will have potatoes in there…. The kids and I tried to grow peanuts in a tire once, but it ended up as a condo for a Red Ant community instead.  A couple of peanut plants grew with a few peanuts on them (I am convinced that central Arkansas is built upon a massive Red Ant civilization and they are battling to take back their ground from the humans). I will try again, move the Ant condo, I mean, the peanut tire-garden, to another part of the yard.

I have found a few “green” links for you:do one green thing

The Daily Green Tips

I picked up a book from the Library, “Do One Green Thing’”
by Mindy Pennybacker.  I browsed through it and found some suggestions were so simple, advice on what fish to avoid due to over-fishing, when to buy organic and when not to bother, natural cleaner recipes and many more topics.   I’m going to buy this.  (Is shopping online considered a “green” activity?)

Homemade Laundry Soap.  I have made this twice and love it.  I use Ivory Soap in this recipe.  I am not a fan of the fragrance of Ivory soap, but the scent does not get into your clothes while washing.  They come out smelling fresh and clean.

We re-cycle our newspaper and make gift wrap.  We use spray paint, acrylic paint, stamps and stamp pads.  We also did this for a Homeschool Group activity.

I liked the suggestions at Simple Mom, 40 ways to go green, and realized my family is greener than I thought.  We shop at thrift stores, grow our own herbs, have a compost area.

Readers Digest.com  is a favorite site for just about anything.

We considered adding a wind turbine to our home, so I Googled, “Wind turbine kit”; this page of links came up, which included a link for Wind Turbine science kits.  Cool…..homeschool project!!

I needed a planter for my Zebra Grass, so I dragged in an old stainless steel spare tire cover that once hung on the back of someone’s old van and dug it into the ground.  You would never know it.  However, I do live in a high lightning strike area and since my zebra grass got hit once, I wonder if the “planter” was an attraction?  hmmmm

I don’t know, do something crazy; Google “going green” and see what comes up. I have discovered that going green can be cool and can be done one step at a time, line upon line…..hmmm..have we heard that somewhere?  If we want our children to turn out better (and greener) than we ever were, we have to do better ourselves.  (Train up a child in the way he should go….) We’re better at being green than I thought.  How about you? Were you “green” before “going green” was cool?

What “green” things do you do in your home?

 Teresa is a widow, with 4 children, 2 of whom are on the Autism Spectrum and still homeschooling over the age of 18.  One more is a homeschooling teen.  She and the family embrace their Inner Rubber Chickens on a regular basis with a good hard squeeze, leaving a puff of feathers in their wake.  You can find their squeezings, family life and a few homeschool things at Wockenflock Daze.

7 comments - Add a comment below -:

Mrs. M said...

I love reuseable shopping bags, they are great for much more than just grocery stopping. I use them when I go to yard sales and the library. I avoid plastic bags like the plague since my 1 1/2 year old seems to have a fascination for them and want to put them over her head! Just so you know, its super simple to make reusable bags out of T-shirts, Ive made a few that way. Just need a basic knowledge of sewing, although a machine makes like a whole lot easier. If you would like to know how just drop me an e-mail and Ill tell you.

I use all natural cleaners as well. I use vinegar and water for cleaning. If we are ill I will sometimes add a half a cup of alcohol. I use baking soda to scrub and vinegar/baking soda for the toilets (the tots love to watch me clean the toilets). Apple cider vinegar is great at killing mold and preventing it from coming back.

Oh I love cloth diapers as well. It saves A TON and no waste other than the umm waste if you get my drift. I made a ton of reusable breast pads after the birth of my youngest although I didn't really use them that often (Id always forget to bring them with me!). They are simple to make, so are reusable menstrual pads (which are super comfortable as well).

The only paper goods we buy is toilet paper since I can't think of a reusable toilet paper. I have a ton of kitchen towels that I use for all my cleaning. The towels are actually flat diapers that someone gave me that I didn't use (I could never figure out how to fold them and kept the baby still long enough to put them on) so no money spent. You can make simple kitchen towels really easily and cheaply as well.

One of the big things that is "green" and economical is we only have one car my husband takes to work with him. If I want to go somewhere during the day I walk (thank goodness for a double stroller). It saves us a ton of money and saves gas.

Dana ♥ said...

Teresa, you crack me up! ☺ I'm not sure if going green is the same as going natural, but we are headed that way. Our latest is oil cleansing. WE really like it.

teresa said...

I was wondering if I could take my own non-toxic container (one with the proper # inside the arrow triangle) to the grocery store deli counter. 1 less plastic to litter the earth with....

Mike and Wendy said...

I wish I could remember where I found this idea, but I can't so hopefully I won't confuse you too much.
I make my own dryer sheets. I just sewed 2 pieces of fabric together (to make it even more 'green' you could use old t-shirts) around all four edges. Then I get some liquid fabric softener, pour it into a squirt bottle and dilute it. Every time you need to dry a load, just spray a few squirts onto your dryer sheets and throw it in the dryer.
Not only is it green, it's economical!

JRoberts said...

I know a lady that takes all the packaging off her products while in line at the grocery. I wish I was brave enough to do that, but as of now I just recycle it all! :)

What message would that send if we all were brave enough to remove the packaging and say "NO" to all that extra stuff that gets put on our products!

Chocolate on my Cranium said...

Our biggest contribution for going green has been cloth diapers. We've used them on 7 of our 8 children. HUGE savings for us and much less waste overall.

Coombs Family said...

My cousin makes & sells reuseable sandwich wraps that we use instead of baggies. They are adorable! They're perfect for picnic lunches at the park, or in the house, if it's rains all spring like it has been here. :)