Thursday, February 19, 2009

Love, Encouragement & Conviction

I just wanted to briefly mention that I have been really encouraged by these sermons recently. It is a big series, but this one, this one and this one have been great food for thought so far.

Thanks to my friend from univeristy, Mindy, for mentioning this series on her blog!

ceramic heart above: after V-day sale at Hobby Lobby last year (maybe 30 cents?) rubbed with red stamp pad because I didn't have red paint, hung with ribbon

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Simple Steps to Greener Living

We are taking some simple steps to living a greener life. So far, it has not been anything too radical, but bit by bit we will get there.

1. SKIPPING the plastic bags and bringing our own, which I also find much easier when I am bringing in and unloading the groceries. (In all honesty, I still get plastic at Target because their bags seem to be heavier than elsewhere and we use those as trash can liners.)

2. MAKING RECYCLING AS EASY AS THROWING AWAY by placing a bin right next to our kitchen trash. I reused a trash bin we had and just used a graphic found online, the Colorado sunshine and a Sharpie to make the visual reminder for us. Our kids love it and have certainly caught the recycling bug! We've been recycling for years, but we now have a service that requires no sorting or hauling to a recycling center so we are trying to do our part to recycle more. This kitchen bin fills up in just a day or two. I think having it handy is working.
3. REDUCING TRASH! We recently changed waste disposal companies, because of the recycling service they offer, and opted for the lowest level of trash pick-up they offer. This is forcing us to recycle more and we will hopefully not even need to fill up the 32 gallon blue bin of trash in months to come. Having a household of 5, with one still in diapers, we are still throwing out less trash than others I notice on our street who have just 2 people per household. I'm not trying to be self-righteous here, but I am just always intrigued that smaller households can generate so much more. And yes, we ourselves could certainly do better. We could switch to cloth diapers full-time or maybe even just get the child potty-trained....working on that.

4. COMPOSTING handles our produce scraps and eggshells well. I got this nice stainless steel bin with a lid for Christmas and we have no odor or fruit flies under our kitchen sink. I line it with a piece of newspaper to make it easier to empty into our outdoor compost bins. This system works for now, but now I would really want this indoor/outdoor worm factory I saw on Meredith's blog last week...maybe when we get to our next step in the Dave Ramsey plan.
5. And last but not least, AIR DRYING. (Photo of my lovely drying rack) We still use our dryer a lot, but I think we are air drying about 40-50% of our laundry right now. If I would stay on top of the process, I think I could air dry much more. But when laundry is stacking up, I just want to catch up as quickly as possible.

How are you greening your home and your life?

It's Baby Season Again!

A couple friends welcomed new baby girls at year end and although I didn't get something sent to them right away I was able to put together these gifts a few weeks ago, somewhat like the ones I made in November. I always enjoy sewing up these little gifts and I hope the new moms enjoy them, too. This set of flannel and fleece burp cloths was paired with some Gymboree socks.
And this set is a fleece blanket and cotton and fleece burp cloth. I love ribbon and was happy that I had some that coordinated with the fleece. I know this print may be a bit bold for some, but I'm taking a chance that my lively friend will like it.
All gifts were made with love with inexpensive remnants. Both gifts were made in less than 2 hours and cost probably less than $7 total in materials and the purchased socks.
And if they are blessed with little girls who don't actually spit up much, burp cloths can have a few more uses like lining the changing table pad, tucking into the car seat carrier as a mini blankie on mild days, small nursing cover, small blankie (You can never tell which blankie babies will attach to, but wouldn't a small one that they don't drag on the floor be lovely?), or a changing pad when you are out and about. Can you think of any other uses for them?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Simple Valentines

We had a fun but low-key Valentine's Day weekend. It started out with a few simple decorations being crafted and put out on Friday including this felted wool heart. I made it by cutting out two hearts from a piece of felted wool, formerly part of a garmet. It was a quick 5 minutes of sewing the heart together, adding a hanger made of white twill tape and pinking around the top heart.

Of course, whenever the camera comes out, the kids think they must have their picture taken, even if they are not always cooperative in providing good shots.
We also spent some time making homemade valentines for each other and wrapping up some gifts, using paper supplies and wrappings we had on hand, of course.We enjoyed a Costco entree for our Friday night dinner and had enough leftovers for another easy meal for Valentine's Day lunch, combined with salad, strawberry milk and a festive cake with cherry chips and heart sprinkles. The kids each received a box of conversation hearts, a new pillowcase made by me, and a poster-sized alphabet coloring book I found on clearance last year. They are certainly worth far more than the under $5 gifts they received, but we have more toys and books than we know what to do with and we don't intend to make this a major gift-giving holiday. I think they are just as delighted with a few simple treats as they would be with lots of expensive gifts.

We capped off the day with supper at a nearby burger joint with gift cards from some special folks for the kids, who each enjoyed their own kids meal with ice cream. Now that's a rare treat!

And here's our girl who loves Valentine's Day and delighted in making countless valentines throughout the week and her very own heart doorhanger. (My husband and I both noted how much they are starting to copy what we do within their own capabilities, which is sweet and scary all at once.)

We love our kids to pieces and had a great day together as a family!
Much love from our home to yours!