Condo Blues: Green Moms Carnival




Showing posts with label Green Moms Carnival. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Green Moms Carnival. Show all posts

Thursday, August 23, 2012

7 Tips for Buying a Comfortable Backpack

I like to use a backpack when I am traveling because it doesn’t scream, I HAVE AN EXPENSIVE CAMERA IN HERE PLEASE STEAL IT like my fancy camera bag does.

Unfortunately, once I switched to a heavier DSLR camera my current backpacks (I’ll get to that in a minute) didn’t work for me. The backpack straps sit on a knot I have in each shoulder.

The extra weight of the camera plus whatever else I want to carry (water bottle, etc.) rides the knots like a cowboy on rodeo night. I get a migraine. Dealing with a migraine is not the way I want to spend my vacation, or for that matter, a blogging conference.



As a green blogger, I get information about backpacks made from eco friendly materials all the time. I appreciate that but an ill fitting backpack made from eco friendly materials is useless because I will spend more time and resources replacing it with more backpacks that may or may not hurt my back. If I have to go with a  backpack made from not so eco friendly materials I’d rather it be made from material that takes a beating and lasts as long as my backpack from the 80’s that I still have and use.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Does Twitter Hate Green Moms?

Twitter suspended the Shorty Award winning @Greenmoms Carnival Twitter account. We don’t know why and Twitter isn’t telling. Will you help @Greenmoms and our over 70,000 followers get our Twitter account reinstated?

A Little Background on @Greenmoms on Twitter and The Green Moms Carnival

In 2008, Lynn of  Organic Mania gathered a diverse group of green bloggers and suggested we host a monthly blog carnival on a specific green topic like the Green Pet Blog Carnival I hosted on Condo Blues in October for Adopt a Shelter Dog Month.

Not every member of The Green Moms Carnival has the same green focus or way we do things and we like that way! Some of us (like me) are not Moms to humans. However, what we all have in common is trying to live the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (and in my case, Remake) way the best we know how and are eager to share our hits and our misses with all of you.

@condoblues, @greentalk, @mindfulmomma, @greenmom, @crunchygoddess, @fakeplasticfish
Lisa from Condo Blues, Anna from GreenTalk, Miceala from Mindful Momma, Sommer from Green and Clean Mom, Amy from Crunchy Domestic Goddess, and Beth of Fake Plastic Fish.
Photo courtesy of Crunchy Domestic Godddess.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Green Moms Carnival: Green Pet Edition!

Welcome to the Green Pet edition of the Green Moms Carnival! October is National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month as well as National Pet Wellness Month. I thought of no better way to celebrate than to ask my wonderful friends to share their stories about greening their pets.

Before we start, I want to introduce my guest editor and the inspiration for today’s carnival, my one eyed rescue Pekingese Blitzkrieg!

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Hello everyone! I realize Lisa saying I am the guest editor is trite blogging device.
I humor her because she pays me in dog treats to pose for blog photos. 

Since it’s National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, let kick off the carnival with…

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Five Repurposed Home Organizers

I am organized because I’m lazy. If I have a flash of inspiration I don’t want to hunt all over the house for the things I need to make my vision come to life. That is why I live by labels. It also keeps me from putting something “in a better place” and then promptly forgetting that I moved it leading to a whole house search.

As much I love wondering the aisles of the Container Store, I’m kinda cheap green. I try to repurpose what I have before I buy. If it works, I might upgrade it.  Sometimes I don’t under the if it’s not broke don’t fix it mantra.

Wood clementine boxes are fantastic for storage! I store my tea collection in two Clementine crates in my pantry. When I want a cup of tea, it’s easy to pull all of the tea from the pantry and take my pick.

 Yes I have a lot of tea. I don't have many vices, so this will have to do.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

30 Homemade Gift Ideas for Women, Men, Girls, Boys and Dogs

I Christmas shop year round for items as well as for ideas. That way I have time to make sure my gift is meaningful to the recipient. It spreads the spending out throughout the year so I never have to pay with credit. Sometimes I buy and sometimes I DIY it really depends upon what I think the person will like or need that year.




Jenn of The Green Parent  suggested to those of us in The Green Mom’s Carnival with craftier blogs could write about gifts/decorations that folks could make with the stuff they already have around the house as a way to offer suggestions on how to celebrate the holidays without going overboard.

This year my DIY options are severely limited. I killed my sewing machine last year making Christmas gifts. Seriously. The thing won’t run. At. All.

*whimper*

Since I can't make anything new, I went through some old posts and came up with 30 ideas for homemade holiday gifts for women and girls, men and boys, families, and your little dog too!


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Think You Know What’s in Your Cosmetics? Think Again

This year my New Year’s Resolution is to green my health and beauty aids. So far, I have switched my foundation , shampoo, lotion, body soap , sunscreen , toothpaste, mouthwash, and facial wash. To do this I read product labels.

Turns out that while I think I am a careful shopper, read ingredient labels, and buy accordingly, when it comes to my health and beauty products there is no law or rule that says everything inside the bottle has to be listed on the product label, unlike the food I buy.

That means there could be just as many or more harmful ingredients in my toothpaste as there are in the degreaser I use on my car’s engine block. The only difference is that the degreaser has a warning label. I have no idea if the ingredients of my toothpaste have been tested for safety or not.

To put this into an easy to understand and entertaining way, Annie Leonard of The Story of Stuff fame, created a new video The Story of Cosmetics.


I’m not trying to be a scaremonger. I think it’s up to you to decide on whether you want to avoid something in your products or not. I can honestly tell you that not everything in my medicine cabinet is 100% green, nor will it ever be. To me, it’s all about balance.

However, I do not like the fact that it is hard to make an informed choice as a consumer because the federal cosmetics law was written over 70 years ago and has not been updated since. According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics:

"The Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1936 has only two pages that relate to cosmetics, and it has not been updated despite a sea change in the industry. The fact is, the Food and Drug Administration has no authority to make cosmetics companies test products for safety or recall products that are found to be harmful."
One of the biggest secrets about what chemicals (or not) is in a product is what makes up the product’s fragrance. Last summer, I had the chance to talk to a representative from a large personal care company. She claimed that even her company didn’t know what was in the fragrances of their products because they buy the fragrance from a special fragrance house that has a super secret formula and ironclad nondisclosure agreement that says the fragrance house won’t tell the company what's in the signature scent of their brand of shampoo.

I call shenanigans. I find it very hard to believe that a huge personal care company with a research and development team of chemists and scientist types cannot reverse engineer their signature fragrance and figure out what makes their product smell like their product.

Buying an unscented product won’t solve the problem either. Most unscented products have masking agents in them to cover up the sometimes nasty scent of combining their raw ingredients.

What’s a Consumer to Do?

  • First, I would watch The Story of Cosmetics to understand the situation in basic, real world language.

  • Next, I would email my congressperson and encourage them to vote yes on the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010, which would close the labeling and ingredient testing holes in current federal law.

  • Finally, I would start reading the product labels of my personal care products and research any unfamiliar ingredients.

What would you do?



This post is part of the Green Mom’s Carnival where our topic is The Story of Cosmetics hosted by Organic Mania. Pop on over there Wednesday 28, 2010.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My No Impact Day Experiment Sucked

 The sky went dark as if turning off a light switch.

The rains came suddenly. BOOISH!

The thunder. CAR-RACK!

The lights went out.

“WHIRRR-EEEEEEEEE!” The nearby tornado siren screamed.

Husband, Blitzkrieg, and I holed up in the laundry room – our safe room since we do not have a basement.

Blitzkrieg knows my Blackberry takes pictures and he barked until I took his photo as we waited for the all clear. Even in a crisis, my dog is a diva and comic relief.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

How to Grow Sprouts

Spring fever has kicked in. Husband and I want to grow something NOW. We don’t want to wait until after Mother’s Day, our traditional end of season frost date.

Husband suggested growing sprouts. Sprouts don’t like full sunlight because it can cause the seeds to overheat or dry out. This describes our kitchen window to a T. Perfect!

how to grow sprouts
Alfalfa spouty goodness

The equipment and directions were simple. The most difficult part was finding and buying alfalfa spout seeds. Which really wasn’t that hard, we bought our seeds at the Home and Garden show.

How to Grow Sprouts in a Mason Jar

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Low Key Christmas Party – a Green Holiday Favorite!

Last year I read an article in the New York Times Style section where the writer boo hoo’ed that because the economy was tanking they had to skip throwing a swanky expensive Christmas party and ended up doing something at home. They were surprised that their downsized party was more fun than the lavish ones of their past, predicted it a huge trend (because of course they just created such a thing), and oh by-the-way it’s a little greener way to go.

Well I suppose that makes my very Midwestern friends Alex and Anne trendsetters! They are way ahead of their time because they’ve been throwing this kind of Christmas party for years. It’s one of the best parties I attend and I’ve been to some swank holiday parties let me tell you.

Funny thing is, if you met Alex and Anne, you wouldn’t say that they were trendsetters at all. They don’t wear trendy clothes or drive sports cars or even a Prius. Their traditional Christmas party also flies in the face of any green cynic who says that Christmas, and parties, and gifting are a wasteful, unthoughtful, consumer-ridden humbug that we should just remove from our yurts completely. Because they are the type of people who, like most of my friends, emphasize people and fun. Although our idea of fun is usually a little kookier than most.

The Party, the Details, the Fun!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Green Moms Carnival: Saving Money through Green Means

This month, The Green Moms Carnival takes on the myth that going green means spending tons of money. I’m so excited to host this, my first Green Mom’s Carnival because the topic is close to my heart.
Unlike the message we constantly see in the popular green media, my fellow Green Moms demonstrate that you don’t have to spend exorbitant amounts of cash to green your life. Well, unless you want to, I suppose. Quite honestly, most of my favorite green living tips are the ones that save money as well as the world we live in. Yes, Virginia, you can have both.

Enough of my prattling, on with the Carnival!


Kid Stuff

Monday, November 16, 2009

How to Conduct a DIY Home Energy Audit

Unlike some areas of the United States, my local gas and electric companies do not offer free home energy audits to their customers. After much digging on my gas company’s Website, I found a link to the Energy Star Website that allowed me to conduct a DIY home energy audit using their Home Energy Yardstick. Best of all this service is free. I like free. Free is good.



I entered information about my home from the last 12 months of my natural gas and electric utility bills, clicked Submit and hoped for the best. The Home Energy Yardstick gave me an energy performance grade (Below Average to Above Average) and a score on a ten point scale.

Once I found out how much energy my home used last year, I needed to check the energy efficiency of the structure and mechanicals. Pros do with this inferred cameras and blower door test gizmos. Fortunately I was able to find most of the same information on my own with a flashlight, a candle, and a some poking and prodding around the house.

How to Do a Free DIY Energy Audit in Ten Easy Steps

Thursday, November 5, 2009

6 DIY Recycling Ideas for Non DIYres

It only takes a short drive to go from my city that has a formal recycling program for glass, paper, metal, and plastic to tiny rural town America that tried and failed to make their city recycling program pay for itself. They reluctantly canceled the program.

In a situation like that I would take the DIY approach to recycling and reducing my household waste. But what do you do if you aren’t a DIYer, don’t have the skills, or time? Don’t worry; you can easily recycle items if you put your mind to it. Here are six DIY ways to reuse items even if you are not a DIYer.

Six Ways to Recycle When You Don't Have Time


1. Paint Halloween pumpkins instead of carving and use as food later. This year I painted my pumpkin which means it didn’t uh, self compost early like Husband’s carved pumpkin. The day after Halloween, I cut the pumpkin in half, scooped out the seeds for roasting, composted the goop, and then roasted, drained, and pureed the pumpkin for food. I froze 8 cups of puree from that pumpkin – that will make a lot of pumpkin soup!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Wine Box Wall Treatment

While I was in Chicago, met up with some of the other members of the Green Moms Carnival and went out to eat at an Italian restaurant. After we were seated at our table, I looked at the focal wall in the restaurant – it was covered in the fronts of wine boxes – genius!

I think this wall treatment would work in a dining room or bar area in a home as a focal wall.


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Fortunately I was eating with a bunch of fellow bloggers and good friends who thought nothing of me whipping out my camera and taking a few photos of this creative reuse wall treatment in public.

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My dinner companions. Left to right ; Micaela of Mindful Momma, Maryanne of Not Quite Crunchy Parent, Karen of The Best of Mother Earth, Jennifer of The Smart Mama, Beth of Fake Plastic Fish, Me! Lisa of Condo Blues, Lynn of Organic Mania


Public photo snapping in inopportune times is quickly becoming a blogger occupational hazard – especially when I want to document a great recycled art project like this.

What do you think?

This post is part of Trash to Treasure Tuesday.

Monday, August 3, 2009

10 Ways for College Students to Go Green on the Cheap

I learned a lot of my own green and thrifty ways during college, mostly due to thrift because I was responsible for paying my way through college. I quickly learned that by changing habits and reusing things I could save money in order to pay for the more expensive items in my budget: rent, books, tuition, and food, while still reducing waste.



That’s why I try to present options for green living and money saving tips. I’ve been doing the green and simple living thing long before it was fashionable and before many environmentally friendly items were available or affordable for the average working adult, let alone the average starving college student.

Here’s a list of 10 tips for college students who want to go green and save money doing it.

Friday, June 19, 2009

What Can You Do with Mint?

I grow mint in a pot on my patio and as the saying goes, you never grow just a little mint – it grows like a weed and quickly turns into a lot of mint.

Needless to say, my one little mint plant as turned into a boatload of mint! So far I’ve used mint to make:

  • Hot tea

  • Mint iced tea

I’m running out of ideas. I’m experiencing mint overload! What can I do with so much mint? I don’t want to waste it; I want to find a use for it. Help!


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This is Condo Blues’ submission for the July Green Moms Carnival where our topic is Food Matters confessions. The Carnival will be held at Eco Village Musings. Please check it out after Wednesday, July 13th!

Monday, May 11, 2009

What’s this Yellow Mold Doing in My Compost?

As with most newly built homes, my developer sold off all of the wonderfully fertile topsoil in my neighborhood and built our homes on the clay subsoil residing underneath. Unfortunately the builder didn’t put any topsoil back into the planting areas. Ever try to grow anything in clay soil? It doesn’t work very well.



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Before I can even consider turning this dirt patch into a raised garden bed I need to mix organic material into the clay soil – preferable compost. Fortunately, sneaky person that I am I have a big ol’ composter making some fertilizer for me by way of a garbage can I made into a compost bin that fully complies with my Homeowner’s Association Rules. My first batch of compost came out well. After feeding the Covert Urban Composter food scraps all winter it was time to check how much Gardner’s Gold I had to work with this spring.

I mosey on over to the compost bin in the backyard. I take a look. I see this.



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I get grossed out.

After some research I discovered that this yellow spongy, foamy and phallic looking blob is a slime mold. Specifically, Dog Vomit Slime Mold .



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Aptly named don’t you think?

Dog Vomit Slime mold (gosh you just don’t get to type that several times in one sitting do you?) usually develops in damp, shady areas where there is a lot of decaying organic matter like soggy flower beds that use bark mulch.

This makes perfect sense because we’ve had a very rainy Spring. When I took the lid off of the compost bin everything was water logged. There was slime mold all over the top and sides of my compost. And boy did it ever stink! Bad.


How Do You Get Rid of Dog Vomit Slime Mold?

Easy. You don’t.

First off Dog Vomit Slime mold is not harmful to people, plants, or pets. In fact, some people in Mexico eat slime mold.

No thanks, I’ll pass.

It’s lifecycle is very short. When slime mold first appears it’s usually bright yellow and can grow as it chows down on the decaying wet leaves and whatnot (legend has it that slime molds were the inspiration for the kitschy 1958 sci-fi movie The Blob.) Next, the slime mold turns light brown and finally dries into dark, powdery spores. The whole process can take a couple of hours or a couple of days.

If this slime mold grew in the mulch in my flower beds I could just leave it and it would go away on its own. In this case I was advised to throw the moldy compost out.

Oh and just to you gross you out a little further, when I emptied the bin I found a nice big family of maggots in my compost.

Yummy.

Once the compost bin was empty I was told to clean it with either bleach (no thanks) or hydrogen peroxide (yes, please.) I mixed up a solution of hydrogen peroxide based “oxygen” bleach and water and used that to clean the compost bin inside and out, including the lid. I let the clean bin dry in the sun.

I emailed Gardener's Supply Ask an Expert and asked them how I could prevent my compost from molding again. This is what they said.


If you're developing mold in your compost pile it certainly sounds like the materials are too wet most of the time. Drilling more aeration holes would definitely help the ability of the pile to receive more air and should keep the materials more dry. Too much moisture will drown the microorganisms, and too little will dehydrate them. A general rule of thumb is to keep the material in your compost pile as moist as a well-wrung sponge.

To do their work most efficiently, microorganisms require a lot of oxygen. When your pile is first assembled, there will probably be plenty of air between the layers of materials. But as the microorganisms begin to work, they will start consuming oxygen. Unless you turn or in some way aerate your compost pile, they will run out of oxygen and become sluggish.


When your pile is very wet, try adding materials to sock up some of the moisture, such as paper, dried leaves, sawdust, or straw. Keeping a good balance between these "brown" ingredients, and the "green" ingredients such as grass clippings and food waste is very important
To make sure that I didn’t have moldy, soggy, maggoty compost again, I drilled more aeration holes in the bottom and sides of the Covert Urban Compost Bin. This last batch of compost was mostly kitchen scraps so I’m going to concentrate on adding more paper from my paper shredder for "browns." I’m also going to ask the lawn service to leave the grass clippings on our lawn so I can rake them up and put them in my compost bin. Oh, and this time I’ll try to turn the compost more often because last time I didn’t mix my compost at all - oops.

Looking for more compost options? Check out the following options - and more! - below!
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This is Condo Blues’ submission for the May Green Moms Carnival where our topic is gardening. The Carnival will be held at Green and Clean Mom. Please check it out after May 18th!