When baking, follow directions. When cooking, go by your own taste. ~Laiko Bahrs

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Frugal Tips

 Yesterday I mentioned that I was reading a book called "Go Green, Live Rich" by David Bach. It has "50 simple ways to save the earth"

In Chapter 1, it talks about knowing your impact on the planet. I went to the website it provided and found my carbon footprint. Below is my score...

How Your ECP Score Works
Your ECP score is linked to your private Earth Conservation Plan. Generally, ECP scores range from 150 – 900, the lower the better. Your ECP score is calculated based on six categories related to Home, Energy, Work, Commute, Travel and Lifestyle.

I don't think I did too shabby but there is room for improvement. 

That was Tip #1....
Tip #2, talks about the Litter Factor. This is a no brainer but one thing I did realize is that my husband takes 2 bottles of water to work with him everyday and both our kids take one too. That is 10 bottles a week for hubby, 5 for Emma and 2 for Dillon. I thought, how can I fix this? I answered myself and really didn't like the answer... I will have to use reusable water bottles and wash them....I hate washing dishes but I will try and find one that is dishwasher safe. I run the dishwasher once a day on average.
That should take care of that problem....
Tip #3-8 talks about the type of car you drive, skipping a trip, biodiesel, and vehicle maintenance. I not going into too much detail here. There is not much we can do about the subject personally because my husband lives 40 miles from his job and we live 12 miles from the nearest major town. We are not going to sale our house and move closer because we love where we live in the country. We are not at a point to where we are able to trade in vehicles for a more energy efficient one but hopefully this spring we will be. The only thing I can take from these tips are to minimize the amount of trips I take into town, which is down to 2 days a week (our son goes to preschool in town). I try and get the majority of my errands done on those days. While I am in the car rider line at school, waiting to pick up my daughter, instead of letting the car idle for 20-30 minutes, I let it run for 5 or so then shut it off until we get cold, then start it and let it run till we are warm and then shut it off, so on and so forth....

Tips #9-16 talk about Greening your home. We have slowly started changing out our light bulbs to Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFL). They use 75% less energy and last 10 times longer. The only draw back is that is contains small amounts of Mercury, meaning, they have to be disposed of properly. For correct disposal see this website.
It also talks about lowering your thermostat a couple of degrees. I hesitated doing this. I like my house warm in the winter and cool in the summer. At night we would turn the heat down because we slept better when it was slightly cooler. Right now we are keeping it on 67-68 even though it has been dropping down into the teens at night. If the house gets really chili, I turn it up to 69-70 to get the chill out of the air and then turn it back down. I guess in a couple of months I will see if there is a change in our electric bill.
 One thing I must improve on is unplugging appliances when they are not in use. I really need to work on this! 

Tips #17 and 18 talk about conservation of water. We are planning on remodeling sometime this year (fingers crossed) so, if I get my way, me might be able to purchase 2 low flow toilets. Considering the older toilets use up to 7 gallons of water each flush and the new ones only 1.6 at the max, I think I could justify the $230 plus price tag.....
Another, would be turning of the tap when brushing your teeth...That's a given people....Stop being lazy. Consider this while you are brushing your teeth, if  you keep the water running, your are wasting on average a GALLON of water. You wouldn't go to the store and purchase a gallon of water and take it home and pour it out in the sink would you???? Don't think so! 

These are all that I am sharing you with today. If you have anything that you would like to add....Link up below and tell us! 

More tips to come next week!

~Remember to put God first, and everything else will follow~

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I am ready to go back!

 We had such a busy weekend I didn't have time to post. And, I find that it is Wednesday already....

Where has the week gone??

I had a catering gig Monday and was really surprised at how well it went. I usually have my husband there with me and if he can't make it (due to work), then I recruit a friend. This time, I had NO ONE but me, myself, and I! At this Lunch-on, I provided:
Green Beans
Caesar Salad
Fresh Fruit
Triple Brownie Threats
Strawberry Mini Delights
Sweet Tea

Hubby cooks all the desserts for me and I just decorate them! He does an awesome Job!! He is my sidekick and I missed him dearly that day!

After it was all said and done, it was a big success!

I have several ways that I could go with this blog today...But, I must settle on one and work on the others later! I really don't have a menu put together for this week, but I can tell you what we had and what we are having tonight! 

Monday: Grilled Cheese and Salads
Tuesday: Fresh Parmesan Tilapia and Cheesy Potato Salad, (kids had organic fries)
And tonight we are having: Chili Glazed Turkey Breast, Green Beans, Rice and Tomatoes, and Salad (Everything that we will be eating will be organic)

As far as the rest of the week goes...I will deal with it later this afternoon and have something planned out I am sure! 

Speaking of organic.....

I went to Whole Foods yesterday ( I LOVE THAT STORE). YES, I did go about my weekly budget but I purchased some items that I felt we needed. I am all about cutting back on the grocery bill, but I do not want to sacrifice our health to do so. When I had lost 70 plus lbs (2 years ago), I was eating really healthy. I found that as I ventured into the "saving money on groceries" game, I started to gain weight back. I wanted to see how much I could get, for the cheap! I have done really well doing so! But, I have also found that the brands we normally would not have eaten, were causing some unwanted side effects. Some people believe that the foods we eat may not have an effect on our kids behavior. I DON'T BELIEVE THAT. I started adding more processed foods into our kids diet and slowly watch them change. Their behavior was nothing like it use to be. They had less energy in some ways but were more rowdy in others. They didn't have the attention span that they once had. I felt as though something was dragging me down, I was always tired and had no clue as to why. People would say, "Well you take care of a household, hubby and 2 kids...no wonder your tired". Yes, this is true, but, I wasn't as tired when I was eating healthy. 

As I mentioned before, I went to Whole Foods yesterday. I purchased $150.01 in groceries, but I had a buggy FULL! I bought several packages of fresh meat from the meat counter, fresh sliced lunch meat from the deli, fresh cheeses from the cheese counter, and several items from the bulk aisle. I did use coupons and received credit in the amount of $.20 for bringing in just 2 bags. At my local Kroger, we only get $.04 per bag. My receipt was just as long as usual and I got everything on my list and more. 

We are trying to stay away from processed foods, added preservatives and lean more towards the organic, all natural foods. With that being said, I do have a pantry still stocked with some processed foods. I have not decided if I want to use these all or donate some to our local food pantry. Either way, they will be used and not thrown away. 

I don't plan on buying everything organic. Fruits and veggies that have thicker peelings, I will purchase at a regular grocery store. We will not be eating the peelings and because they are thicker, pesticides are less likely to penetrate the peel. 

I will however, purchase the milk that is produced from cows that are not given the rBGH hormone. I will purchase meats that are raised and slaughtered the humane way and are fed a healthy diet. We have our own chickens, so we get eggs everyday and we know what we feed them (alot of salad and veggies).
I want to free our bodies of as many toxins as possible, while keeping it in budget, and I think I can do it! I purchased some all natural Laundry soap. It was a bit pricey but I would rather buy it then make my own at this point. I will be going back next week for another grocery trip. It may turn out that I only go twice a month and shop the regular store the other times. 

As far has paper towels and toilet paper, I will buy ones that are made from recycled materials. Since I mentioned it....Recycling is another thing we are taking on....Our daughter already loves to recycle, thanks to her Kindergarten teacher! 

I went to our county library yesterday as well. I picked up 2 books, one which was titled: "Go Green, Live Rich" by David Bach. I am almost half way through the book. It talks about "50 simple ways to save the earth". I will share over the next couple of weeks, some tips that I found very helpful in "greening" our home and bodies! 

I know this has been one of my longer blogs, but I really feel that my priorities have changed as far as our health is concerned. I hope that you find yourself thinking about what ways you can green your body and home all while being frugal! Link up below and tell me what you are doing!

~Remember to put God first, and everything else will follow~