This blog chronicles my life as I try to balance healthy lifestyle habits with my husband's penchant for pizza rolls and my daughter's desire to watch iCarly 8 hours a day. It contains a mostly humorous, kind, and somewhat spiritual look at everyday life and the people who live it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things

I've been recently inspired by a post from Deb to think about a few of my own favorite things of the season.  I've not been in a terribly "grateful" space lately as our exterior paint project (The Monster Paint Project) turned into the The Monster Contractor Search, which, when a contractor was finally secured, morphed into its current state: The Monster Rebuild Project.  The back of our house was discovered to be severely water damaged and the wood was, well, mostly gone.  Rotted away.  Underneath the wood siding was just a mess of rotted wood, wet insulation, and shredded paper.  It can be fixed.  But it ain't cheap.

So in order not to dwell on what cannot be changed I decided to turn my thoughts to all of the great stuff going on around me this season.  I no longer have a pumpkin-patch-aged-child but I went anyway.  I love pumpkin patches, nurseries, and garden centers at this particular time of year because there is just something about a fall arrangement of mums, pumpkins, gourds, maybe a scarecrow or two, that is so appealing to me.

This image from is stunning

I love the abundance and simplicity of this arrangement

And while I love candles all year long, the shorter days of fall seem to invite candlelight and candlescapes.  Of course I want all things to be as natural and recyclable as possible, so check out these ideas:

Mother Nature will provide you with plenty of acorns, just look down

What could be simpler or more beautiful?

I think this will be on my Thanksgiving table this year.

I am completely inspired for the front of my house, excited and confident for my tablescape.  There is only one place left to have warmth, softness, and seasonal comfort: the bedroom.  Think down and flannel and you can't go wrong.  Fluffy down, soft flannel, perhaps a chenille throw in case you want to nap on a Sunday afternoon?  Pure seasonal decadence.

It's the layering that makes this bed appear so cozy

Perhaps a few tea lights placed in hollowed-out mini pumpkins on the bedside table?  Imagine the mild, comforting smell of roasting pumpkin you will get when the candles are lit.  This is affordable luxury.  This is you connecting with the season and the passage of time.  Honoring the rhythms of the Earth.

These are a few of my favorite things.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Green Tip Tuesday: How Green is your Car?

Can you believe it?  Another Green Tip Tuesday?  And just when you'd given up hope forever...

Today let's talk about cars.  Over the summer we traded in my big ol' gas guzzling Saturn Outlook (16.9 mpg)

I loved this car, but the gas mileage was awful

for an itty bitty Honda Insight Hybrid (45.6 mpg). 

Obviously no 7 passenger seating here, it was a trade-off

We made the trade because the lease on the Saturn was up anyway and we were looking to buy something less expensive, smaller, and great on gas mileage.  Fortunately you don't have to trade in your old vehicle to "green up" your car.  There are actually lots of little things we can all do that make a big impact.  Most of them involve unlearning what we were taught about cars.

According to a post from Consumer's Report there were two mistakes I was making with my cars:

1.  Oil should be changed about every 3000 miles?  Nope.  That was true for cars 15 years ago, but most cars now are designed to go about 7500 miles between oil changes.  While changing the oil unnecessarily won't hurt the car, it certainly impacts the environment by adding a lot of hazardous waste (oil).  Save yourself some money and change your oil less often.

2.  You should let your engine warm up a few minutes before driving?  Absolutely not.  While my grandfather was right when he told me that, it's no longer true.  Now you are just wasting gas and adding unnecessary carbon monoxide into the air.

I further researched and found an interesting article on a government webpage (so it must be true) about keeping tires properly inflated as a way to save on gas and ensure proper braking.  Less gas = less dependance on petroleum = better for all of us.

Finally I have to mention washing your car.  My husband is a tiny bit fanatical about keeping our cars clean and he usually wants to wash them himself, by hand, in the driveway, regardless of the temperature.  Believe it or not, this is the least green way to go.

I prefer touchless so I don't have to worry about my paint being scratched

 Many car washes now recycle their water but even for those who don't most states require a proper drainage system so the dirty, soapy water doesn't go directly into the groundwater supply.  You can save a lot of water by going to a car wash instead of washing your car yourself.

Frequently I hear people say that they would love to be greener but it is so expensive.  Not true, I say!  You can use all the money you are saving on oil changes and extra gas from not idling your car to pay for your car wash and you'll still come out ahead.

My new car is silver, but it's a lot greener.