Saturday, March 31, 2012

Kids Choice

Tonight my entire family is gathered around the TV set. Normally, this would irritate me to no end. I hate it when everyone just zones into the TV instead of spending quality time together. Tonight is different. 
My kids have really been looking forward to Nickelodeon's Kids Choice Awards. We are watching it together, laughing, talking about who could be "the creepy voice," and singing along to the songs. The kids love pointing out the celebrities and I'm not sure how much longer my son will be able to sit before he jumps up and starts dancing. He loves to perform! The green slime elicits such delight in my living room each time it gets dumped on somebody new! This is interactive television viewing. We are interacting with each other, something that TV normally prohibits by its nature. That's what makes this time so wonderful. 
I have to go so I can join the fun again. Commercial break over! If you miss the original airing at 8pm, look for reruns so you can share this with your kids. It's so worth it!
PS: Don't forget! Tomorrow night is the deadline to enter the giveaway! See Thursday's and Friday's posts for more details.

Friday, March 30, 2012

You Name the Giveaway!

I didn't get a lot of response to the Soap Nuts giveaway so I am going to do two things:

  1. Extend the deadline to enter. The new deadline is Sunday at midnight. To get up to 3 entries see the original post from March 29.
  2. Ask what you want. What do you want me to give away next? Comment and tell me what you want! I will choose one idea that is within reason for my next contest. 
Get out and enjoy the weather tomorrow and I will see you back here tomorrow night friends. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Soap Nuts: Review and Giveaway

Maybe you've heard of soap nuts? Or  maybe you're saying "soap what?" right about now. Soap nuts are actually the seeds of soap berries, which actually do grow on trees. In fact, you can order seeds to plant your own!
I thought this was an interesting idea for a greener alternative to laundry detergent. So I did some checking online and found a company that offered a trial size for a very low price. Just a few soap nuts, cracked, in a little cotton drawstring sack, came in the mail. I was doubtful to be honest. This little sack was supposed to clean about 5 loads of laundry. Even though I found it hard to believe, I was eager to try them.
Was I surprised! I washed 7 loads before they began feeling sticky, which is apparently a sign that they are finished. They also were losing their scent at that point. Their natural scent is actually a fresh clean soapy scent, much like Ivory bath soap, but very faint on the clothes after they are dry. The clothes got nice and clean, too, much to my amazement! I still don't know exactly how the soap nuts work but they do!
I ordered my soap nuts from Green Virgin Products and you can click their name to go directly to their site. According to the card that came in the package, their soap nuts cost about 10 cents per load versus more than 20 cents per load for the leading detergent, they are totally green and natural, and they eliminate the need for fabric softener. I plan to order more.
Intrigued? I am giving away two Soap Nuts Samplers from Green Virgin Products. To enter, do one or more of the following:

  • Join Mama Making Changes using the link on the right side of this page. You will need a Google account for one entry.
  • Leave a comment on this article by clicking below for one entry. 
  • Share a link to this article on facebook by using the button below, then post the link to your Facebook post in a comment below. This gets you 2 entries (one for the comment and one for the share). 
Deadline to enter is midnight on Friday, March 30, 2012. Winner will be announced here and will also be contacted personally the following night. Best of luck!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mama's Gonna Get Dirty!

Oh yeah! You heard me right! I am ready to get dirty! Muddy, to be more specific! I have decided that I would be more motivated to get in shape if I had reason, a goal. As a result, I am getting together a group of friends to do the U.S. Marine Corps Mud Run on April 21 in Columbia, SC. 
The Mud Run is a 5 mile mud obstacle course done as a fundraiser for survivors of late Marines. The course is designed by drill sergeants and they even have drill sergeants along the course to yell at you.Teams of four compete for the best time. The race starts with a short sprint. After that, all of the obstacles are in the mud. One example is going on your belly through a mud pit that has logs across it and having to go under the logs when you get to them. Others require more upper body strength, such as swinging from ropes across a mud pit, climbing a wall, and more. Fun right? I think it will be! And at the end of the race, one teammate has to be carried by another to the finish line. 
There is also a kids version the same day. Two of my children are competing and they are so excited. 
We  don't have much chance of placing in the top 10, much less 1st. We just hope to be able to finish! We are planning to train hard, have fun competing, and go home feeling a sense of accomplishment. 
Visit if you want to participate here in SC. There is another one in October if April is too soon for you. If you aren't in SC, check online for a Mud Run near you. These events are all over the nation. Pictures will be posted when the time comes!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Quality Time

We did it! We made a reusable shopping bag from a shirt! For anyone who didn't see it, I posted the directions last week, so you can look back if you missed it. This was super easy! My daughter sewed the bottom after I showed her how and I cut out the top. Then, ta-daa! All done! 
This project was a great ending to a great day. After we did a little shopping for flip flops and a new sundress this morning, we went to the library to check out some books and have school. We love the library for a change of scenery when we get tired of doing school at home. We just grab a big table in the back and spread out. It's peaceful and easier to stay focused. When we do need a break, we look for books to check out, go to the water fountain and get back to work. 
After dinner I worked on the garden for a while and my daughter played with her puppy. I took a break to play catcher so she could practice pitching for softball. Just before dark, we took a nice walk. We tried speed walking tonight and then jogged the last stretch. Wow! What a step up from our usual walk! It felt good, though, especially in the cool evening air. 
After our walk, we did some chores and sat down together to do our sewing. This was the first time she had used a needle and thread. You see the fruits of our labor. And my daughter never even asked to turn the TV on tonight because she was having fun making her new bag. In fact, she gave me a big afterward and thanked me for taking the time to do this with her! I love it!

Late Night Updates

It's very late so I will keep it short and sweet tonight. We had a great sports experience tonight watching my son's baseball game. All of the kids played and they still won! I emailed a member of the board of directors for our local soccer association about yesterday's experience. And now it is out of my hands. I vow to let it be.
As for me and my garden, well every day that my husband is home to work on it we get bad weather! For two weeks this has been a problem, but I am not giving up. About a fourth of the garden is ready for planting and hopefully the rest will be finished this week. Pictures will be posted when it's finished!
The t-shirt bag that I was going to make over the weekend? My daughter and I are going to make one or more tomorrow and we will definately post pics, good or bad. Haha.
Our recycling is right on track! In fact, my husband is struggling to keep up with all of the bags of sorted recyclables that we keep piling by the door for him to take to the dump. On the other hand, he doesn't have nearly as much nasty garbage to take!
Hope everyone has a great night and I will be back earlier tomorrow night. Sweet dreams!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Self-Confidence Before Scoreboards

There are two different attitudes in kids' sports. There are those who want to see the children grow through their experiences, become more coordinated and physically fit, and gain self-confidence. Then there are those who just want to win, even if it is at the expense of some of the children. I am in the former. My daughter's coach is in the latter. Well, her former coach. I let her quit today. 
I have always told my children to think carefully before jumping into anything, even sports, because if you start it I will require that you finish it. I believe that this is a valuable and important lesson for children. Today was different. Today I saw my child sit on the bench for an entire game. 
She is used to sitting on the bench for long periods. She typically plays 1/4 or less of each game. However, she loves the sport and feels that the friends she has made and the skills she has learned at practice made it worth going another season. She also told me that if she worked hard, perhaps she would get to play more. I agreed to let her go back for the Spring season because I thought she had a wonderful attitude. I kept my opposing opinion to myself.
Then today happened. She sat the whole game while my family, even her grandmother who made a special trip to watch her play, got more and more frustrated. We drove out of town. We drive out of town for almost all of the games. I volunteer as the team manager. And this is a team that we pay to be part of. We pay a lot. Furthermore, she was invited to the team. So why is she sitting an entire game? The coach told me afterward that it was not a punishment; she just didn't want my daughter to play because she didn't want the best players to come out of the game for even a few minutes lest we lose! 
My child no longer wanted to play. I made an exception to my rule and let her quit. She quit before we left the field. Was that the right decision? I told my family in explaining why I made an exception...Jesus said to turn the other cheek, meaning do not fight. But would you stand in the middle of the road and let a car run over you? No, you would step out of the way. That is what we did today. We stepped out of the way of those who would run over my daughter. There are other seasons and other teams. Her confidence and self-esteem and happiness are more important than the score of the game. 
Stand with me. Let coaches know that children's sports are about so much more than points. Share this if you agree. Disagree? I would love to hear your opinion. Leave a comment and tell me what you think. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sunday Dilemma

It's the weekend and around my house that means soccer. You know I love kids' sports and I am thankful for my little athletes. Sports keep my kids outdoors and active.
But this weekend we have games on Sunday. What happened to the days of never having practice or games on Wednesday or Sunday? I guess that idea is going the way of stores that close during church hours. Where did the Sunday drive go? Even if we could afford the gas, who has time to just ride around aimlessly, enjoying the scenery and the company? I wish I did! I am always working or going to soccer games! We don't just have games on Sunday, we have games on Sunday morning! When we go to tournaments the same thing happens. If we don't play, we forfeit the game and it counts as a loss, so what are we to do?
I guess I will have to watch church online this week. Thank goodness I can do that!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Gettin' Churched

I love my church. I really do. I have been a member for about two years and in that time I have made so many changes in my life. My church motivates me to make positive changes for myself and for my family. I never got that before I found Newspring. Heard of it? It's a new kind of church, very different from the traditional model. Pastor Perry Noble, fondly known by members as Pastor P, believes in an honest, in your face, bible based, style of preaching that leaves little room for excuses. When I found Newspring, I needed that! As did the rest of my family!
Like the famed lyrics from Michael Jackson, change has to start with "the man in the mirror" (or woman in my case). I am not where I want to be yet as a Christian. But I am getting closer and closer. I have stopped caring what others think about my Christianity and started following what my Bible says instead. I am teaching my children as I learn. My husband is walking this walk with me and it really brings us closer to each other. We are each the other's checks and balances. 
It's a wonderful thing when you rediscover the joy of being a Christian, the sheer happiness and hope that comes with faith! No matter what happens, I praise God for all that he has given us! What a wonderful thing to be constantly reminded of the great gifts in my life! Regardless of how my day goes, I get to come home to a comfortable home, my children and my husband, my pets, and a kitchen full of food! 
When I go to church, it's like going to a party. I go to celebrate! I love the music, which at Newspring is Christian rock and pop. But I also go to learn and to be reminded. I need that weekly reminder and miss it when I miss church for some reason. A reminder to be thankful for what I have, to thank Jesus for his sacrifice, to praise God, to pray, to give, to get in a right attitude for the coming week. 
If you are not in a church already, try Newspring. If you are not near a Newspring campus, you can watch online at every Sunday at 9:15 and 11:15 or watch old services at anytime. See you at church?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Free Reusable Shopping Bags for Thrifty Mamas

I saw the cutest idea on! Make a reusable shopping bag from an  old t-shirt! You know how I feel about plastic (yuck!) and these are a great alternative to costly reusable bags that you buy in stores. At the same time, finding a new use for an old item is a great way to cut back on the amount of trash we send to the landfill. Did you know that the average American creates 4.5 lbs of garbage per day? At that rate, over a 60 year period, 10 people could produce nearly 1 million pounds of garbage! So I am all for any ideas to reduce that number. This isdea is absolutely ingenious and super cute! I plan to make one this weekend! I will post a picture as soon as it's finished. Let me know how it goes if you finish first. Here's my spin on the directions:

1. Use a muscle shirt if available or line up the seams where the sleeves are attached and cut the sleeves off so that the seam is also removed.  
2. Using a medium mixing bowl, outline a circle around the neck opening that is larger than the original opening. Cut out the circle you draw. 
3. Turn the shirt inside out and line up the bottom hem. Then sew straight across the bottom of the shirt, just above the hem line, to close it up.
4. Turn the shirt right side out and voila! A Shopping bag!

Hints: Depending on the fabric, you may want to sew around the neck and sleeve openings to prevent fraying. Or use fray check. Also, thicker, less stretchy fabrics work best. And the bigger the shirt, the bigger the bag, so  a baby doll tee will work but you will end up with a smaller bag. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

10 Easy Ways to Get Greener Now

I have really done a lot of research and reading about greener living. Like I said before, I implemented small changes in our household along and along. I am just now starting to get serious about becoming a more eco-friendly and self-sustaining household. This is and will continue to be a difficult journey at times because some changes are uncomfortable. But there are some changes you can make that don't require much of an adjustment. My top ten suggestions:

  1. Recycle. You don't have to go all in to start with. Choose just plastic for starters. Plastic is a synthetic material made from petroleum. Some are more toxic than others. When these are are burned they produce toxic fumes and when they sit in landfills they pollute the ground and water. Most plastics are recyclable and, once you start separating them from the rest of your trash, you will be shocked at how much plastic your household uses.
  2. Change your thermostat by one degree. Seriously. Just one degree up on the air conditioning and one degree down on the heat will make a difference in your electric bill. If everyone in America would take this one simple step, we could affect the country's energy consumption dramatically. For a bigger difference, make a bigger adjustment.
  3. Turn off the water while you brush your teeth. This will save up to 5 gallons of water per day per family member, reducing your water bill and conserving water.
  4. Rent movies.  You could pay $20 for a new DVD or you could rent it for about $4. Better yet, get a subscription for unlimited rentals at an online service like Netflix. The same $20 would get you 3 DVDs at a time with no limit on the number per month at Watch fewer movies? The plans go as low as $5.99 per month. Too many movies end up on trash piles. If you do have movies or CDs to get rid of, donate them to your local library.
  5. Use a refillable water bottle. More Americans are trying to get healthy and one easy step is to drink more water. Unfortunately, being creatures of convenience, we find it easy to reach for pre-packaged bottled water. These brings us back to the problem in Step #1. Put a filter on your tap and refill your own bottle.
  6. Use both sides of the paper. Teach your kids to always use the front and back of their notebook paper and drawing paper. Schools throw away a tremendous amount of paper daily. For a bigger impact, ask your school about starting a recycling program for all that paper! Also, buy recycled paper whenever possible.
  7. Give up styrofoam. Opt for paper if you must use disposable cups or plates. Styrofoam is a man-made material that is not biodegradable, which means it will never break down into a natural form. It may erode over a long period of time into smaller pieces, but in a landfill situation it may take hundreds of years.
  8. Use your own bags. If you forget to bring them with you, choose paper over plastic if it's offered. Paper bags can be re-used as recycling bins when you get home (just one of many ways to re-use them) and they hold more items. This point also take us back to the issues in Step #1.
  9. Join a CSA. Community Supported Agriculture is a wonderful thing. Pay a yearly fee and each week  during the growing season you can pick up a basket of fresh, local produce. One local organic farmer near me charges $400 for a half share or $700 for a full share. The half share is approximately 4 pounds per week for 28 weeks. That's more than 100 pounds of organic locally grown produce for $400! It's a great deal if you can afford the up front cost and some will let you make payments! Go to to enter your zip code and find a CSA near you. 
  10. Dry your razor. This may sound cheap but it works! Razor blades degrade primarily from water, not use. Dry your razor after each use with a hair dryer or space heater. It only takes a few seconds and you can get up to a year out of each blade! I don't mean a dull blade that nicks your skin. I am talking a razor that stays sharp for up to a year! If every American used this trick, how many disposable razors would be saved from landfills?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Considering Chickens

Yes, you heard me. Chickens. I am seriously considering chickens. How cool would it be to send the kids out to gather eggs for breakfast? I gathered eggs when I was a kid and I thought it was fun. I spoke to my husband about it. He thinks it would be great, too. And, if he built a moveable coop, they would fertilize our back yard. (I learned that from reading Joel Salatin.)
Unfortunately, I'm not sure it would be wise economically unless we wanted to eat the chickens. But we also agree that we could not kill a chicken. So would it make sense to invest in a hen house and chickens and feed for them on an ongoing basis? Maybe we could sell chicks? Would that make it worthwhile? Or am I just crazy? Who knows more about this? Advise me please!

Monday, March 19, 2012

To eBay or Not to eBay

One of the changes I've been wanting to make around my home is reducing the amount of clutter in my house. Every time I put something in a closet or on a shelf, it seems to reproduce until there is no more room for anything and I am forced to take something back out or back down and deal with it.
Well, I have become determined to tackle this problem. I have spent many weeks cleaning out closets and under beds and off book shelves and more. Everything has gone into a spare room that we do not use. It is ridiculous how much stuff is in there now! How did we ever get so much extra and unnecessary stuff?
The question quickly became what to do with the stuff that I was getting rid of? Knowing that we could use some extra cash, I decided around Christmas to try to sell some things on eBay. I'm still selling. I have learned so much in the process. Following are some things I wish I'd known before starting to sell on eBay:
  • Clothes sell better and for more money when the season is changing.
  • If it's heavy, don't bother. The shipping will eat you alive.
  • If it weighs more than 13 ounces, you'll probably save money shipping Priority Mail (and please customers who will leave "positive feedback" on your account).
  • Jeans are heavy. Charge enough for shipping.
  • If you offer free shipping and/or 1 day handling, eBay will increase your visiblity (just adjust the price of the item to be sure you don't lose money).
  • Books don't sell as well as you think they will.
  • Ebay charges will eat up about 10% of the money you collect. Supplies will take another 10%.
  • Paypal is a must! Set up a Paypal account before you start!
  • Always start low and be willing to take that amount. You probably won't have to, but the low starting price attracts more bidders.
The easiest thing to sell out of all the things I've listed? Kids' clothes! Especially if they are a good name brand. I recommend you try it. It really is easy to do, especially if you download the Android App, and you will make more money than you would at a garage sale. I like to leave the money in my Paypal account and spend on eBay later. The only down side I see is the time it takes to list the items and then package and ship them. I look forward to some comments and questions on this subject. Do you eBay? Do you know a better way to get rid of all that stuff? Maybe you can teach me a thing or two!

Missed Ya'll

Sorry I missed my post last night! Check in tonight for my newest post. This time I'll be talking about eBay. And believe me, I have a lot to say!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Joel Salatin, A New Kind of Hero

When I read an article in Time magazine called "This Land Is Your Land" (October 24, 2011), I was absolutely inspired. All the things I had been thinking of changing in our lifestyle, all of the things I had been dreaming of for my family, the life I wish I knew I wanted when I was younger...all of these things and more are happening right now at Polyface Farm in Virginia.
Joel Salatin, owner of Polyface Farm has become an inspiration for many young Americans, myself included, who want to return to a way of life that has become harder and harder to find...the life of a self-sustaining American farm family. His mother lives on the property, as well as him, his wife, his children, and his grandchildren. They do have some of the conveniences of modern life like electricity, but they also chop wood for heat, grow their own food, preserve food for winter, home school their children, and sell to the local community for cash. Salatin's methods are not only organic, he has created new methods of farming that are more productive and better for the land than previous methods. He offers internships to teach others to do what he does and does speaking engagements about the importance of breaking away from large corporate farming methods. He offers all of his methods to the world because he wants us to follow in his footsteps.
So, is it fair to call Joel Salatin a new kind of hero? Perhaps not, since what he's doing isn't really so new. What he wants for us is a return to a way of life that is nearly lost. But he is an inspiration to those of us who are looking for a better way. I am currently reading Salatin's book, Folks This Ain't Normal , and another of his books, You Can Farm is next on my list (it's on hold for me at the local library...they sent me a text yesterday to say it's in). I can assure you, as I read there will be more to come on this subject!
Check out the Time article at,9171,2096846,00.html or see the link to Polyface Farms in my Favorite Links section at the bottom of the page.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Sports Win this Saturday

Whoo! What a day! I didn't even get my walk that I was determined to take! After spending the entire morning at the doctor's office, I was able to get to work only five minutes late (I was supposed to be there at noon). I got home after dark and I just don't think it's safe for a woman to walk alone after dark. I consider myself pretty tough, but not stupid. I did take the puppy out to walk around the front yard for about 15 minutes, but I was so upset about not getting to take a walk that I opted for 5 minutes of stair climbing when I got back inside. Ha! Got some exercise after all! And wow! That really got my heart pumping! 
Our gardening will have to be done on Sunday. Tomorrow I get to take my daughter to play soccer 2 hours away. We will be leaving home at 7:15 and getting back here around 4:30. That should leave plenty of time for a walk when we get home. I think I'll be ready for it after all that sitting in the car and sitting on the sidelines. Opening day for baseball is tomorrow, too, so my husband will going with my son to watch him play all day. I love team sports for the kids, though. I think the benefits for them far outweigh the inconvenience they sometimes cause us grown-ups. My kids are in excellent shape physically because sports have never been optional in our home. Each of them is always in at least one sport. In fact, many times we had to tell the kids that they were involved in too many sports and needed to narrow it down some (for my sake!). At one point, my oldest son was taking riding lessons and tae kwon do, as well as playing baseball and tennis! In his spare time, he liked to rollerblade (how he found that spare time is beyond me!). Bottom line? These soccer Saturdays are a good thing. 
Now go forth and recycle, or do some gardening, or take a walk, or watch your kids play sports. What is on your Saturday to-do list?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Endomondo Workout

More than 30 views in my first two days! That's exciting! Thanks to everyone who is reading! We are still recycling. Did you know that KFC gives you reusable and recyclable containers for your sides now? You can wash them in the dishwasher and stick them in the cabinet! Yay! (Guess what we had for dinner last night?) 
Just finished watering the seedlings that I bought for the new garden. So excited to be able to get them in the ground this weekend!
Thinking of other ways to get healthier, I decided to quit talking and start acting on my weight-loss. Yesterday I went for a 10 minute walk before work and it left me so energized! That was all I needed to get excited. Last night I downloaded an app for my droid called Endomondo PRO and this morning I took the time to enter my statistics and get it ready to track my workouts. It even has contests with real prizes like fitness equipment and sportswear. I entered two. Endomondo uses real-time GPS technology to track your walking, jogging, cycling, and more. It can measure your time, distance, speed, and calories burned. It keeps a running total and allows you to choose whether to simply track your workout or set a time or distance goal. You can even make your goal to beat your last workout. You can set it to automatically send workout data to Facebook, too, which helps with accountability and may even get you some recognition from your friends. Who couldn't use a pat on the back (or a "like") after a sweaty jog? Pretty cool, huh? 
So, of course, I used Endomondo today! My daughter and I took the puppy and hit the streets of our neighborhood with my cell phone in hand. We managed to a brisk 20 minute walk just before I went to work. Endomondo says we walked .87 miles and even gave us our speed in real time while we walked, as well as our average speed at the end. We started out at over 7 mph but on the last bit we were under 3 mph. Haha! Okay, maybe I was a little ambitious today. I did have ankle surgery last summer and haven't walked any more than necessary since. My ankle and foot are both pretty sore tonight. But I plan to walk again tomorrow! Who's with me? Let me know if you have used Endomondo and your thoughts on it. I love it!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Not-So-Secret Garden

Our recycling is going so well around that we keep running out of room in the laundry room! My daughter now moves the full bags to the back door and puts new ones out in the laundry room as needed. My husband or I can just grab them and go when we are ready to go to the dump. Thinking about whether there might be a better system that won't take up so much space. Any comments?
In the meantime, I have gone to the local farmer's supply and gotten materials for a raised garden. I grow tomatoes most years and sometimes cucumbers, but this year I want a bigger garden with more variety. I picked a spot up against the porch that is surrounded by sidewalk and my husband has agreed to remove all of the grass and prepare the soil for me this weekend. I bought him a new square shovel that he is planning to sharpen on a grinder so removing the grass shouldn't be too hard. Then we plan to mix our soil with MiracleGro Organic gardening soil. Next we plan to build up three rows, each three to four feet wide, with lower walking paths between them. 
I am ready to start planting too! I bought seeds and seedlings while I was there...carrots, sweet onions, sweet banana peppers, romaine lettuce, and brussesl sprouts. Hey, you can never have enough tomatoes! So I also have heirloom tomatoes, early girl tomatoes, and cherry tomatoes. I can taste them already!
Anyone want to share a favorite way to use garden fresh vegetables? One of my personal summer favorites is caeser salad. Also, try halved brussels sprouts lightly browned in olive oil with salt and pepper, just till tender. Yum, yum, yum!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mama's Ready for More

Mama's Ready for More
I've been thinking for years about all of the things we could do and should do around our home to make our lives healthier, simpler, and greener. I've been thinking about big changes and little ones. I've implemented some of my ideas, but lately I've been thinking that I need to implement all of them, one by one. This blog will be my daily reminder, my accountability, and my story. 
I hope to lead the way for many moms who are tired of keeping up with the Jones' and are ready to make their own changes. I want more out of life...for myself and my family...than what I've been getting. I want more than going to work, schoolwork with the kids, laundry and dishes, and overspending on the "right" clothes. I want to teach my kids that health is a priority, both their own health and the health of the planet. I want to spend more time with them. I want to be a better example for them. I want so much more!
My first step? Recycling. Serious recycling. We started recycling all of our recyclable plastic about 2 years ago, but we stopped there. But in the past few weeks, we have started recycling paper products and aluminum also. My recycling takes up more room than my garbage now! The kids have to be reminded and I have pulled quite a few things out of the trash can. But we will do this! 
What have I discovered already? We have considerably reduced the amount of trash bags we use! I mean seriously reduced! In the past, we used up to 2 bags each day! After starting to recycle our plastic, we cut that in half. Now we are only using 2 or 3 bags per week! I am asking for paper bags at the grocery store because they stand up side by side neatly in the laundry room for all of our recyclables. They line up neatly in the backseat when it's time to go to the dump, too. Then after the bags are emptied into the correct bins at the garbage dump, we drop the bags into the cardboard/paper bin. It's quite efficient! I've also learned that we were trashing an amazing amount of paper and cardboard! Packaging makes up most of it. I find myself wondering if manufacturers couldn't avoid most of this packaging. I also find myself pondering how much less waste would end up in landfills if everyone recycled. Could recycling be made mandatory? What products use more responsible packaging? Interesting questions. Thoughts anyone?