How Recycling Works

imageHave you ever wondered what happens to all those cans, containers and paper after they are hauled off for recycling? RecycleBank has several fun animations showing how it all works. They’re well done and especially great for helping kids understand the process.

RecycleBank

Thrifty Christmas Tips

image I’m absolutely shocked at what people seem to spend on Christmas presents these days! The idea of going into credit card debt for months after the holidays just to buy Christmas presents nearly knocks me off my chair! What ever happened to the days of Laura Ingalls where a hearty meal or a handmade doll was something special? When did we shift our focus from being with those we love to shopping ourselves to death and filling our homes with STUFF? I think we’ve bought into the lie that more is better and we’ve taken for granted the simple things. With the economy in the shape that it is hopefully more people will return to a life of simplicity where gratefulness and contentedness is the norm.
Christmas doesn’t have to be chaotic, expensive or stressful. Here are a few ideas for making your Christmas celebrations more peaceful and thrifty:

*Buy something that the person needs and would enjoy. - I remember how excited I was as a kid when I would get a new nightgown each Christmas. It was something I needed and because I grew up on hand-me-downs it was great to get something brand new!
*Give handmade gifts. I was totally excited when a good friend of mine gave me a set of fabric napkins that she had made. Not only are they a great way to save money, they’re a great GREEN option too!
*Don’t spend a lot on each person. - You might be surprised how far $20 can go!
*Give homemade goodies from the kitchen. Food and treats make excellent gifts because EVERYone eats! It’s a universal present! Some good ideas are cookies, fudge, home-made pasta, canned jellies, salsa, sweet breads, teas, or cookie mixes in a jar. It’s fun to get together a gift basket of things like these.
*Don’t be afraid to give something that’s been gently used. This is especially true of baby clothes and kids toys. This is after all one of the major themes of recycling (Reduce, REUSE, recycle). Most years we give our daughter something purchased from a garage sale and she loves getting something new to HER.

*Finally, take advantage of gift bags. I love gift bags because they’re reusable. As opposed to wrapping paper, they can be re-gifted many times before they need to be thrown out. I even re-use the tissue paper (unless it’s been torn). 

Making Lifestyle Changes

There’s nothing like today’s economy to get one thinking about their life and how they live it. If you’ve recently committed to making some changes in how you live, here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Don’t try to change everything at once. If you attempt to do too much you’ll just end up burned out. Believe me, I’ve tried! Remember that every change you make, no matter how small is still a change for the good. Eventually you will be able to look back and be amazed at all the progress you’ve made!

2. Keep things positive. Think about why you are making a change. This is helpful both for adults as well as children. For example:
We recycle to make good use of our resources. We want to create a cleaner planet and a better world for our children’s children.
We eat healthily because it’s better for our bodies. In reality, it’s tastier too! Once you’ve grown used to eating real whole food you look your appetite for processed foods.
We simplify our lives to help us better appreciate the simple things. Our society tells us that more is better. This just isn’t always true. Does having more “stuff” really make us happier or more at peace? If anything, it just gives us more to worry about.
Living differently than those around us doesn’t make us weird, it makes us unique. A clone isn’t likely to make a good revolutionary. Perhaps we will inspire others to consider a new lifestyle themselves!

3. Connect with like-minded people. It can be hard to keep up a resolution without someone to encourage you on.

Composting Tip

Does your indoor compost bucket start smelling stinky quickly? Here’s a tip I’ve found to be most useful. If you line your compost bucket with newspaper it helps to keep the odor down as well as making it easier to dump it all out once full. The newspaper can go in the compost along with kitchen scraps. Your compost pile shouldn’t smell much if done correctly. All you need is the proper balance between ‘browns’ and ‘greens.’ The newspaper in the bucket serves as a ‘brown’ in amongst all your ‘greens’ and that’s why it helps. :)

Eco-friendly Wallpaper Remover

Well, this weekend we are removing the very LAST of the wallpaper in our house in preparation for painting! I’m very excited about this as I’ve wanted to paint for awhile. I wanted to make sure we used something healthy and eco-friendly though for taking it down. What we did was peeled off the first layer and then sprayed what was left with a vinegar & water mix. After letting it soak for a few minutes we scraped it off with a car window ice-scraper made of plastic. It worked great! We had considered renting a steamer to remove it but this worked so well I’m glad we didn’t bother with that.

I can’t rave enough about vinegar! I use it for cleaning all the time too!

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