Spark of Love this Week: Spoons, Welch, Mail, Vinyl, Shag, and Photos

August 24, 2012

I've had a few sparks of love this week from a few random objects.  I've decided that I may continue this series once a week to share my loves at the moment with readers and hope to spark some love of these items with all of you.  While you read this post I will be on an airplane to Arkansas and will be gone for 10 days.  I will pick back up on September 2nd with updated posts.  Look for photos from my trip because trust me, I will have a TON!  :-)

Such a great tool for someone like me that's definitely a lazy cook.  Less mess on the stove top for sure and for less mess in the kitchen that means less time I have to spend over the stove.  Lazy cook meets Lazy Spoons!  



 Her voice seems to speak to me for some reason and it's a very unique tone.  

Check out this Shake It Out version preformed by the Capitol Children's Choir.






I love that the state of Oregon does their voting by mail.  It's been this way since the citizens of Oregon voted  for it in 1998 through their general election in November of that year.  It is one of the perks of Oregon that I will miss when I move back to the south.  Hopefully other states will follow suit in due time.

Can't have a collection of vinyl without The Mamas & The Papas.

 Finding that the old, brown, shag carpet on my stairs is important to someone in our house.  PITA finds it quite lovely to sleep on.  I find it quite repulsing at times.  


I love shooting random, off topic photos.  I tend to forget that I take them until I look through the photos on my camera and stubble across them once again.  It's almost like finding an old box of photos in the attic and reliving those moments all over again.  The above photo was taken on a rainy day here in Oregon, near Junction City, Oregon.  It's a field of old grave plots, some dating back to the 1800s.  The lone tree in the middle seemed to be begging for me to snap the picture.  So I am making this photo the Random Photo of the week along with my sparks of love.


Eco-Tip:  Toothbrushes are thrown into household trash once a week and about 50 million pounds of plastic toothbrushes tossed in U.S. landfills each year. [1]  for a more eco-friendly option why not try these other options:  Smile² (Smile Squared) made from sustainable bamboo, or Preserve Toothbrushes, which takes back the toothbrush to recycle into new toothbrushes once they are used.  For more tips on going green visit, The Earth and Me Go Green.




    

The "Hype" of Organic Foods

August 21, 2012

Making a switch to organic food is a great way to improve your health, it really is.  Organic foods have been around since the 19th century, but didn't really come into play, for market value, until around the 80s, when people wanted to eat better and improve their health and well-being. 

Not everyone believes that organic food is better than other foods, but as more and more companies are going organic with their food, even foods you once enjoyed as a kid, more consumers are making the switch.   To read more about why organic foods are important, Samuel Fromartz goes into great detail with his book Organic Inc.
When it comes to organic foods, a lot of fruits and vegetables are over-looked when it comes to purchasing them raw.  The list of the Dirty Dozen is a list that all of us should remember when purchasing these foods at the local grocery store, or even at some Farmers Markets.  Not all foods are created equal and most are made with ingredients that you probably wouldn't eat otherwise.  Making the switch to health eating is a great start no matter if it's organic or not, but taking the extra step and going completely organic is a wonderful step in the right direction.  That means cutting out a lot of "processed" foods.  Sorry.  :-)

  Here are a few that might find their way into your cabinet soon.

     

    

     

     

     

     

    

These organic selections are just an option when it comes to going organic in your menu at home.  The links above are sold by the case and stocking up is a great way to help save you money too.  


Eco-Tip:  Cut out the paper towels in your home.  A single-family home of just 3 people can go through a roll and a half each day.  That's 547 1/2 in a year and at $2-$3 a roll that's more than $1,500 a year wasted on nothing but a paper towel.  For a great alternative to paper towels use a stack of inexpensive white dish towels or hand towels for jobs that require a paper towel. This tip courtesy of The Frugal Girl.  Check out other tips at her site and save the planet and yourself some money.  For more tips on going green visit, The Earth and Me Go Green.




    

Recipes: A new Twist on Greek Fruit Parfait


This recipe may seem very simple, but it's oh so yummy and healthy for you.  Greek yogurt has become my new favorite and with added berries and granola, it makes for a very good treat when I am having one of my sweet tooth moments.  Here's what you'll need:   

• 1 cup organic Greek Yogurt
• 1/2 cup fresh organic blueberries (washed)
• 1/2 cup fresh organic strawberries (washed and sliced)
• 1/2 cup granola


Using a deep-set bowl, large-mouth glass, or even a pudding dish, layer ingredients into the bowl starting with the yogurt, then the blueberries, next the strawberries, top with more yogurt and sprinkle with granola.  You can top your parfait with anything from apples to cranberries too!  I've topped mine with a bit of chocolate shavings too!

ENJOY!


Eco-Tip:  Carry your own bags to the grocery store and to the market.  Carrying your own bags cuts down on the amount of paper and plastic waste being sent out of the stores, and cuts down on the amount of paper and plastic waste coming into your home, as well.  For more tips on going green visit, The Earth and Me Go Green.




    

Our Garden Currently: Before and After (My Plants)

I have taken on quite the green thumb over the last week.  I have been a bit MIA due to the weather here in Oregon and have enjoyed just spending time outside doing some gardening, replanting, packing for our trip on Friday (by the way we are leaving for Arkansas next Friday 8/24/12 and won't be back for 10 days), spending time with Skylar before he starts the 3rd grade, and my tan has come together quite well over this summer break.  Oregon sun does actually tan you, believe it or not, ha!  

While getting bits of gardening done, I wanted to share a few pictures of how my efforts have been, and still are,  paying off.

Miniature apple tree.  At the beginning of summer (on the left) it lacked little to be desired, but over the course of the season it has really blossomed out.  I am looking forward to how well it will do next season.  


Herbs.  These were all planted by seed and have really taken off this year.  The Rosemary in the photo above this one has done quite well and I've have already been using snips from it here and there for cooking.  




Skylar's little garden of pumpkins.  Due to the rain we got back in May, his seeds didn't take off as soon as they should, but he does have a few plants showing their faces here and there.  We will see how well they come together when the end of October is here.  I have my fingers crossed for him that he at least gets one pumpkin from his little garden.  :-)

Succulents of Hens and Chicks.

Vines and Potato Vine climbing the fence.



Lilly seed pods.  

Various other flowers and bushes that were grown from seeds.  The flower on the left is called Campanula Get Me and I am hoping it will look similar to THIS when it gets established later.

My very small, but eager Spirea.  

It's been a lot of fun taking the time and tending to plants that I can take with me when I move to Arkansas.  I hope they all get established and are able to take the travelling well from Oregon next summer.  I am eager to get settled in next year and see what all of these plants and flowers can really do once they are in the ground and able to spread.

Let's not forget my sunflowers progress.  Even though these will die at the end of their cycle, they are loving the sun that hits the side of the house.  They have grown a lot in the last few days and have really taken off!  I can't wait to see the flower heads on them once they start blooming.



Hope your garden and flowers are looking just as great as mine this year!


Eco-Tip:  To save even more water while in the shower, consider installing a water-control valve on your shower head or purchase a shower head with the control valve already installed.  The purpose of the valve is to shut the water off at the head so that it doesn't continue to flow as you lather up, shave, etc.  The valve is also nice because it keeps the water at the save temperature before you shut it off.  For more tips on going green visit, The Earth and Me Go Green.




    

Turn a Soda Bottle into a Water Sprinkler

August 13, 2012

I love the thought of re purposing one thing into something else, especially if that something is bound for the trash.  Making something come to life with just a few simple additions and giving it new life is really a lot of fun.  

Here in Oregon, soda and anything else that holds a carbonated liquid has a 5¢ deposit on the bottle that holds the carbonated liquid.  So it's a bit hard to part with a container that can give you back 5¢ in the beginning, but using it for another purpose instead of wasting it is well worth the 5¢.  


With just a simple hole punched into the 2-liter bottle you can create a really cool water sprinkler for your flower beds.  By controlling the flow of the water you can use it to water about anything really.  I even was filling the dog's water bowl with it because I liked it so well.  Here's what you need to do in order to create the water sprinkler shown above.

Step 1:  Remove the label and wash the 2-liter out with soap and water.  This will prevent any soda from dripping on you when you go to drill the holes.

Step 2:  With a small drill bit on an electric drill begin drilling small holes about 2-inches apart.  If you want more of a spray then make less holes, if you want just a small flow like the one pictured here, make several holes.  

Step 3:  Rinse the plastic shavings out of the 2-liter and attach it to your water hose with electrical tape.  You can also go with a two-way valve like this
But I found that a few turns around both ends with electrical tape works just fine for a temporary fix, but for long term you might want to look into the two-way coupling.  


Step 4:  Set your 2-liter water sprinkler where you want it and turn on the water.  This craft can work with any bottle rather than a 2-liter.  We have tried it with smaller soda bottles and it doesn't work as well as the bigger ones.




My Elephant Ears enjoy the water bath and this year they are finally making an appearance.  


If a water sprinkler isn't quite what you are looking for, then how about a sprinkler the kids can play in?  My son loves it, and it works awesome on the side of his pool for a unique water feature while he swims.  






Or use it as a sprinkler in the yard.

And if your grass looks anything like ours, the water will help! 





We've had a lot of fun with the repurpose of these 2-liter plastic soda bottles and it has been used so much this summer.  Hope you have just as much fun!


Eco-Tip:  When it comes time to replace your eye glasses, why not donate them instead of throwing them away?  OneSight is a nonprofit organization that donates used eye glasses to those around the globe that suffer from poor eye sight.  You can even donate money to help with the cause as well.  To learn more visit there site here.  For more tips on going green visit, The Earth and Me Go Green.




    

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