Posts Tagged ‘budget’

Eco-Easy Date Night Ideas

In an effort to create some memories that last forever with minimal waste or carbon output try these Friday night (or anytime) date ideas! Feel free to mix and match!

Although you should definitely use reusable table wear, I thought this ad was way too funny!

Some of these day time date ideas would be considered work for all but the most committed greenie, get out and give them a try!

  •  sign up for habitat for humanity
  •  apple picking in fall
  •  visit a farmers market
  • go for a bike ride picnic
  • clean up a park
  • if you can get your hands on one, go for a canoe or kayak ride (just don’t use a motor, ok?)

  My babysitters are usually  available during the evening  so here are some night-time date ideas that I’ve given some extra thought to

  • Scope out  a pretty well-lit park and settle in for a night-time picnic, if your date wants to volunteer to make up the basket even better!
  • Head to a restaurant that serves organic or local food. This is usually better suited for someone who lives in a city so public transport or even your feet can be taken advantage of. Luckily for me (who lives in the country) there are many little bed and breakfast spots/little restaurants nearby that have  great local organic selections. Another note, if you tend to leave lotsa food on your plate consider bringing  your own take out container in place of those waste full styrofoam thingies or foil.
  • Take a walk around and browse used book stores. Consider this little equation: great deal + exercise + loads to talk about + a new book = great date. If you don’t love to read,consider looking for  pretty books for decorating.
  • Go together to the liquor store and choose some organic wine or beer, stop in for some organic snacks on the way home and enjoy together
  • This idea is probably better suited to a couple that lives in the counrty or has a fireplace, but spiked hot chocolate and a campfire is another great option.
  • If you live in the city, go spontaneous and do a random  mass transit date. Choose a stop randomly and this is where your date will take place!
  • Do it up old school. Like real old school. Soda shop and stroll, or coffee and stroll, or beer and stroll, or milkshake and stroll. You get the idea.
  • I am a board game addict. Try a 2 player board game by candle light for a pretend it’s a black out kinda night.
  • For a stay at home movie date, to save money and be eco friendly borrow movies from  the library or sign up for Netflix.

No time for a date but still want to do something eco-friendly together? Conserve water and hop in a shower for two. If you have kids, turn the monitor on and remember to lock the door, as not to scar them for life… 

If you have a great eco date idea I would love to hear it!!

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What is a Big Green Purse? I’ll give you one! (review and giveaway)

Win a copy of BIG GREEN PURSE by DIANE MACEACHERN, just leave a comment. ( Open October 14-28 2010)

So the basis for me starting this blog was to write about my One in a Million Challenge (recently I’ve fallen a little behind on this, updates are coming…)

The One in a Million Challenge is an idea that Diane MacEachern came up where she encourages women to shift $1000 of their existing budget to environmentally friendly products.  Since women control 0.85 cents of every dollar spent, this adds up to a lot, like  ONE BILLION DOLLARS we’re talking.  That is enough money to make any manufacturer take a second look at their product and ask “how can I make this a better environmental choice?”.

Skeptical about the importance of buying eco-friendly products?

In her book, Big Green Purse, Diane explains why it’s important to choose the greener options. Diane touches on many subjects in the book, in fact pretty much anything related to living, from beauty products to cars to food.

In her chapter “CLEAN AND GREEN: CLEANSERS SCRUBS, POLISHES AND FRESHENERS”  she points out the health hazards we are facing today . For example 6.1 million kids in the U.S. have asthma, making asthma the #3 reason kids are hospitalized. She points out pretty clear links between what you use in your house on a daily basis with these risks. She then goes on to explain how to make simple easy shifts to healthier options. She makes it pretty easy too, with a thumbs down list of things to avoid, go green cleaning tips and even a where to shop guide.

Diane also has some pretty smart thoughts like “When buying a new appliance, light or computer to remember:  it has 2 price tags- what you pay to take it home and what you pay for the energy it uses” This book is so handy because she then goes on to list the top 10 ways to save energy and money.

It’s pretty clear that I’m a fan of the book, and that it is totally required reading for every woman, no matter where she is at on the going green scale.

One thing I did miss from the book is more info on eco-travel, a follow-up book is in order perhaps?

 

GIVEAWAY!

Want your own copy of the book? Great, cause I’m giving one away! Leave a comment and your e-mail address. Also if you feel the need to tweet or facebook or like Big green purse on facebook about this contest let me know and you’ll get 2 extra entries!!  (Open to US and Canada residents, over 18 please)

Use your big green purse

Hey, if you don’t win you should still totally pick one up. I mentioned where in my Greenie Deals post.  I love having mine around for reference!  You should also check out her big green purse website which is packed with all kinds of great info! As is the big green purse facebook page.

Greenie Deals – 2nd edition

 

The only thing better than a great deal is a great green deal…

Here are a few deals, coupons and giveaways that I managed to scavenged up online.(check out lasts weeks Greenie deals here)

Coupons & Codes

  • Gaiam is offering  20% off any 1 item (they only ship within the US, which really sucks for me!) with promo code “EMM2” Click here.
  • Woops, not a green deal, but if you absolutely need shoes…the shopaholic in me could NOT resist this printable 20% off coupon for Payless shoes. Just make sure to buy something organic with the money you save. Click here.

Giveaways

  • Grab a free Sample of Green Mountain Coffee on facebook Click here.

Sweet Buys (Books)

Green Cook Book & The Gorgeously Green Diet

The Green Kitchen: Techniques & Recipes for saving energy & reducing waste by Richard Ehrlich, offers up some unique ideas for saving energy like using the microwave or cooking in large quantities.

The Georgeously Green Diet by Sophie Uliano, encorages us to eat healthy, be healthy and stay that way.  She also includes tips on how to save money and reduce your environmental impact.

Big Green Purse Blog recently posted a few more fantastic cook books. Click here to see the article.

Hey! Please leave a comment if you know of a great greenie deal.

Subscribe to RSS feed (top right) or e-mail and check in 2 weeks for the next edition of greenie deals.

Worth it? I can’t get these diapers out of my head…

As you may be aware I switched to cloth diapers a few months ago, click here to find out more about that switch. Be that as it may, my baby’s butt is often still covered in  disposable diapers by others when I can’t be around.  As an aspiring ecoholic I need to make sure  we use  the healthiest and greenest option available. The disposable diapers I had on hand were not that…

WORTH IT? – PC GREEN DIAPERS

Material & Manufacturing:

  • One thing that I like about these diapers is how open they are on their label.   These diapers are made from wood pulp that was acquired from sustainable forests.
  • They do not use chlorine bleach (good news for baby’s butt as well as the environment)
  • Although there is still a small amount of plastic in these diapers, they are working to source plant based polymers instead

Performance:

Wow! Totally surprised and impressed with these!! They are stretchy and super- absorbent. To put them to the test I changed my baby man before bed at 7pm and left it on until 9am the next morning. All was good, he was dry and so was his bed! He is also teething and having some ahh messy situations down there, these diapers are even holding their own against blow outs!

Disposal:

My waste collection service is investigating these diapers to see if they can be collected curbside as compost, for the time being they do still have to go into the waste can. I will update if anything changes.

Costs Comparison:

Cost per diaper for size 6,

  • Pampers  $0.38
  • Seventh Generation $0.45
  • PC green diaper (look for a comparable store brand) on sale for $0.21 regular $0.42

If you are looking for the cheapest option you can’t beat cloth. It pays for itself in the first few months. If your lifestyle is just not  ready for cloth I say Green diapers are WORTH IT!

Any switch we can make that helps us get off of non-renewable resources, holds up performance wise to the competition, is using less chemicals and is actively trying to improve is so WORTH IT.

Although  I can’t stop thinking about these diapers,  I do know that every baby is different so if you try a green diaper and don’t like it  keep trying until you find one that is a perfect fit for your baby. Check out Diapers.com for purchasing (they only ship to the U.S.)and to read  reviews as well.  Look out for sales when buying diapers, when the time comes stock up!

*PC Green is a local brand, if you can’t find it try Seventh Generation for a comparable product (higher price). In fact Seventh Generation is even more transparent about their diaper production.

If you use another green diaper and love it, please comment!

If you write a blog, check this out.

Greener Birthday Party (Take 1)

Paisley Handmade on Etsy!

Like I ‘ve explained before, going green for me is a trial and error process. I try something new, make mistakes and learn every day. This weekend my little princess B turned 3. This marked the first birthday party I would have to throw since making the switch to a greener life. Greener Birthday party, take 1:

I like to keep my kids parties pretty small if  I can, this cuts down on costs, waste and clean up!

I invited everyone via Facebook or phone so no trees were harmed. 🙂

Decorations:

I have a huge supply of balloons at my house, as you know I do have a tainted past as a shopaholic, so I  have a lot of  “random stuff ” as my husband calls it, around my house . Also I don’t care what anybody says, helium balloons are fun. Although I was quite discouraged about the non-eco friendly-ness of balloons, I came across a blog post that told me I can compost latex balloons! Fantastic! Mylar balloons however  are NOT compost able. Since I had pre-purchased these balloons months ago, it seemed crazy not to use them. I had my balloons  blown up at a dollarstore where the ribbon used was not eco-friendly.I suppose all I can do at this point is re-use what is already in my possession and try to prolong the life-cycle of the ribbon. For future reference, these eco friendly ribbons would have been a pretty cool choice! Throw in a few streamers that I already had, I suppose it’s eco-friendly if I’m not buying anything new…. Also for future reference (slap to head,WHY wasn’t I thinking!!) I should have invested a reusable banner, like this one that I found on Etsy . I like to try to keep most of the decorations in one area of the house for easier clean up at the end of the

Fairy tea paty corner

day… Other than that I pretty much just decorated with a few pillows and created a little tea party area. One eco friendly creation I made were fairy wings. I could have gone out and bought new wings for like $3 each, but I decided to recycle craft some instead. I followed the directions on this website and they turned out ok! (Keep in mind that my idea of a successful craft is one that doesn’t immediately fall apart or burst into flames…)

Food:

I could have done better here: Pizza, chips,  pop, cheesies. All a little questionable… Should have gone for organic chips or even Sun Chips with their compost-able bags. I did ok here: I did choose to make her birthday cake this year with an organic cake mix. The feedback on it was pretty good, although next time I’ll attempt to do an organic/ fair trade cake from scratch. .. Also I didn’t purchase any disposable plates or cups (I have a large supply of napkins, and since the cake was cupcakes no plates were really required). If you were interested in biodegradable party wear Go Green in Stages has all kinds of options.

Treat Bags:

For treat bags I bought a cheap purse and wallet as well as some fair trade chocolate, organic fruit snacks, bear paw cookies and a Tinkerbell comic book. I figured that these things have pretty good play value for little girls (gotta have our purses!) so at least it wasn’t a cheap toy that would just be disregarded or broken. I have given out toys like this in the past….I could have stepped it up by purchasing perhaps a bag made from organic cotton instead. I was thinking about giving out little potted flowers, but at the age of 3 this is maybe an idea for a later birthday. For a spring birthday seeds to plant might be a cool idea…

Gift:

This is one area that I think I did great at. I purchased an eco-friendly tea set, made from recycled plastic, dishwasher safe, and the only packaging left over was a recyclable box, no plastic. Instead of wrapping the gift I used a Dora gift box that I received years ago and keep reusing almost every birthday. A friend of mine hosted a birthday party last year where instead of gifts guests bought items to donate to the Humane Society. the birthday girl got to go deliver the items and see all the animals she was helping. I think that this is a fantastic idea!

This was not by any means a perfectly eco party, but it is a step in the right direction and that is my goal!

Listen to David Suzuki!


Last night my husband was making his lunch and getting his things ready for work in the morning. I noticed he had a plastic water bottle, so like a good wife would, I started to rant (a little) about how bad plastic water bottles are. If you have tried this method before you might have found that ranting, complaining or otherwise bi*ching really is not an effective way of getting a point across. I’ll try a different approach this time and present him with research (I’m so tricky!).

What is not okay about plastic bottles
(our health)

  • BPA– It mimics the female hormone estrogen and may affect fertility and promote cancer, plus a new study has shown that  it may lead to heart disease, diabetes and liver problems.  Many baby bottles and sippy cups have BPA too! Every time we wash or heat these containers they leach more of the toxic chemical out of the plastic.

What is not okay about plastic bottles
(our environment)

  • Only 37% of soft drink bottles and 28% of water bottles are recycled. That other 63% and 72% go to landfills and litter.
  • Think of the manufacturing that goes into water bottles, then the shipping. That’s a lot of wasted emissions if you ask me.

Also as it states right on the bottle, it’s actually just tap water that’s been filtered. Pretty sure I can do that at home myself! You can buy stainless steel water bottles practically everywhere now, take a look at wal-mart next time you’re there!

POINTS:

Moo!

One of my biggest challenges in switching over to  greener choices is trying to keep all the picky eaters in my house happy. Sometimes I can’t accomplish this, for example Organic milk.

My husband prefers the milk he’s used to, I forced him to have a blind taste test and he had no problem choosing his usual milk. He claims that the organic milk was a little too sweet, my 2 year old on the other hand didn’t notice a change.

I  aim to try a few new products every week . One new item I purchased last week was organic milk.  I picked it up and made the decision to spend the $6.29 price tag for 2L.  I figured it was a good thing to switch over and worth the extra cost since organic milk contains higher beneficial fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins than conventional milk.  Then there’s the growth hormone, rBGH. It’s use is banned here in Canada as well as in Europe, however unless it’s labeled rBGH free, or organic, dairy products from the U.S. still contain it. That rBGH seems to be an all around bad idea, what with the links to breast and colon cancer as well as the poor cows that have to produce so much milk that they can become malnourished. As a breastfeeding mom, I feel for them! For now I’ll keep buying the conventional milk for my husband, and my babies will get organic. I’m also going to make a habit of checking the label to see where my dairy products are coming from!

On another note,

Last week I had a great opportunity to make an easy shift in my spending to green. It is my Dad’s birthday this week (Happy Birthday Dad!!) and after digging around for info, I found out he needed some new t-shirts. I don’t have a big budget for birthday gifts, so I had to try and come up with a gift that was eco friendly, useful and inexpensive. My sister discovered that he was in need of some t-shirts. I was thrilled to find organic cotton shirts at wal-mart! I picked up 3 of them for $7 a piece!!

Last week’s  grocery totals for my One in a Million Challenge:

  • organic meats from Bluefield Natural Products Inc. $40
  • various organic, fair trade and eco friendly products at the grocery store $40
  • Birthday gift for Dad $21

Totals for O.I.M.C. last week: $101

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