Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How to Recycle Your Holiday Cards

If you know me, then you know I look for ways to recycle everything. These are my two favorite ways to reuse all those wonderful Christmas cards: 

Keep them. Cut the top part of the card off and re-use next year as a gift tag. Put bottom (written on part) in your recycle bin.

Here's one I did this year using a card from last year.
Or,  Send your cards to St. Jude's Ranch. Here's the link for more info:

The St. Jude's Recycled Card Program is operated by Kids’ Corp., a program for the children at St. Jude’s Ranch to learn entrepreneurship skills, the children participate in making the new cards by removing the front and attaching a new back. The result is a beautiful new card made by the children and volunteers. The benefits are two-fold: customers receive “green” holiday cards for use and the children receive payment for their work and learn the benefits and importance of “going green.”

Please post how you reuse your cards, I love hearing other people's ideas!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Shoe Drive

Last week I organized a shoe drive at my son's school.  I partnered with Soles4Souls, an organization that collects gently worn shoes and distributes them all over the world to people living in extreme poverty and/or recovering from natural disasters.

Soles4Souls struck a cord with me because not only do they help people in need, they encourage recycling! Did you know a pair of leather shoes takes 25 to 40 years to decompose?

With the help and support of the principal, Mr. Koltovich and donations from the students and community, I collected 769 pairs of shoes! That means 769 people will be receiving shoes, some of them for the first time! How awesome is that?!
I was little worried how I was going to get all those shoes from my living room to a warehouse an hour away until my neighbor, Fred, knocked on my door and said, “Merry Christmas, I will rent you a Uhaul!” Fred paid for the cost of the cargo van and gas out of the kindness of his heart. Thank you Fred...our house was beginning to smell like stinky feet!

The shoe drive was very simple to do. If you have kids in school or belong to an organization please consider doing one. Go to: soles4souls.org

When going through the daily motions of life and its obstacles, remember, there are kind, generous souls everywhere....

Merry Christmas and thanks to all who donated!

Monday, November 7, 2011

A "Gift" of "Thanks"

Thanksgiving Day happens to be one of my favorite holidays. It's a time when the whole country reflects on what we are most thankful for. I practice my “gratitude's” each morning and this simple act of “giving thanks” has made me a happier person. I wish everyone did this....the world would be much happier too!

A few years ago I read about a gift idea called, “24 Days of Giving Thanks.” So, I made one for my mom and then did one for my husband. This year I made one for my son, Jack.

It's so simple to make, plus you'll feel happy for being thoughtful and the recipient of your gift will feel loved and appreciated.

There are probably a hundred different ways to be creative with this gift, but I have kept it simple. All you need is an envelope, paper, pen and to open your heart.

Cut out 24 pieces of paper strips (think Chinese fortune cookie). Then write one thing you are thankful for (in regards to the gift recipient) on each piece of paper.

For example, I wrote, “Thank you for greeting me each morning with a kiss and a snuggle” and, “Thank you for always doing your homework without complaining.”

You can give this gift on the 1st of November and have the person open one piece of paper each day until Thanksgiving Day. Or you can give the gift on Thanksgiving Day and have them open one each day until Christmas Eve, in which case you would need to do “31 thankfuls.”

I was a little nervous giving this gift to my son because, let's face it, he's 8 and Lego's and video games are the kind of gifts he likes receiving, but as any parent knows, sometimes our kids surprise us when we least expect it. Jack loves his gift! Every night, while tucking him in, he gets to reach in his envelope and pull out a “thank you” to read. His face lights up with anticipation! He actually looks forward to bedtime! I can't tell you how much joy we both get from this simple act of thoughtfulness.

Give it a try.

What are some creative ways that you give thanks?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Crafty Husband...and Some New Chicks

We started off with three one week old chicks, Buff Orpingtons. We were told we had a 50/50 chance of them being hens. We lost. At four months old, the most dominant one, Tara, started her, I mean his pathetic crow. 

Frantic to find the rooster a home, Anna Egg, answered our Craig's List ad. No kidding, her name is Anna Egg. We started to pack Tara up for a car ride and low and behold the other two began crowing. Bad luck. Anna said she'd take all three and I found myself in a Target parking lot doing a “chicken deal.”

The beautifully crafted chicken coop my husband made from scratch, complete with a living roof, sat empty.

Off to the chicken ranch we went. Black Sparrow (Silver Leghorn), Yellow Soup II (another Buff Orpington) and Turk (Transylvanian Naked Neck) came home with us. And, yes, our kids named the chickens.

Addicted at this point, we went back for more...Rhinestone Slipper (miniature cochin) and Crazy Mary (Polish Hen). Rhinestone turned out to be a Roo too and back to the ranch he came from. I hope he wasn't someone's dinner...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Who Knew Raising Chickens Would Be So Much Fun!?

Let me start by saying that I was raised a city girl, only having spent a week at my aunt's farm during my childhood....and even then I don't remember her having chickens only cows with lots and lots of poop! Chickens were never really in my plans. About two years ago my husband, children and I decided to take our “eco-friendly” living to a new level. It began with a small garden that eventually grew to a large organic vegetable garden. Then composting. Soon “sustainability” started to become the forefront of our homestead.

Next, downsizing the cars and riding our bikes as much as possible. You'll know if you're driving next to my husband in his “used volvo.” It smells like McDonald's....yep, the car runs on vegetable oil. He converted it and now he doesn't pay for gas and guess what? It's one less vehicle polluting the air! Oh, and our chickens came next! Ah, the girls...well, the first three turned out to be roosters!

Check back as I'll fill you in on some of our chicken musing, recipes and eco-friendly ideas.