Thursday, May 21, 2009

Times, they are a-changing

Ever since we started getting cable TV and watching the Planet Green network, we've been a lot more conscious about "earth keeping" kinds of things. I guess the popular lingo is that we're trying to become more "green" but that seems too trendy somehow. For me, it's more about taking care of the resources God has given us and being more responsible and purposeful with them. Alec has been thinking about it, too, for a while in regards to energy sources (solar, wind, geothermal) when we put on our addition.

So we've started making a few changes around here lately. One of them includes 2 clotheslines in the backyard. Alec bought a retractable line and mounted it on a tree near the back fence. There is a hook by the bathroom window that was there when we moved in and the line is just long enough to reach. I've been hanging out laundry every day since it finally stopped raining. He got me another line today and also made some poles to help raise the lines up when they get heavy - it's a pain for him to duck under with building supplies and it keeps Erin from pulling off the clothes. I've been getting over having scratchy clothes and enjoying the fresh smelling sheets on the bed.

That green cylinder on the right is a composter we've had for a few years. I've been trying to use it more and got a book to help me figure out the proper "mixture." I wish I had another, though. The batch in this one is almost finished and I don't have a place to put things until I empty it.

I also decided not to buy cleaners that have petroleum based ingredients. After I use up the cleaners I already have I'll probably just make my own. I also bought some really great microfiber cleaning cloths and dust mop cloths. The purple cloths are so great - you can use them dry or wet and they work just as well as a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser - they clean mirrors better than paper towels, too. I only bought the 3-pack of dust mop refills and they fit pretty well on the Swiffer I already had. I think I may get the mop later when mine bites the dust because it is bigger and seems sturdier. The cloths pick up pet hair, dirt, dust - and they shake out almost completely so you don't have to wash them after each use (and I just noticed on the website that they can also be used damp - didn't even think to try that yet!). I think some people will be getting these for Christmas this year!

Another thing we switched was our water bottles. I don't buy bottled water anyway, but now we use aluminum or stainless steel bottles since they don't leach chemicals into drinking water like plastic does. I used to scoff at this stuff, but if there's a better and healthier way to do something, why wouldn't you?

I've also been reading books about nutrition since I am concerned about Erin in particular, but all of us in general. I think how we treat our bodies is related to how we treat the earth, too. I've been reading a book by Dr. William Sears, a nationally known pediatrician and nutrition advocate, and decided to avoid the "terrible 3s" to start with - high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils (trans fats), and color additives - and those 3 are in a lot of stuff! It's made shopping trips a little more interesting, but if I buy junk it will get eaten so it's better to just avoid it in the first place. After the kids get used to different kinds of snacks it should (hopefully) get a little easier, but I'm anticipating that the summer may be difficult. Luke is pretty willing to try new stuff if I make it seem fun, but Erin is tough. She will not try something new unless it looks like a fruit or a dip - and even then it's tricky. One day she would not even eat applesauce, which she'd just had the day before! When I asked her to just lick off the spoon so we could put it away (see how tricksy I've had to become?) she finally tasted it, realized it was good, and ate the whole bowl.

Now, I don't think that I was buying such horrible stuff to begin with (although I do have a big sweet tooth and it's apparent my kids both have one too). I'm just convinced after reading research that if my kids aren't learning good habits now (before they're 6 or 7) they're just getting set up for difficulties later, especially with our family history of diabetes. Plus good food just helps them grow better and smarter.

So to help, I started shopping more at an organic market by our house. It's a little more expensive and not everything we've tried has been good (just say no to organic bananas - gross!), but I know that when I shop there I don't have to look for the 3 things I'm avoiding because they're generally not there. I've also found a bunch of stuff to throw in our smoothies.

And we've been having lots of smoothies! I can put enough good stuff in a smoothie every other day and be confident that Erin is getting a balanced diet even if she doesn't eat what I make at supper. To give her some credit, she's been doing really well this week. Alec said I should write it down - 2 suppers in a row with no fussing and Erin cleaned her plate first. Although I think playing outside until 6:30 and eating at 7 may also have something to do with it.

The reason for staying outside so late is the shed, so here are some pictures from today. It's coming along - much bigger than I thought it would be, but at least it is pretty well hidden by the trees.

This new door will go on the garage and that old door will go on the shed.

So that's all for now. Tomorrow maybe I'll share my other new personal resolution, but Erin is awake from her nap now.

1 comment:

MLE said...

Yeah with the greening! I've tried to be a lot more conscious as well -- I only use the reusable grocery bags now and the "earth friendly" cleaning stuff -- though I'd love to use those cloths you were showing me when I was there. I confess I did not go for the metal water bottle recently, but did get a ABP (or whatever) free one with a bite cap from Camelbak so that I could actually get more water into me. With my new resolution to drink MUCH more water a day, and having a drinking problem with the wide-mouth bottles, this has been a great option. No more kidney stones is my goal! I do wish I had a place for a clothesline, but alas, that's life in a condo. The shed looks great!