Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I LOVE Feline Pine litter !!!!!!

Let me start by saying I don't do any of those product review/advertising blogging stuff. So, anytime I am talking about a product, it is my true opinion with no one paying me :)

Anyway, I finally tried Feline Pine regular, NONclumping). My only regret is why, oh why, did I not try this earlier?!?! Okay, let's put the eco-friendly aspect aside for a minute. I would use Feline Pine if I knew nothing about/cared nothing about being environmental. Why?

There is almost NO SMELL. That's right. Pretty much just a saw dusty smell. We used Feline Pine and when we needed to change the litter box, we used up the last of the old clumping stuff and I could not believe how much that stuff stinks (cat owners, you know that ammonia-ish smell?) Plus it produces all that unhealthy dust.

So it's great because it reduces that nasty pee odor and BONUS! no chemically, pee-ridden litter clumps in the landfill.

It says on the bag that it should last 4 weeks. We have 2 cats and at the rate we're going, it'll last 2 weeks, which makes sense. It costs 3.59 for the bag

My only (small) problem is that it takes a little longer to have to get the sawdust out and leave the pellets in...kind of like the opposite of scooping out the clumps. But hey, a little more time is worth it!!! They have a special litter box I think I might buy...kind of works like one of those pans miners use looking for gold :)

The Feline Pine website (which for some reason isn't working at the moment) even has a rebate where you can try your first bag for free. Surprisingly (to me, at least) Feline Pine is found pretty much at all grocery stores, Target/Walmart and PetSmart stores. Try it out!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Farmer's Market and Mulch

Well, here's what I got at the farmer's market yesterday- a head of lettuce and asparagus. Haven't eaten the lettuce yet, but the asparagus was GOOD!!!! I hope they have some more next week- I plan to buy double the amount! I can't wait 'til later in the season when more veggies get in.

While I was at the farmer's market, my husband was cutting off all the branches from a dead tree in our yard. He loaded them into the minivan and then we were off to the "dump". The public works department of our county has different areas for whatever you need to drop off.

We went to the entrance that takes branches and leaves and then recycles them into mulch. Literally tons and tons of mulch!

It's nice to know our dead branches are being put to use in someone's garden! Plus, the people who buy the mulch load it right in their plastic bags to throw out later.

Plus, our son always likes to see the big mulching vehicles and the HUGE piles of mulch. It's quite an operation.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Great post on Using Less

Wow, two posts in one day! While I was reading my usual list of blogs, I read Alissa's blog "On Purpose Living". She made some great points about saving money by using less. Head over to her blog and take a read- it's great :)

click here for On Purpose Living: "Using Less"

Farmer's Market

Tomorrow will be the second week that my local farmer's market will be open. I have to admit, I was a bit spoiled through the summer and early fall with fruits and veggies. This early in the season, they have mainly just plants and flowers, but I did score my husband some kale (yuck), which he actually likes.

The farmer's market has a blog and they post what (in general) is available. Looks like they'll have some asparagus tomorrow- yay!

It's also nice because a couple of the farms there are organic. While it costs a little more, I know I'm getting pesticide free produce and supporting local farms. Plus, I figure all the coupons I use balance out the higher cost.

The farmer's market is also fun- my son loves to go! People bring dogs and there's always a baked goods booth people buy a morning snack at. So looking forward to going tomorrow and hopefully I'll get some good things!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day!

Be an activist, care for the Earth...let your polticians know how you feel. Happy Earth Day.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Penn State: cheap and green!

This weekend we went up to the Blue White game at Penn State. While I am not a big football fan, it was a fun family road trip up to "Happy Valley".

With a stadium that fits about 110,000 people (bigger than most NFL stadiums!), you can imagine the trash generated. Check out the size of the half-filled Beaver Stadium!

What was great about this is that it was cheap (you can go into the game for free) AND they had free recycling bags for the tailgaters!

This is great for the MANY, MANY people who Nittany Lions know who you are :) We saw plenty of people making use of these recycling bags.
So I am definitely a Penn State fan now. I hope other universities who have big sports teams and tailgating follow Penn State's lead in recycling like this.

Does your alma mater recycle?

Earth Day TV

Some ideas for Earth Day viewing:

PBS Kids' Shows have special Earth Day episodes on Curious George, May & Miguel, Clifford the Big Red Dog and more.

For the adults, on Wednesday 4/23 at 9pm on PBS, National Geographics Presents "Strange Days on Planet Earth", narrated by Ed Norton.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Earth Day is approaching!

Earth Day is April 22nd, but many areas are celebrating Earth Day over the weekend. You can find out Earth Day events in your area by checking the Earth Day website

If you have kids, the EPA has a kid friendly environmental website.

I'll be in Pennsylvania on Saturday, so I'll miss our local Earth Day celebration (unless it rains...then the rain date is Sunday!)

In the meantime, we're doing our same old earth friendly stuff. We're really getting good at NOT using paper towels! Our last roll has been on the dispenser forever! It has not been nearly as hard as I thought it would be. We're also getting rid of our ziplock bag use...we have re-useable containers we pack sandwiches and snacks in.

One thing I still haven't had much success with is finding recycling for #5 containers. It just looks like recycling facilties for #5's are just too limited. So I am keeping all my yogurt containers (I still haven't used my yogurt maker...this confession is my nudge to do it!) and they're piled up on my dining room table to remind me, too.

So back to Earth Day, pray for rain on Saturday so we can make it to the rain date celebration on Sunday :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Easy coupons!

I've been posting a lot of "green" posts lately, so here's a cheap one :)

I LOVE coupons. A LOT. It takes some time and effort, but it really pays off. I think the real trick is to only clip coupons for stuff you regularly use.

I've been couponing for years, but in the past few I changed my habits even more. In trying to reduce the amount of packaging we buy, there are some coupons I don't use softsoap.

I love softsoap, but the convenience didn't seem worth the many bottles we used up..even not worth the refill bottle when we could use plain old bar soap. So the softsoap coupons were out, the bar soap coupons are in!

So most of my coupons come from the newspaper and from my parents' newspaper, but just recently I tried something that I can't believe didn't cross my mind before... requesting coupons via email directly from the manufacturer!

We drink organic milk and coupons for that can be hard to find. So I went to the Horizon website and clicked on their contact form. In two short sentences (We drink your milk and love it. Can you send me coupons?) and a week later I had coupons mailed to me from Horizon! Almost too easy to be true.

I tried this with a number of products...same short, to the point request, and 8 out of ten sent me coupons. Since these are for things we always use, it's like free money...and so easy.

My next mission is to request coupons from Method cleaners and Burt's Bees...I'll post what happens.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Organic makeup

I'm an art teacher, and when my students oil paint I make a point to tell them that if oil paint gets on their skin, wash right away. There's some not so great ingredients in oil paint. And guess what? Some of those ingredients are in the makeup that people put on their bare skin. AND the FDA does not regulate cosmetics. Did you know there are eyeliners on the market that contain lead? For more info, go the the FDA's official website.

Because of this, I recently ordered some organic makeup. Many of the websites that sell organic cosmetics sell small samples for $1. So I ordered eyeliner (they only had full size), eyeshadow and lipstick (I don't wear foundation). They also only had full size mascara and the one I wanted was $28 (ouch! not frugal), so I passed on that for now.

My samples in the mail last week. I ordered these items and here's what I thought of them (and as a side note, I'm not a big "makeup person". I might wear it once a week. So I was looking for something pretty simple that will probably have to last awhile).

Couldn't tell any difference between this and the old Maybelline. It may have gone on smoother even. This one's a keeper.

I was also happy with these (I ordered the $1 samples which will probably give me 5 uses each). They come in a powder form (not pressed), but that was no problem. I'll probably decide to order a full sized one once I decide which color I like the best.

Very nice! Packaged liek chapstick. Goes on smooth like chapstick, with a nice color, more lipstick-y than just tinted chapstick. I got Rose Quartz, a nice subtle color. I will definitely order this again! And costs less than most regular lipsticks.

Obviously, I got the $1 samples. A REALLY nice product. Great color (I got a matte color) that had nice coverage and didn't cake up. I'd buy a lot of these if they were cheaper. I liked this better than the Ecotints even, but for the price, I'll stick with Ecotints.

I'm still researching mascaras...I really need something that doesn't run/smear/etc...and I'm a little worried about dishing out the money for something that might be too "smeary" for me.

The eyeliner and ecotints were comparable price-wise to the non-organic products I used to buy, so that's an easy transition. The eyeshadow is more expensive, but when it comes to health, paying a little more is worth it.

Have you tried any organic cosmetics?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Charlton Heston, RIP

Charlton Heston passed away yesterday. While I didn't agree with Charlton Heston's gun and some political beliefs, he was a fine actor and we enjoy many of his films in my household: Planet of the Apes, Ben Hur, The Ten Commandments, Omega Man, The Agony and the Ecstasy and many more. They just don't make actors like Chuck anymore.

Here's the environmental tie-in: check out his movie, Soylent Green. It's a movie about the earth's environment in 2022 after it's been irrevocably damaged by global warming, overpopulation and pollution. Check it out.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Goin' down the toilet!

My sister wanted me to post about my toilets. Really. So here it is!

We save 1 gallon of water everytime we you ask? A new low-flow toilet? No, that's not in our budget at this point.

The next best thing...we fill up a used gallon milk jug with enough water to prevent it from floating and set it in the tank. Your tank fills with one less gallon of water everytime you flush. How's that for cheap :)

And as far as pictures, well, I did take some of the toilet tank but I just don't think you'd want to see that!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I love my clothesline!

My husband's mother has NEVER had a clothes dryer. I used think that was ludicrous, but in trying to use less energy, I have discovered the joys of the clothesline!

Spring has brought us nice sunny days, so I've been trying out the retractable clothesline we put on the deck. The lines attach to hooks at one end and when you're done, roll back up into the box mounted on the wall.

I've found I love it! It really doesn't take much time to hang the clothes, and it's a nice excuse to go out into the sunshine. We get full sun on the deck from around 11:30 am on, so even on a not-so-sunny day, everything is dry pretty well before dinner time. And the clothes smell naturally fresh!
While we certainly haven't eliminated the use of our dryer, about every other load is going out onto the line, so we are saving 50% of the energy previously used for the dryer. Once summer hits , I plan to put much more laundry out!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Frugal pets

Just a short post today!

While the care and maintenance of pets can be expensive, remember there are a lot of great animals out there that need homes. Our pets below are "freebies" we adopted or found.
Louie (11 years old) Clarence (10 years old) Clark (17 years old)