One woman's quest to save money, save the planet and save my sanity

Thursday, April 29, 2010


I have been busy with gardening and the other things that I neglect when blogging. It seems one or the other. I can keep up with this or that. At this time of year there is a full day worth of work to be done outside as well as in so something is always  being overlooked. Then there are the sudden occurrences that throw the whole day out of whack. Like last night when Noah had a friend over and I was making dinner and the phone rang and it was my neighbor telling me that a fox had one of my chickens in his yard. He just wanted me to know so I could lock up the rest. Of course, our first fox attack has to take place on the most gorgeous lawn on our street and right in front. Nice. David was in a meeting at work so I was on my own to deal with it. The other chickens had run home so I had the kids quickly round them up into the coop and take a head count. I went to investigate and certain enough, there she was and the fox was still running around like crazy. I was a bit sad, but mostly mad. I put a lot of work into that chicken. A ton of work actually and this fool fox was just having a grand old time. I guess I can't be too upset because this is just a part of the circle of life. But he ran off and left her there and I had to collect her and rake up the feathers. I spent this morning digging a hole and burying her beside the other chicken that we had to put down a few weeks back. I was rather proud that I handled the whole thing on my own. Sometime I surprise myself.
My good friend Aris (although everyone calls her Lollie and I always forget that is her real name) who is an unbelievable artist and mother and creator of the beautiful blog, Peekadoo, has tagged me and I am compelled to participate. I have never done one of these before, but here goes.
Seven Random Things About Me
1. For most of my self-dressing childhood I insisted on matching my underwear to my shirt.
2. My car is a filthy pit of squished crackers, kids books, loose change and barrettes.
3. I really wish I was into yoga. Something about it always call to me.
4. When I was little I used to sit on the toilet and make up stories about my imaginary older brother named Troy.
5. My grandmother was 4'9" and was blind most of my life. I used to watch cooking shows with her like Julia Childs, The Frugal Gourmet and Yan Can Cook. Since this was before the advent of the internet it was my job to write the recipes down in big, thick, Sharpy marker letter so that she could see them. One of my most vivid memories was staying with her one night when my grandfather had gone to the Red Sox game and then the power went out and we cooked dinner and did the dishes by candlelight, standing side by side on step stools.
6. I always fall asleep at the movie theater.
7. I love silence, but in order to be productive I really need to listen to something to occupy my mind.

Not sure what I make of that list. It was just what popped into my mine. So now I tag Virginia, S, Julia, Vampdaddy, Penny-Wise, I can only think of five. That will have to do. For now.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Announcing the Soap Nuts Winner!

Congratulations to...

You will receive you Soap Nuts Starter Kit in the mail. Just email me your address and you're good to go. Not a bad Earth Day surprise!
Also, stay tuned for another greener cleaning related review and giveaway!

Earth Day Wishes

* A very quick note: You have until noon today to enter the Laundry Tree SoapNuts Giveaway. It takes two seconds and is so worth it!

Of all the secular holidays that there are; Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, Mother's Day, and on & on, is there any one that can be as meaningful to all people as Earth Day? No matter your color, creed, gender, age, orientation, class or political persuasion, we all share a single home. The health of the planet affects all of us and we can all celebrate our small patch of this world and find ways to preserve and improve it. We are all environmentalists, even if we don't know it yet. It's difficult not be cynical. For some reason, my passion for the planet is the one place that skepticism has yet to infiltrate.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Get Growing!- Announcing the Terracycle Winners!

Happy Day! I am announcing the winners of the first ever Simple Butta Giveaway! The two readers that will each receive a Terracycle Kids Vegetable Gardening Kit are...

I used to generate the numbers (8 and 34) of the winning comments and then, of course, I had to count down the list of comments because I am not technically savvy enough to figure out how to get blogger to number my comments. No problem, I like old school skills like counting.
If you didn't win this giveaway, never fear. There is another one running right now through Thursday at noon (Earth Day baby!) and you could win a Laundry Tree Soap Nuts Starter Kit.
And definitely head down to Walmart to get some of the awesome Terracycle products available there through the end of the month. It is on my list for tomorrow while I am kid free for a few hours. Is it sad that when I am without my children I am buying them stuff? Maybe a cute bag for me will have to make it's way into my basket.

Giveaways! - Endings and Beginnings

Just a reminder that today is the last day to enter to win one of two Kids Vegetable Gardening Kits from Terracycle. Contest closes at midnight tonight and the winner will be announced tomorrow. And don't forget to head over to your local Walmart to see the Terracycle products available only through the end of this month.
In the vein of "when one window closes, another door opens" I am pleased to announce another awesome giveaway. You may recall my recent post about my new love affair with Laundry Tree Soap Nuts and since then I have continued to use Soap Nuts in every room of the house. The solution I made from water, vinegar, and the Soap Nut Soak is my new all purpose cleaner and I love it.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Yogurt Gives Back

Yogurt is an absolute staple in our house. Being out of yogurt is like being out of milk. It means an immediate trip to the store. We always have at least a quart of vanilla, a quart of plain for the chickens and cooking purposes, and usually a quart of either strawberry of peach. We only buy yogurt in quarts so we are limited to whatever flavors are available in that size. When the kids go to Grammy's they love to raid her individual yogurt cups because they know they will never find them in my fridge. Mainly because it is a billion times cheaper, but also because I think it is a waste of packaging and, sometimes, product. If we get the quart size I can control the portions. In any event, hopefully buying yogurt will someday be a thing of the past when we have our goats giving us milk and I learn how to make my own cultures.
In the interest of transparency I must tell you that I don't often buy organic yogurt. Believe me, I know that Stoneyfield yogurt is better for us, it definitely tastes better than the store brand, and it is a NH based company and, for me, that's local. But it is twice as expensive as the store brand and that kills me. Every week I give it a longing glance, but then the Frugal Fanny in me opts to cheap out.
I am a super fan of the company and all their green initiatives, but it is one of those dilemmas that I wrestle with all the time. When does cost win out?
I may have found a new strategy though as I just joined myStoneyfield Rewards. Maybe everyone on Earth knows about this already, but I didn't. It caught my eye when I went on to enter the Farm Getaway Sweepstakes. With the Rewards program you can enter codes of the products and earn point that can be redeemed for merchandise ranging from free yogurt to cool drinking glasses. It only took me a minute or two to register. So now if I opt to spend more for the better yogurt, at least I'll feel like I am getting something extra.
It would also be worth your while to go enter the Farm Sweepstakes where you can win a trip for two to an organic dairy farm in Vermont where you will get to stay in a B&B, eat an organic breakfast and help out with farm chores. Screw the Caribbean. This is my kind of vacation!
You can find all the info, plus much more, on the Coupons & Offers page of the Stoneyfield website. There is a bunch of stuff to check out and next on my list is the "Going Greener Guidebook" that you can download for free.
I am generally not a name brand kind of a gal, but sometimes your roots call you home and your taste buds want to come along for the ride. That and the factory tour is really fun so maybe it's time for a change.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Spreading the Love - Terracycle Updates

When I was at Walmart to pick up a prescription yesterday, I took a minute to check out the Terracycle display and was both saddened and pleased to see that it was slim pickings. They were out of the Kids Vegetable Gardening kits and I was bummed because I wanted one. I decided I am going to buy each of the kids something from Terracycle for Earth Day so I had them all show me which things they liked best and I will go back another day without them.
The displays actually looked great and each product was either featured beside the the packaging it was made from (Capri Sun Lunch Bags next to Capri Sun drinks, etc.) or next to other "green" items that are being featured for Earth Day. Next to where the gardening kits should have been there were lots of recycled rubber mulches and organic plant foods.
Apparently it's not just my Walmart because I got this message from one of my oldest and dearest BF's:
"Hi Heather! I am happy to report that I went to Wally World today to make my Terracycle purchase, and the racks were nearly empty. Seems they have been popular here! I bought a little Starburst bag that Libby can use as a diaper/snack bag when we go out. Not only that, but I told two different people about the products while I was in the store. Should I be getting paid for this? And finally, did you know that the products have tags on them with a card to send in and get a free gift. So it's two for one! Yay!"
The love has reached Iowa! Go mid west!
There are also lots of other blogs having giveaways this month so be sure to check out the Terracycle Facebook Page where many are being listed. I would tell you to go to the Terracycle Twitter page, but I might get you lost. Twitter has got me on the mental run.
There is an great giveaway going on at a blog I just fell in serious L-O-V-E with, Green Lifestyle Consulting. As I was reading through some of their posts, I was like "Yes. YES. YES!!!!" Just a quick scan through revealed discussions about everything from energy efficiency to greener birthday parties. They are totally speaking my language!
And of course, don't forget to enter the Simple Butta giveaway which ends Monday night. Kick your Earth Day celebrations off right!
Well, I'm off to curse the rain and daydream about planting.