Weekly Recycling Bin

Check out our recycling bin this week, like I said before, we have a goal to have the recycling bin be fuller than the trash bin. This week there was no competition!

Recycling Bin

Recycling Bin

photo 1Large cardboard box (a toilet was in it, to give you an idea how big it is) full of cardboard Recycling (pizza boxes, Amazon shipping boxes, empty granola bar boxes, etc. )

photo 4Trash Bin (1 garbage bag, 1 diaper genie bag, and the lid to the old toilet bowl, the old toilet is also by the side of the road)

Did you meet your green goal this week?? Do you usually have more trash or more recycling??

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Creative Ways to Reuse an Everyday Piece of “Trash”

Do you know what this is?

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I think it is safe to say most people over the age of 3 know what this is! An empty toilet paper roll, of course!

How many of these do you go through in your house in a day? Week? Or your office? If you sit and think about it, its amazing how many of these little rolls are used each day, and then, gasp!, tossed in the trash! Personally, we recycle ours, but thats at home, I am sure they are tossed at work. I have even considered taking them home from the office to recycle (I know… I am a bit of a green freak!), but I don’t know how to get them off the holder! Sounds like a ridiculous problem, but it has some sort of lock on it, which, apparently you can use a paper clip to unlock? I don’t get it!

Anyway… back to the toilet paper roll! There are MANY ways to keep these out of the landfills! Of course, you can recycle them, like we do here, or you can make art with them? Really?? If you haven’t jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon, do it now! It is amazing, and I am a bit obsessed! I have found so many amazing ideas for reusing household items, but more on that later, lets focus on the toilet paper roll.

Here are just a few of the amazing things you can do with this little cardboard roll…

tp wreath

tp star

tp flower

Wrought Iron tp

tp wrappingI use this one, it works great! Just use strong tape, or the TP rolls spring off the wrapping paper rolls!

I started saving rolls, creating a stock-pile, so I could try out the wrought iron design… but Scott threw them in the recycling bin. He doesn’t always “get” my creative ideas, he likes to throw everything away (or in the recycling), but more on that later!

As you can see, the ideas are endless! Who would have known that you could use such a boring, mundane, everyday piece of “trash” to create such cool things?!

Have you tried any of these designs? Or do you have another way you reuse them in your house??

Planning for a Green Baby – Our Blue (Green) Nursery

It is all about COLOR when decorating, in my opinion!

I once decorated a bathroom, when I lived alone, in HOT pink. That’s right, I had HOT pink stripes on the wall, and a HOT pink & purple shower curtain. A male friend of ours said “It looks like Victoria’s Secret threw up in your bathroom!”! I loved that bathroom, but it was definitely a “girls” bathroom, so when Scott & I bought our house, he made it very clear he did not want another “girls” bathroom. It also took him some time to realize I have an “eye” for decorating, and using color, without going overboard!

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The walls before we painted (with a test strip of different blue)

Scott & I discussed wall color for our spare bedroom for years, without ever moving forward with our ideas. The walls in that room were very badly damaged… or should I say poorly repaired! It was evident that the previous owners had a chair rail in that room, that they decided to remove, and fix the damage themselves (VERY poorly). When we bought the house, almost every room in it was painted white. On top of that, it was painted with the cheapest, flattest white paint! We repainted most of the rooms, but had left the spare bedroom alone, knowing that 1) one day it would become a nursery and 2) it needed a lot of work because of the wall damage.

After we found out we were expecting a baby, we discussed what color we would paint the walls and what we would do about those damaged poorly repaired walls. I, of course, voted for green paint! Scott wanted blue, if it was a boy, but said I could do green if it was a girl. I figured that was a good compromise. We both agreed we needed to hire someone to repair the walls & paint them.

Well… we found out we were expecting a baby boy! So Scott won the wall color…finding the paint was easy, we have already painted many walls in our house with Benjamin Moore Aura Low VOC paint, and have LOVED the outcome, so all we had to do was settle on a shade of blue. We both knew we did not want a “baby blue” color, just something in the blue family. The color blue we landed on, was actually a blueish-green, called Bahaman Sea Blue. We chose to pay a professional that had painted for my parents, friends of my parents and even some of the buildings I work in! He did an absolutely amazing job! Besides repairing the damaged walls, he painted the walls & interior of the closet blue, and painted the trim & ceiling a nice clean, crisp white! By the way, don’t the floors look great? You can read about them here.

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Lexi likes to photo bomb!

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Before any furniture was in the nursery, the walls were quite bright (to say the least) and many of our friends & family (Scott included) wondered what we were thinking! Once the room came together, everyone loved the outcome, Scott even said it might be his favorite room in the house now! (Hopefully you will all agree once you see the finished room!!)

Do you have a favorite room in your home? Have you ever had a decorating idea, that others thought was a bit crazy, until they saw the finished product?

Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day!

V-day

photo from

The colors that typically signify Valentine’s Day are pink & red, but what about green??

We celebrate love, romance & friendship on February 14th every year. The most common ways to celebrate this are with gifts of candy, flowers & “valentines”. A valentine started out as a handwritten note to a person’s friends & lover, and eventually turned into a printed card holiday. According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. (second, only, to Christmas)

I am sure most adults remember celebrating Valentine’s Day in school, you were required to bring a valentine for each kid in your class, then you placed them in some sort of handmade “mailbox” on the other kids desks. As we grew up, we realized we didn’t have to give everyone in our class a valentine and reserved these “notes” for our close friends & maybe even an anonymous one to our crush!

As fun as it is to give and receive valentines, what do you do with the paper cards once the holiday is over? What about the empty chocolate box, fresh cut flowers, wrapping paper, etc?? Most of the items are sent, to where else, the landfill! In an effort to minimize your landfill distribution this Valentine’s Day, consider reusing your valentine gifts and gifting others with greener options… possibly an E-Card, a potted plant, a homemade meal or treat, helping out around the house, giving your partner a massage… the list is endless when we start thinking outside the Chocolate Box!

valentines chocolate heart box

Some tips on how to reuse your gifts…

Reuse the chocolate box, pretty much anywhere that sells food, sells small, individually wrapped candies, or you can go to a candy shop and buy individual candies and reuse the chocolate box next year! It can also be used as a gift box, usually the candy boxes are quite decorative, so all they would need is a ribbon.

Repurpose the chocolate box, use it to organize love letters, small craft items, or other momentous. Cut a slit in the side of the box and use as a bank, especially cute for a little girl!

Reuse the plastic candy tray, these trays are great for paint! Or for sorting small items, jewelry beads, small kids toys, etc. Best of all, they can be washed and reused over and over again!

Place those fresh cut flowers in a compost/yard waste bin (When they have died)

Reuse the valentine cards, you can cut the cards apart and use them to make future Valentine’s Day cards, you can use them for scrapbooking, or check out this site, it shows you how to use the cards to make gift boxes!

If you want to make this a green holiday, but need more ideas, just do some research, there is a ton of information on the web to help you reuse these gifts!

Here is some cuteness overload to put a smile on your face this Valentine’s Day!!

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Are you planning to give out Valentines this year? What do you typically do for your loved ones for Valentine’s Day?

Planning for a Green Baby – Nursery Floors

Hello again,

Somehow the holidays took all my blogging time away from me and it took me all of January to recover! I would like to continue on with our Planning for a Green Baby and would like to apologize to my readers for missing 2 months of blogging!

As Scott & I planned the conversion of our spare bedroom to our baby’s nursery, we decided we did not want carpet in the nursery. For starters, the previous owners of our house had covered the wood floors with white carpet (not sure what they were thinking… white is possibly the WORST carpet color!), secondly, carpet can give off VOC’s, and thirdly, this carpet was old & dirty, not something you want to bring a brand new baby home to. So for a “Fresh” start we wanted it torn up. Since we already knew the floors were wood underneath, the decision to tear up the carpet was an easy one. The only problem was we had no idea what kind of condition they wood floors would be in. We figured any condition was healthier and more green than laying new carpeting. New carpet gives off many VOC’s, causing the air quality of the room (and your home) to decrease. The last place I want poor air quality is in the nursery! (There is carpet out there that is considered “low-VOC” it is quite pricey and not easily found.)

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Well, we lucked out, besides a few small blemishes, the floors looked great! The previous owners used a water-based sealant on the floors to give the oak a lighter color, but, we found out, water-based sealants are not as durable. So the nursery floors were dull and a bit of a lighter color than our hallway. It would have been nice to have them refinished, but I didn’t want the mess and chemicals in the house while I was pregnant, nor did I want them lingering when we brought our baby boy home.

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My mom recommended a wood repair product she had used in the past, although she wasn’t sure about its eco-friendliness. I did some research on the product, which is called, Rejuvenate . Turns out it is safe to use, does not contain harsh chemicals (and if you accidentally ingest it, all you have to do is drink a bunch of water… makes it seem safe, right?) The floors took some time, and a decent amount of work; removing the carpet, pulling up the staples, sanding the bits of paint that were on the edges, and then  cleaning the floors multiple times with our plant-based It’s Good To Be Wood by Method floor cleaner. After that process, I did a few coats of the Rejuvenate wood floor repair and they started too look pretty nice! (Sorry I can’t find the larger photo of the rejuvenated floors!)

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Of course, after all this hard work, we put a large area rug down, which was always in the plan, but it may make the previous steps seem useless. The area rug took some research too, I searched and searched for eco-friendly rugs, that were appropriate for a baby’s nursery. Let me tell you, they are hard to find! Jute, is an option, and looks great & earthy, but it is not soft, so it does not seem appropriate for a nusery room floor. I settled on a beautiful braided rug that was Made in the USA! I figured a Made in the USA product is the next best thing to an organic/eco-friendly rug! (Just a side note: buying products Made in the USA is a green choice, as these products do not travel as far, which reduces the pollution travel causes, but more on that later!)

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Have you found any eco-friendly options for floor care? Or have you ordered the low-VOC carpet??