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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Living Green and Saving Green

A frugal greenie is not an oxymoron. With the green movement and our struggling economy, people often wonder if it's possible to be frugal while living green. I'm all about living green and saving green and I'd like to share some tips that I use around my home. I made small changes over the past few years and I believe that even small changes can make a huge difference on both our world and your checkbook.

Buy all-natural and organic personal products - natural and organic products last longer so you won't have to buy as often and it's saves the waste of bottles and packaging products that just end up in landfills. A natural or organic bar of soap lasts twice as long because it's an actual bar of soap. Synthetic chemicals are so bad for the environment and for your body. Your skin absorbs these chemicals and your lungs are filled with nasty fumes. Eeuw!

Buy all-natural and organic household products - I am so over single-use cleaners! Simplify and save. Natural and organic household cleaners and laundry products last longer than supermarket brands, they are better for the enviroment and better for you.

Stop buying paper towel - use a chamois style cloth or newspaper (that's likely already made from recycled paper) in place of paper towel. You could save as much as $500 per year!

Save more - conserve energy, save water, save product, save money. I came up with a way to load my dishwasher until the dishes were just about falling out. Come up with a loading system so you don't have to run the dishwasher as often. If you load them just right, you can fit twice as many in. I run 3 less loads per week and that's saves a lot of green!

Save even more -conserve energy, save water, save product, save money. Who wouldn't love to cut back on their laundry?! Are you one who uses one towel for your body, one towel for your hair, and then you throw them both into the laundry hamper? Naughty, naughty! Use only one towel, hang it to dry, and use it for the week. This alone will cut down on your laundry. Get a few wears out of your clothes rather than just one. Wash only linens and whites in warm water. I've found that adding 1 cup of white vinegar to each load helps the detergent work best in cold water washes. Vinegar is also great as a fabric softener and it's way cheaper than buying fabric softener! Hang your clothes on the line during warmer months of the year. You'll benefit from the energy savings and your clothes will smell fresh and sun-kissed.

Stop buying packaged bottled water - I know it's not always possible when you want filtered water but here are a few tips to get started. Buy a filtration system for your sink or faucet. There are numerous studies out there comparing filtered tap water to bottled water and each person has to come to their own conclusion. I personally use a cheaper carbon filter on the faucet and I feel good about that. Also, buy a safe, reusable container to take water with you when you're on the go. Doing this will save you money and prevent even more plastic bottles ending up in the landfills.

Green gift wrap solution - Let's start a new trend! Millions of tons of wrapping paper end up in landfills each year. Stop buying wrapping paper and start using newspaper (that's likely already made from recycled paper). Use comics for kids or the sports section for guys. Save an engagement announcement and use it to wrap the couples wedding gift. Use shredded paper for packaging or in place of tissue paper when reusing gift bags. Have some fun with it. Save greeting cards (fronts only) that others send to you and reuse them as gift tags with you own message. Save $5-10 per gift!

Pack lunches - you can save in so many ways! I invested in reusable containers so I can buy snack items in bulk. This saves money as well as packaging waste. Packing lunches is so much healthier for you and far cheaper than eating out!

Don't pitch it - donate clothing items, furniture, household items, toys, etc. before throwing them away. Pass them along to someone you know or donate them to Goodwill or your local shelter. List larger items on Craigslist in the "free" section for pick up. You'll be helping someone else save money, these items will be used again before making it to their final resting place (in the landfill), and you can reap some tax benefits too.

There must be thousands of ways you can find to reuse, save waste, save energy and save water - all while saving some green. Even the smallest steps can make a huge difference. You 'll feel good about doing it and it's even better if we can teach the next generation to do the same. Get your kids involved too. You might be surprised what their little imaginations can come up with.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Giveaway: Logitech WiLife Home Security System

All American Mommy has the great pleasure of offering a Logitech WiLife Home Security System as a giveaway! Woo Hoo! These days, you just can't be too safe and this home security system is super easy to install! Logitech gives me total peace of mind.

The Logitech Indoor Video Security Master System is a revolutionary video security system available at a fraction of the cost of other systems. It's all plug and play--installation takes 15 minutes.

The Outdoor Camera is weatherproof and waterproof, ensuring year-round use even in harsh conditions.

  • Easy to use command center software
  • Email and cell phone alerts
  • Flexible mounting
  • No network required
  • Remote viewing by PC and phone or PDA

  • Box Contents - Logitech Indoor Camera, Logitech USB receiver, Logitech Command Center PC software, and USB cable
  • 400 MHz DSP Processing Power
  • Windows Media Video 9 Image Encoding
  • Motion detection in up to 16 zones, Auto brightness Image Processing
  • Selectable 640 x 480 pixels or 320 x 240 pixels Resolution
Please visit www.wilife.com for more information.

Giveaway: One lucky winner will receive the Logitech Wilife Home Security System (over $200 value). Post a comment telling me why this would give you peace of mind. Please be sure to leave your email address so I can contact you. Extra entries can be made by (1) following my blog(2) tweet this giveaway (3) blog about this giveaway. A max. of 4 entries per person. Ends 4/20/2009.

Marley and Me A Must-See

Marley & Me, from Fox Home Entertainment, will be coming out on DVD March 31, 2009. You will definately want to get this movie! Scott and I had the pleasure of viewing it this weekend. Being dog lovers, we really enjoyed it as Marley melted our hearts.

Oscar nominee Owen Wilson and Emmy winner Jennifer Aniston star in a hilarious tale about a family who learns important life lessons from their adorable, but naughty dog. Marley was the "Clearance Puppy". When newlyweds John and Jenny Grogan (Wilson and Aniston) leave the snow of Michigan for the beaches of Miami, they decide to adopt a yellow lab named Marley, in order to give them a taste of parenthood. However, things get rough when their puppy transforms into a ball of energy. Marley causes absolute chaos but despite all the mayhem he generates over the years, Marley sees the Grogans through the ups and downs of life and the countless challenges that come with it. The family soon discovers that Marley, "the world's worst dog", somehow brings out the best in them.

Featuring love and fun for the whole family, Marley & Me will be available in three DVD configurations including Fox’s first ever three-disc Blu-ray release.

The Marley & Me “Bad Boy” Three-Disc Blu-ray offers families the opportunity to enjoy the film on three different formats: high definition Blu-ray Disc featuring an exclusive Dog Training Trivia Track and 101 tutorial with BonusView, Digital Copy for playback on portable devices and a single-disc DVD for use on existing standard DVD players. The Marley & Me “Bad Boy” Three-Disc Blu-ray will be sold for the suggested retail price of $39.99 U.S./$49.98 Canada.

The “Bad Boy” Two-Disc Special Edition DVD comes fully-loaded with Digital Copy, 19 deleted scenes, a gag reel, featurettes and much more, and will be available for $34.98 U.S. / $45.98 Canada.

Marley & Me will also be available as a Single-Disc DVD for the suggested retail price of $29.98 U.S. / $43.48 Canada. Prebook is March 4.

Three Disc Blu-Ray Disc (BD) Specs:

The Marley & Me Three Disc BD release will be presented in widescreen format (2.35:1 aspect ratio) with English 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio (Lossless), Spanish, French and Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound, and Spanish, Portuguese, Cantonese, Mandarin and Korean subtitles. English subtitles will also be available for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Bonus features include:

· Dog Training Trivia Track

· Dog Training 101 featuring BonusView Video

· 19 Deleted Scenes With Director, David Frankel Commentary

· Finding Marley featurette

· Breaking the Golden Rule featurette

· On Set with Marley: Dog of All Trades featurette

· Animal Adoption featurette

· Purina® Dog Chow® Marley & Me Video Contest Finalists

· Purina® Dog Chow® Video Hall of Fame

· Gag Reel

· When Not to Pee featurette

· Digital Copy

· Marley & Me Single DVD

Happy Saint Patrick's Day from All American Mommy

Top of the mornin' to ya! Happy Saint Patrick's Day from All American Mommy! This mommy has a wee bit of Irish in 'er, Laddie!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mmm...Monday: Lasagna with Spinach and Peppers Recipe

This is a tasty spin of the traditional lasagna recipe. It's low in fat and packed with vitamins. This recipe is one of my new faves! You can also add chicken breast if you like meat in your lasagna but it's great as is.

2 Tbsp Oil Oil
1/2 lbs baby spinach
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1 large orange bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1 (42 oz) can tomato sauce
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil cooking spray
3 C. low-fat cottage cheese
1 C. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1/4 C. grated parmesan cheese
8 large fresh or cooked noodles (I like to use whole-wheat oven ready)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add spinach and cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic and bell peppers and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes then remove from heat and set sauce aside.

Coat 9X13 baking dish with olive oil cooking spray and set aside.

In medium bowl mix cottage cheese, 3/4 C. mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Season with pepper.

Evenly layer noodles, sauce and cheese mixture, repeat. Bake for 30 minutes. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top and bake for 10 minutes until cheese is melted. Set lasagna aside for 10 minutes, then slice and serve.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Spreading The Word

As most of you know that I have a huge passion for charities! Check out my interview with Smart Poodle Publishing! I hope this will open the door to more opportunities that will get me out into the community and helping in every way that I can. Click here to check it out and leave your comments about the interview.