Help “dad go green” for Father’s Day!

dad super wordSunday is the day to celebrate fantastic fathers! Today I’ll be celebrating with my Dad so Sunday can be dedicated to my amazing husband and, together with our kids, we can enjoy family time.  He’s literally asked for “nothing” and just wants to take me and the kids fishing and picnicking at a local lake he enjoyed as a kid and take-in the pleasures of the great outdoors.

Hopefully you already have some terrific plans in the works, but if you are pressed for that last minute gift idea, here is my list of “great green ones” that are easy to find (or “do”) and he’s sure to love:

  • Plant a tree – it’s amazing to watch them grow over time, so add a special one to the yard. (We have one in its eighth year that’s just incredible!)’
  • Make a gift – recycle, upcycle and reuse!  Your own home is the perfect place to find supplies to create something that says “I cared enough” to make this for you!
  • Electronic solar charger – free power from the sun!  And dads love their electronics.
  • Bamboo knives or grilling set – incredible bamboo is sustainable and this is perfect for the grill master!
  • Organic brew – ideal for accompanying him at the grill!fishin
  • Organic coffee – for his morning (or all day) pick-me-up!
  • Reusable water bottle – to keep him hydrated while he’s working hard or working out!
  • iTunes – no more CDs to eventually end up in the trash.
  • Solar powered landscaping lights or a solar flashlight – (are you seeing the trend?) again, free energy!
  • Adopt nature and animals in his name or give a membership to a nature center or arboretum – my list of favorites is in a previous post here.
  • “Give your time” and get outdoors – make him king for the day and hike, bike, picnic, fish… whatever makes him happy, your time will make him the happiest!

jim kukralWith that I simply want to wish my amazing husband another wonderful Father’s Day! He is the best husband, the greatest dad ever, a dedicated son, and works so hard so that I can be home with our kids.  Soon he will add published author to his list of titles and I am so very, very proud of him!  Add to that the fact that he tolerates ME, goes along with my green ways and encourages me every step of the way… I couldn’t ask for more.  We love you, honey!

Happy Father’s Day to every amazing dad out there!  We celebrate you! And for every dad that is joining this mom in her journey to going green… THANK YOU!

Facts of the “burning” (grill) question: propane vs. charcoal

grll prpaneDinnertime at my house over the summer months gets dramatically easier, because much of the cooking is done via the grill, so it means I can pass along some duties to my husband who proudly takes the roll of “Captain BBQ”!

We’ve always owned a propane grill and never, ever go the route of charcoal or (perish the thought!) lighter fluid!  (EEK!)

To me, the propane choice seems like a no-brainer, but is it really? 

Take a look at the facts:

  • Overall, propane grilling creates a smaller carbon footprint than charcoal grilling, by about a third.  (win: propane)
  • Charcoal comes from renewable resources, but propane does not.  It comes from non-renewable fossil fuels. (win: charcoal)
  • Carbon monoxide levels from charcoal grilling can be as high as 105 times as much as propane grilling.  (BIG win: propane)
  • The “burn time” for propane is much less than charcoal.  It only needs to be “on” when you need it.  Charcoal must burn until coals are hot and then you need to wait until it burns out before the cycle is done, and it creates gasses all the while.  (win: propane)grll chrcoal
  • Charcoal often travels a far, far distance (and creates extra emissions) before it even reaches your grill, but “not so” with propane… it’s most likely local. Plus, producing charcoal creates even more emissions than actually burning it!  (win: propane)
  • Lighter fluid for charcoal is a petroleum distillate that emits volatile organic compounds (VOCs) when burned.  (win: propane)

So, I’d say we’ve been making the right decision, especially with that last VOC issue!  But just remember that what you toss on the grill matters too – preferably local organic meats and veggies!  And when it’s time for clean-up, baking soda and warm water does wonders too!

Now, fire up that grill and let’s get the cookout underway! (I’ll be right over!…)

One simple trick of home cooling efficiency…

air rtrnThis weekend’s weather in Cleveland was sweltering… fortunately we didn’t reach the magnitude of the forecast a few months ago but 89 degrees and tropical levels of humidity do not make for a comfortable home.

It became obvious that it was going to be a central air conditioning day (we were having family over and it wasn’t feeling very pleasant).  Well, as the story often goes… were we getting cold air? Oh, of course we weren’t.

We suffered through for a bit, and my husband even installed a new thermostat, but it was the wisdom of my father-in-law that taught us quite a lesson, and the answer came from this one simple question:

“Have you changed your filter lately?”

I’m embarrassed to say that we hadn’t… since “I don’t know when!”… so when we took a look, it was like something out of a horror film.  I can’t even imagine that air could have filtered through that thing, so it’s no wonder our house never cooled down… until we replaced it, and then we were cool and comfortable.air fltrs

The reason for the story?  Because one seemingly small oversight has caused us to be horribly energy INefficient.  That dirty filter slowed the flow of air and made the system work incredibly hard and, in turn, wasted energy. I’m sure it was doing the same thing to our furnace just a few months ago too.

The rule of thumb: replace it at least every three months, or more frequently in heavy usage months.

So there’s my confession, but the calendar is marked and I can now guarantee that Mom Goes Green will NOT miss the next replacement.

Recycling a wardrobe = purge + donate + swap + sell

wrdrobeNow that summer vacation for both of my kids has finally arrived, it’s time to compile that list of “to do’s” that has been taking a backseat to kid’s activities all school year long.

Top of that list?… purging closets and drawers of clothing, shoes and accessories that are causing said closets and drawers to have stress fractures!  Yea… you know the feeling… that moment after finishing all of the laundry when you “attempt” to put everything away and it simply doesn’t fit in the “space” any longer.  Mine have reached that point.

First comes the purge. What is the rule of thumb?… if it hasn’t been worn in two years, face it… you won’t wear it. And if your children have outgrown it, truly… it’s over!  But many times your clothing is in great condition and you know it isn’t yet destine for the rag bag (although if you know it truly isn’t worthy, turning it into a rag IS a great choice for upcycling!).

So what are your choices? More than ever, there are plenty of them:

  • Ebay – everyone knows this one as “the original”… it’s still around and does a great job of buying or selling what you want or only want to get rid of! (*Hint: it’s best to sell in a “lot” of clothes – i.e. six size 4T boy’s outfits)
  • Craig’s List – this is the best way to localize a sale or search of items because you list by community (again, a “lot” works wrdrobe pilebest)
  • Freecycle – this list also centralizes items to specific communities and all items are offered for free, so you know someone who really wants it gets it!
  • Bigwardrobe – this site is brand new to the U.S. (after huge success abroad) and lists many high-end designer items for sale and SWAP.
  • Soles4Souls – this organization accepts donated shoes to distribute to those who simply need shoes.  (Right now there are 14 children’s feet safely covered in Haiti thanks to the generous donation of my own children!)
  • Good ole’ American garage sale – you’ll nearly have to give them away, but if someone wants them, they’ll buy them!
  • DONATE! – there is always a long list of community organizations that serve those in need.  This one is obviously my favorite because I’m not so concerned about making money… I just want to help those who are less fortunate and I find this the most rewarding choice.

Whatever you choose, just make it a choice that keeps valuable clothing and shoes from being tossed away. I know you have plenty to give… so come’on!  Let’s purge!!!

Mom Goes Green is TWO YEARS OLD!!!

2nd bdayWhile it’s true that since I personally hit an (unfortunate) milestone birthday not long ago (and I decided to start counting my chronological age backwards) I can actually (and truthfully) say that I’ve reached my toddler years as Mom Goes Green! Yes, MGG is TWO YEARS OLD!

Two years.  Wow.  This post is # 315. I’ve still had moments where I thought I would give up and put it to rest, but then… along comes a reader, full of thanks and praise, and I wonder how I could even think of stopping.

So… what has Mom Goes Green been doing in the past year? (*insert dizzying dream visual here!*)

Through my journey as Mom Goes Green I have:

Ah, yes.  My journey.

Have I struggled at times?  Yes.  Have I been frustrated?  Yes.  Am I proud of what I’ve done?  Yes… I am.  Absolutely.

And I have appreciated everyone who has taken time out of their life to read Mom Goes Green and give some consideration to all the things I have shared.

Thank you for joining this journey. With love and appreciation – Mom Goes Green