Prep your home for “away” before vacation “play”!

lampSometimes it’s easy to get so consumed with planning and preparing for a vacation that we forget about the home we’re leaving behind.

Before you leave, your house needs some special attention so it doesn’t continue to over-consume in your absence. When you think about everything that’s drawing energy on a daily basis (and the things that an empty house doesn’t need), it’s time for a checklist.

Here are a few simple (and possibly overlooked) ideas to keep your home green while you vacation:

  • Turn off your air conditioning or, in the winter months, turn the heat to 55 degrees.
  • Make sure ceiling fans are turned off.fridge
  • Unplug nearly everything… computers, TVs, appliances, microwaves, lamps, coffee makers, all of it!  Look at every outlet in your house and most things can be unplugged in your absence.  They WILL still consume “phantom power” even when not in use!
  • Install timers on a few lights so your home still appears lived-in but they won’t glow 24-hours-a-day.
  • Dial down the temperature or switch off the breaker on your water heater.
  • If you clear out an overload of perishables in your refrigerator make sure it’s not too empty… you actually need some content to make it efficient.  If it’s looking a bit empty, just fill and cover a few large pitchers of water.

That’s all it takes.  A checklist and a little extra time and you can keep it green while you play away!

Keep your lawn green while the summer turns red hot!

grassSpring was unbelievably rainy here in Cleveland.  It certainly provided us with some beautifully lush green lawns… but now it’s summer and, oh, how the tides do change…

There hasn’t been much rain lately and now I’m cringing as our neighbors run their sprinklers for hours on end in the middle of the day!  Sheesh… what are they thinking?

There are some very simple and very green ways to keep your yard looking green too.  Here are five of the simplest of simple tips to help you:

  • Watering – ummm, yea.  Middle of the day… not so wise!  Much of the water evaporates before it ever reaches the roots.  Lawns only need an inch of water per week so this means about ONCE a week without the help of Mother Nature’s rain.  If Mother Nature is helping, don’t turn on that sprinkler! Plus, too many shallow waterings will bring roots to the surface and burn out the lawn even faster.  If you must water, early morning or evening is best.  Don’t forget that you can put your greywater to work too!
  • Mowing – don’t mow in the heat of the day either.  Cut grass loses moisture rapidly and (again!) can cause the lawn to burn out even faster, so yes… early morning or evening again!grss mow
  • No “low mow” – the optimal length is 3”, so don’t over-mow or mow too short.  Taller grass grows a deeper root system, grows slower, requires less water and helps prevent weeds.
  • Mulch it – mulching mowers actually cut grass and chop it so it can act as mulch to hold moisture (but if you don’t have a mulching mower, consider composting the clippings).
  • Water wisely – it won’t make your lawn greener but again, if you must water, actually water the lawn, NOT sidewalks and drives! Just pay close attention not to water wildly and prevent waste.

See… simple!  The mercury may rise, the rain may stay away, but the grass can be greener on your side of the fence too!

Simple choice: disposable or reusable?

solo br cupsOkay my friends… it’s as simple as this.  We had a choice.

Many people were going to visit our house.  The keg was calling out for a party.  Do you buy disposable cups or reusables? Quick! Make your choice.

It sounds crazy, I know, but I found myself facing this ridiculous question.  What… do… you … do?

I went to the dollar store. I bought cups. I bought reusable cups. I walked away from the disposables… and guess what?  We were just fine.  Everyone followed the rules.  They used the cups. They deposited them back into the kitchen.  They found their way into a (full) dishwasher. They were washed. They were stored for the next gathering. We threw NOTHING away. We won’t need to spend more money next time either. The next time, “we already have cups”.

Success. Yes. No trash. That’s all you need to do.  Wise choices, my friends.  Wise choices.

Stressed? Natural ways for a Green Mom to shake the blues!

CB060663Mom Goes Green is always sharing ways to try to improve the things around you… your family’s daily life, your home, your community, our planet.  But what about you? What’s a stressed-out and tired Green Mom to do?

Well, this weekend is a long holiday weekend for many of us.  Why not take time for YOU (for a change!)? Here are three simple ways (with relatively earth-friendly twists) to naturally rejuvenate and leave the stress behind (even if only for a night!):

  • Go ahead and splurge – take a bath and add some natural and organic bath salts.  Studies show that the salts increase prolactin levels by up to a third and help in relaxation!
  • Grab a cup of hot organic coffee or tea – it can actually trigger psychological warmth and pleasant feelings, even after only holding it for 10 seconds!  For a natural antidepressant, add a nice spice… cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, you choose.
  • Turn off the TV and read – stimulating your mind actually creates happiness.  To be eco-friendly, borrow books from the library or a friend, make your purchase at a used book store or, for the avid reader, buy a Kindle or Nook.

There you have it… simple steps… and what it takes for a stressed Green Mom to shake the blues!