Houseplants to purify your indoor air!

areca plm pltIndoor plants are a fantastic way to bring the outdoors inside, no matter what time of year it is (and, with temperatures starting to drop, windows and doors will likely be spending more time closed!).  Not only can plants breathe life into a room, but did you know they can also, literally, breathe fresh clean air into your home as well?!?

Sadly, our indoor air can become even more polluted than outdoor air(!) due in part to everything from VOCs in paint to all of the horrible things we track in on our shoes and then send airborne!

Just take a look at what some of the most common household plants can “do” for your home!:

  • Areca palm – this one is the top purifier and also humidifies the air as it cleans!  (Lady palm and bamboo palm also do an amazing job!)peace lly plt
  • Peace lilies – also a great all-around air purifier, and incredibly easy to maintain.
  • English ivy – fantastic for removing airborne mold (up to 60% of airborne mold in just six hours, by the way!).
  • Spider plants – great at removing 100% of the carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide from the air in only 24 hours.
  • Boston ferns – another great over-all air purifier but especially for removing formaldehyde from the air.
  • Rubber plants – great for cleaning out those VOCs.

To reach maximum effectiveness, it’s recommended to have at least one 6” plant per 100 feet of living space.

Amazing, isn’t it? Actually, it’s exactly what I would expect Mother Nature to provide… something to clean-up our dirty work (and dirty air!).

Trash or (art class) treasure?

number 5 yogurt 2I’m a recycling maniac. I really do recycle just about anything I can justify going into the recycling can… mostly because I know the list of common recyclables AND because I can’t stand NOT recycling. (Small paper tag on a new article of clothing?… oh yea.  Even something THAT small!)

Sometimes, however, there are items that just don’t fit the guidelines: plastic containers that your community won’t accept, polystyrene trays and egg cartons that can’t be recycled, kids cups from restaurants or just that miscellaneous something-or-other that is destine for the trash.

Have you ever considered your children’s school or a local art group? I have, and I donate all of this unwanted “trash” to my kids’ art class.  They accept it with open arms and put these supplies to good use.egg fm crtn

Drop the teacher a note or call the school to see if they are interested.  You might be shocked with how excited they’ll be to take your “garbage” off your hands.

One family’s trash can be an art class treasure!

Grab your gear & campout… June 25 is the day!

Gr Am Bkyrd Campout 11Have you heard about this weekend’s greatest camping spot on the planet?  Well, it just so happens that you won’t need to go far… it’s your own backyard!

This Saturday, June 25, is the Great American Backyard Campout!

The National Wildlife Federation created this day to encourage families to reconnect with nature and the outdoors, and remind us that we can manage life “with a little less”.  You can set up tents, cookout over a fire pit, explore your surroundings, play flashlight tag, star gaze and our kids’ ever-favorite… gorge on S’mores!  Shut down all the lights, computers and TVs in your house and even save a little electricity while you’re at it. (Indoor latrine, via flashlight, permitted of course!)camp at home

If you want to find out who’s camping nearby, or register your own outing, check out NWFs site for more information.

I think this is a great opportunity to join families all over the country in embracing everything the great outdoors has to offer… it’s free, it’s fun… it’s the perfect way to reconnect with our families and nature.  Now grab your sleeping bag and let’s campout!…

For Father’s Day… help him “go green”!

dad super wordSunday is the day to celebrate fantastic fathers! Our Sunday will be spent celebrating my amazing husband…”fab dad” to our kids!!!  As always, he’s literally asked for “nothing” and just wants to spend time with me and the kids… likely fishing, picnicking and enjoying what’s slated to be a wonderful “weather day” (Phew!).  Every year he just wants to enjoy the pleasures of the great outdoors and, of course, his family! 🙂

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 ninth year… it’s just incredible and we have loved watching it grow and bloom!)
  • 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!fshing
  • 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!
  • 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 kuk picWith 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.  He single-handedly supports our family AND he’s a published author (with more on the way!) 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 (always!)… 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!

… and the flip-flops lived on…

flp flpsI’m a “flip-flop girl”… I LOOOOVE my flip-flops! And most of my friends know about my obsession too.  If it’s above 50 degrees… FLIP-FLOP TIME!!!

It’s needless to say, however, that the lifespan of a flip-flop can be somewhat limited.  They wear out, they break and, well, sometimes they just start looking pathetic.

Want to help those tired, poor flip-flops live on? (Clearly, I also enjoy “saying” flip-flop!…) but sincerely… there is a fabulous use for them after they outlive their original purpose.

From now until May 21, Terracycle has teamed up with Old Navy stores to collect those flip-flops.  Deposit them in the collection bins at any Old Navy location in the U.S. and Terracycle will be turning them into playground materials.

The playgrounds will be given to a few schools and organizations that participate in the Terracycle Brigades too.  My children’s school participates in the Drink Pouch Brigade so hey, who knows… my old flip-flops may just end up being a part of my kids’ playground!ONTC flip

We’re all preparing for summer (anxiously!) and pulling out everything that has been put away for far too long. If your seasonal wardrobe includes some flip-flops that have seen better days, make your way to an Old Navy store before they make their way to the trash…

… beloved flip-flops can live on!