Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Beautiful Recyclables

Looking for a quick project to spruce up your décor? Before you toss that tin can into the recycling bin think again! You can turn that old can into a beautiful vase. Yes, really, a vase. Give it a really good scrub (preferably with your eco-friendly soap) and peel off the label. If you're lucky like me, you can even recycle that old label. Make sure you scrub off all of the excess glue and give your can a rub down with a cloth towel; just be careful of any sharp edges. You can use your favorite color string/ribbon or choose a color that matches the rest of your décor. Wrap the ribbon around the can several times and tie it off. I prefer to knot it and then cut of the excess so it doesn't dangle. Add a little water to the inside of your can and finish it off with your favorite flowers. Easy, cheap and pretty. 

Daily Greens:
"An estimated 80,000,000 Hershey's Kisses are wrapped each day, using enough aluminum foil to cover over 50 acres of space -- that's almost 40 football fields. All that foil is recyclable, but not many people realize it."

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Hurricane Irene Experience

As I posted yesterday, I got power back, which means I lost power along with over 600,000 other households in Connecticut. I knew I was probably going to lose power so I was somewhat prepared. I wasn't mentally or physically prepared for 39 hours without power. Some may say 39 hours is nothing. Aside from camping, I have never lost power for longer than 10 hours so 39 hours was an eternity. Here is a recap of those powerless 39 hours...

Power was lost around 5am Sunday morning. Since I woke up without power, I automatically woke up on the wrong side of the bed. No running water, can't flush the toilet without dumping water into it to cause a pressure flush, no hot shower. What a way to start the day.
The first thing hubs and I had to do was move some of our meat and other items that may spoil into a cooler with ice. Looking back on this, we should have filled the coolers with a ton of ice and food that might spoil before we lost power and when I was fully awake, not 'just rolled out of bed' kind of awake. Opening the refrigerator meant letting out the cold air that was already trapped inside. To do this as quickly as possible, I opened the fridge and, in the matter of 10 seconds, blindly pulled out anything that I though might go bad. I grabbed some meat, smart balance, milk, mushrooms, leftover mashed potatoes, green beans, coffee (a must) and grapes. Clearly, I was still half asleep. Mushrooms and leftover mashed potatoes, really? What the heck was I going to do with those without power. I can't cook the mushrooms. I can't reheat the mashed potatoes. At least the coffee, green beans and grapes could sit on the counter. I'm still shaking my head over the mashed potatoes. (The list of things that I did not grab but should have include half&half, yogurt, buttermilk, leftover meatloaf, salt pork, and cheese. With all of these likely to spoil items, I'm really, really not understanding why I chose to save the mashed potatoes...)
With my saved food items in their coolers, we then had to open our freezer to get as much ice as we could to keep our coolers chilled and save some to keep the freezer cold. We did alright with this task, however, I did not make nearly enough ice. Especially since using some of the ice for our iced coffees was a MAJOR priority. If I couldn't have power, I would at least have my iced coffee!

For breakfast hubs and I had our iced coffee and some of the delicious cinnamon raisin bread that I had baked the day before.
Please excuse the rack dent on the top of the bread. I dropped it on the rack while trying to get it out of the pan.

The rest of the morning was spent catching up on some reading. Lunch sucked. I'm a lunch person. I love nice lunches that consist of perfect little sandwiches with meat, cheese, lettuce and tomato or some leftovers from the night before. Well, we didn't have any deli meat and I couldn't reheat those leftover mashed potatoes so I had some peanut butter crackers...boring. The afternoon got a little more exciting. My puppy Brady finally decided he had to go to the bathroom bad enough to actually go outside. (He refused to go out all morning long.) While he was outside, hubs and I noticed something weird in the middle of the backyard but we couldn't tell what it was, just that it was big, lumpy and grayish. Rocco went out after Brady came in. Rocco, the ever so curious lab, noticed the gray lump in the yard too and decided to check it out. The next thing we knew, Rocco was running/jumping around in circles with his tail between his legs and frantically looking around him. My poor puppy Rocco was stung by a bee. Sweet Irene brought us a nice little hostess gift, a hornets nest complete with white-faced hornets. Wonderful.Thanks Irene, just what we always wanted.
Since we couldn't keep the wonderful little gift Irene brought us, we decided that we had to spray it asap. Hubs is allergic to bees and there was no way I was getting close to those suckers so we decided to try and spray it from the closest window. Looking back on this, it probably wasn't the best idea to hang halfway out of an open window during the middle of a hurricane. Because of the hurricane force winds, the bee spray was being blown past the nest instead of onto it. Fun times. We actually had to go out and spray it. We then hung out of the window again to watch for stragglers, We were just full of bright moments on Sunday. The bee situation was taken care of and we went back to our mundane reading.
Blah blah blah, hours spent reading passed and then it was dinner time. Hubs and I knew we would be without power on Sunday so we had purchased meat to grill. Smart thinking! But it really wasn't so smart. How were we going to grill during the middle of a hurricane? Not only did we not take into consideration the winds and rain, but we also forgot about having to put the grill away in the shed. I thought I was so prepared for my first real power outage. I guess not. I really made a couple of stupid mistakes. Grilling during a hurricane, really. Slap me in the back of the head for that one. Since we didn't have anything that we could actually cook or anything that we wanted to snack on or eat cold, we decided to go out and see if anything was open. At this point, the storm was winding down. There was some rain and occasional big gusts of wind, but not like earlier. It seemed ok to go out and we noticed many other people in our neighborhood venturing out. We brought the dogs with us and started to drive and charge up our cell phones. This is the entrance to our dead end neighborhood:
tree and wires down in the road

This was in the was of getting out of the neighborhood with a path for 1 car to squeeze through

Technically, my road was closed to traffic... oops

Close up look driving by (not zoomed in)

This was why I didn't have power. At least we were able to get through safely. I was also happy to know that hubs and I weren't the only stupid ones without dinner that night. There were many people driving around looking for open stores and restaurants. We were finally able to find an open pizza place in the next town over. Since they were one of the very few places with power, the wait was insane but it was a nice chance to charge our phones and check up on the news and facebook, of course. Thank god for smart phones, seriously. 
Since we waited over an hour for our pizza, it was almost dark by the time we got home. At least my candles were already gathered in one place!
Pizza, wine and candles...not too shabby. After that, some more reading by candle light but it was an early night. That was the first 24 hours.

The Additional 14
Hubs woke up in a horrible mood. I can't blame him, we still didn't have power. We also didn't have ice for iced coffee, which was a really low blow. No power, no coffee. Super bad day in the making. At least it was beautiful outside. Blue skies, no clouds, perfect temperature, and carnage around the yard. The carnage part was not so beautiful.

 This is the 20 foot long top of our neighbors pine tree that came down outside our bedroom window.

This is where it came from, 50 yards up. Thanks, Bill.

The trunk of the tree was imbedded a foot into the ground from impact.

Hubs is not happy about this mess but we are very thankful it did not land on our house or the brand new shed we just built.

Most of the yard was covered in these more manageable limbs and branches.

Part of the lovely little hornets nest Irene left for us. The rest was scattered throughout the yard. Yay.

Hubs and I had a massive amount of crap to clean up. But first, we needed to find ice to keep my mashed potatoes and other food cool. We also really, really, really wanted some iced coffee. Off we went and this is what we encountered about 100 yards up the road:
Another tree and more wires down across the road. At least that wasn't my front yard... sorry neighbor!

Because we live in a dead end neighborhood, we knew that cleanup and power restoration was not going to come any time soon. We really, really needed ice. Stop and Shop was already sold out of ice and the local gas stations were not open. But before we could think about an ice plan, we really needed coffee. Since the drive through line at Dunkin Donuts was (literally) a half a mile long and the line was out the door for inside the store, we got coffees at McDonald's after waiting a half an hour. Sometimes I wish we weren't crazy coffee addicts because that's the price we pay for caffeine. After our fix, we drove to the next closest grocery store, a town over. Since my town was 93% without power and surrounding towns were 100% without power, everybody and their mother was out looking for ice. Good luck. Grocery stores, package stores and gas stations were all out. Hubs called his dad and they had power. They also had 4 bags of ice that they didn't need since they still had power. We decided we should drive there to get the ice because we would need it, for sure. Did I mention they live an hour away? 
Five minutes into the trip I saw a lonely little package store that was OPEN with a huge ice chest out front. No cars, no customers, just the owner. I thought, "why not?", and told hubs to stop. He still had ice! I miraculously found the only place left with ice and no line to wait in. Score! Now we didn't need to drive an hour just to get ice. 
Once home and after we iced our mashed potatoes food, it was time to tackle the yard. All you could hear in the neighborhood was chainsaws, saws, and lawn mowers chopping up all the crap in the yards. It took hubs and me 4 hours to clean up that mess of a pine tree. We had to saw it all down by hand. I'm actually really proud of us for tackling that. 20 feet of pine tree, plus all of the extra branches it took down, in 4 hours? Pretty good. So good, in fact, that we decided to drive that hour to the in-laws house just so we could shower. (After 4 hours of sawing and chopping and 2 hours of hauling branches and sticks we really needed it). We left our house at 4. The trees and wires were still down in the road in both places and there were no working crews in sight. When we saw this, we thought we might be in the group of people that might not get power restored for a whole week. 
To make a really long story short, we showered got the extra ice and drove home. The first thing we noticed when approaching our neighborhood was that the road block had been removed. Hubs immediately said "Noooooo.... it can't be." As we turned into the neighborhood, surprise! The tree was gone! AND LIGHTS WERE ON. We thought that maybe the first part of the neighborhood had power and maybe the other tree and lines were still down. Surprise! The second tree was gone! And the lines were up! AND LIGHTS WERE ON. I saw a TV, lamps, flood lights. We literally started laughing and acting like 4-year-olds on Christmas morning. We also danced around the house as we turned on every.single.light. Just because we could. That, my friends, is how I spent 39 hours without power.
Thank god for electricity.

The Starfish Story

In yesterday's excitement of getting back electricity (and the internet), I wrote a super quick post and forgot to include my daily greens. Please ponder this daily green. It holds meaning for all of us. For me, it reminds me that every eco-friendly choice I make, no matter how small it is, will make a difference.

The Starfish Story
Original Story by: Loren Eisley

One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed
a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean.

Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?”

The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean.
The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”

“Son,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish?
You can’t make a difference!”

After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish,
and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said…”
I made a difference for that one.”

Monday, August 29, 2011

Electricity Up and Running, Sigh of Relief!

Finally, my electricity is back on! When I have more time tomorrow, I will post pictures and tell the story of my Hurricane Irene experience. In the meantime, it's time to catch up on my gazillion emails and read some news articles to reconnect myself to the world. Be on the lookout for an update on my hurricane experience  tomorrow, you are NOT going to want to miss it!
On a side note, I am open to and looking for eco-friendly products to review! Check out my contact page if you are interested.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Thanks for the 3 Day Weekend, Hurricane Irene

I am one of the millions in Hurricane Irene's path. I'm not really sure how to react. I've been watching the weather channel all morning and I feel like I should be panicked. I'm not really nervous but I have been getting prepared. I made a cinnamon raisin bread for breakfasts, I've frozen lots of water to help keep my fridge cool, filled my tub with water, washed all my laundry, stocked up on bottled water for the dogs, put all of our summer outdoor furniture/grill into the shed, put all my candles in one place and put everything in my basement up onto the shelves and off of the floor. According to the Weather Channel, "Your emergency supply kit should include: dry cereal, canned juices, peanut butter, ready-to-eat canned meats, canned fruits & vegetables." I am not panicked or alarmed enough to make one. I have all this stuff in my pantry anyways. However, I am anticipating losing power for a while. I've already lost power for a significant amount of time in the last year because of other storms that were no where near as powerful as Irene. On a positive note, a power outage will mean a cheaper electricity bill this month! Also, if hubs and I run out of water or need to conserve for the dogs, I've stocked up on wine and beer for the two of us. Candle light and wine? It could be a very romantic weekend! haha

Daily Greens: Some interesting facts about Hurricanes
1. The word hurricane comes from the Taino Native American word, hurucane, meaning evil spirit of the wind.
2. A tropical storm is classified as a hurricane once winds goes up to 74 miles per hour or higher.
3. Every second, a large hurricane releases the energy of 10 atomic bombs.

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Little About Myself

Daily Greens: (ABC's of me today) I found this while blog hopping!

A – Age: 26
B – Bed size: Queen Size
C – Chore you dislike: Cleaning the bathroom and washing dishes!
D – Dogs: Rocco a Yellow Lab and Brady Quinn the mutt
E – Essential start to your day: COFFEE
F – Favorite color: pink <3
G – Gold or silver: White Gold
H – Height: 5’2 3/4"
I – Instruments you play(ed): Flute
J – Junk Food: chips
K – Kids: just the fur-babies
L – Live: CT
M – Mom’s name: MJ
N – Nicknames: Boobie haha
O – Overnight hospital stays: 6 surgeries
P – Pet peeves: When people lack common sense
Q – Quote from a movie:"The yellow ones don't stop!" Elf
R – Righty or lefty: Right
S – Siblings: Brother and Sister
T – Time you wake up:  anywhere between 5:30 and 9
U – Underwear: um, yes
V – Vegetables you don’t like: okra
W – What makes you run late: Internet news articles
X – X-rays you’ve had:  Teeth, chest
Y – Yummy food you make: Hubs said "everything"
Z – Zoo animal favorites:  elephants I guess but I'm not a fan of zoo's

I hope you enjoy finding out a little bit about me!

My First Guest Blog: Meet Laura from I'm Not a Trophy Wife

As I was blog hopping early this morning, I came across a wonderful post that I felt an instant connection to. I am dog lover and a lover of all things dog, especially adoption programs. Laura posted this to her blog and dedicated it to her sister. She is so sweet for allowing me to post this to my blog as well. Thank you Laura, for allowing me to re-post and for spreading information about such a wonderful adoption program! If you would like to find out more about my guest blogger, Laura, check out her blog I'm Not a Trophy Wife. And with out further ado, the first guest post!

Adopt a Golden Knoxville

In honor of my sister's birthday, I
want to write a post about a cause that is so very close to her heart. 

 Adopt a Golden Knoxville is a volunteer, nonprofit organization dedicated to finding warm, loving permanent homes for Golden Retrievers in order to prevent them from becoming strays or adding to the shelter overpopulation. Our focus is on assisting owners that can no longer care for their Golden due to unfortunate financial or other personal circumstances. Golden Retrievers, regardless of medical needs or age, will receive comprehensive evaluation; spay/neutering services, veterinary care, behavioral training if required, and safe passage into a permanent loving home. In addition to providing those services, Adopt a Golden Knoxville is intent on educating and assisting the metropolitan Knoxville and East Tennessee general public, and dog owners specifically, regarding issues such as responsible pet ownership, spay/neutering, obedience training, and veterinary/specialists referrals. Our goal is to reduce the number of Golden Retrievers sent to shelters.

Please take a minute to visit the website.  It is absolutely adorable.  It is run by volunteers who spend their weekends and weeknights finding foster homes, making home visits to potential "forever homes", managing social media sites (they have a Facebook page too) and fundraising. And like a hundred other activities!!!  If you live in east Tennessee or even outside of Tennessee (they work with families from all surrounding states and the east coast) please share this website  and please do your part to help animals in your local shelters!!!

Happy Birthday Sissy and Auntie Tricia! 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Summer is Coming to an End...

I love the beach. I always have and I always will. My favorite part about summer (besides not working) is going to the beach. There is no other place where I am one with nature more than when I am at the beach. I love the sound, the smell and the sun. I love it so much that I don't even mind the sand in the bathing suit. Sadly, I was only able to make it to the beach a handful of times this summer.
Yesterday was the last day of summer vacation that hubs and I had together. Naturally, we spent it at the beach! Please enjoy my beach pictures... I know I will be looking at them all winter counting down the days left before next summer's vacation.

Daily Greens:
“The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea.”

--Isak Dinesen

Planet Dog

If you are a dog lover, you will love this post. Beautifully Bellafaith has teamed up with Planet Dog and they are having a giveaway. One lucky winner will win an on the go water bowl, snack clip and feed bag! Of course, I entered this giveaway because my two fur babies would love to be winners! These would be great to bring along with us when we go on trips and hikes. My fur-babies already enjoy their Planet Dog Orbee ball. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that Planet Dog has a large selection of eco-friendly toys! Double fantastic! Happy fur-babies, Happy planet Earth!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Veggie Tales: Vol. 2

As promised in the first addition of Veggies Tales, I have been using the fresh vegetables that my grandmother grew, along with some organic veggies I bought. I made a super fresh salad with home grown veggies and organic Romaine lettuce. Of course, I used extra radishes because I love, love, love them. I also made grilled chicken with a garlic, lemon and herb marinade with herbs from my garden… so good! The marinade is also great with grilled fish and grilled chicken tenders. If you would like the recipe for the marinade, send me a message or leave a comment and I’d be happy to share!
Don't forget your cloth napkin!

Daily Greens:
Recycling 1 ton of aluminum cans conserves the equivalent of 1,665 gallons of gasoline.

For more recycling facts, visit

Monday, August 22, 2011

What Are Daily Greens?

Daily Greens is a new addition to the blog. Everyday, I will share a quote, article, fun fact or interesting bit of Eco-friendly information with you. Check back every day for a dose of your daily greens!

Today's Daily Green:
"Unless we keep this planet healthy, everything else is for naught."
Victoria Principal

Sunday Blog Hop!

Hello fellow bloggers! Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog! As you can see, it is a work in progress. I have literally just started blogging and I am really enjoying my experience so far. I am learning as I go and still have a lot to learn about the blogging world! I am interested in getting into product reviews for Eco-friendly related products. If you have any words of wisdom to share, I am all ears (or eyes!). I would greatly appreciate any advise or feedback you may have to share! Also, please connect with me on GFC (I will follow in return). Thanks so much and I am looking forward to meeting all of you awesome bloggers!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Veggie Tales

I made a fantastic tasting dinner tonight with some of the local veggies I bought yesterday. I made Pork Chop Creole with mashed potatoes. The green peppers were locally grown, as were the potatoes, and the celery was organic. 

The recipe is a family favorite and was passed down to me from my mom, who had it passed to her from her father. If you would like the recipe, leave a comment or send me an email. I’d be happy to share!

My grandmother is very big into gardening and when I visited her today, she gave me several of her home grown veggies. I’m looking forward to cooking with these beauties in the future!
Thanks, Grandma!


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