Author: gaylen74

Nov 30

A Sustainable Holiday

Our sustainable table (used extra rosemary, tied with piece of paper bag, to decorate the plate)

In my continued effort to become more and more green, I thought I would find ways to make this Thanksgiving as environmentally friendly as possible.  My intentions were good when I walked out the door to hit up Whole Foods the morning before the big day, but halfway there I realized I had forgotten my reusable bags.  You know, the ones that I set next to the front door so I won’t EVER forget them.  Those are the ones I forgot.  Did I beat myself up?  Well, yes, to be honest I did, but only for about another mile.  Then, soon after, I decided I would simply have to incorporate the paper bags I knew I would be getting from the store into my holiday set-up in an effort to reduce, reuse and recycle. (more…)

Nov 7

How To Hang Clothes To Dry

DSC_0337

When I was a kid, my mom used to hang our laundry out to dry and I always loved the fresh-air smell it took on.  As I’ve worked towards becoming more “green” I’ve realized that using a clothesline is actually a win-win situation…better for the environment, and great for the old sniffer!

So, recently I bought myself a 50s style clothesline, and plunked it down in my lawn.  Boy was I excited!  But when I brought in my first load of fresh dried booty, I was heartbroken.  (more…)

Nov 1

How To Make 5 Minute Bread

Finished Loaf

As a working mom I always try to find ways to be “present” at home during the times when I am not actually there.  One way that I do this is through cooking.  In truth, I don’t only cook for my family because I want them to know how much I love them, it’s also because…I think we’d all rather eat my cooking than my husband’s.  Try as he might, he just can’t seem to grasp concepts like:

  • Don’t over salt the food
  • Raw meat is not good for you
  • Ketchup doesn’t go with everything
  • Onions taste better when they’re not burnt (more…)
Oct 25

What To Do With Broken Toys

Turn your trash into educational treasure!

I have exciting news!  After only ONE blog on the subject of going green, I have received a question from one of The Stay at Homer’s loyal followers, Emily Finnelly, and I am thrilled to answer it.  Emily writes:

Dear Stay at Homer and his Going Green wife,

I love the new website.  Easy to use, easy on the eyes, fun content.  I think it’s missing an “Ask Gayle” or “Ask Russ” option.  I will be your first question.

I’ve wondered what creative/witty/High-larious quips or anecdotes you may have to the problem of broken toys.  I don’t know what to do with them.  The desire to fix them some day is strong.  I can’t stand throwing things away because I don’t want to buy them again.  It’s just annoying.  But then, there are some things, like the scoop of a mini-skid steer that I realize I will never get fixed.  But then, I don’t want to throw them away either because it seems like junk in the landfill that doesn’t need to be there.  And, I don’t want to give away or donate broken stuff…I’m not sure if I’ve clearly stated my conundrum, but I’ve included a picture to show you some of the issue.  I’d love to hear what you guys have to say on the issue!

Wondering about our Misfit toys,
Emily Finnelly (more…)

Oct 18

Green Gift Wrap

It’s funny how easy it is to pick up a bad habit, like eating a handful of fun size Snickers as an afternoon snack because you’ve rationalized that the peanuts inside actually make it healthy.  But a good habit can be tough to form.  Going green is the perfect example.  I can’t tell you how many times in my quest to be more eco-friendly I’ve gotten to the grocery store check out line only to curse myself for forgetting my reusable shopping bags.  I finally got so fed up that I did what’s called forced habitation (a made up term that sounds important).  I put reusable bags in my car, in my husband’s car, hanging on a hook by the front door, sitting on the floor next to the front door, and in the lunch bag I take with me to work.  I no longer have the option of forgetting them.

Achieving a change in your life requires keeping that change in the front of your mind at all times.  So recently, when Noble’s friend was having a birthday party and Russ told me he was going to Target for Legos, giftwrap and a card, I thought quickly and acted green.  I told him to get the Legos, but skip the wrap and the card…I had something else in mind!

Before the party, with the box of Legos in hand, I pulled out some old coloring book pages Noble had scribbled on and used it to wrap the gift just like I would use any wrapping paper.  Then, with the leftover scraps I had cut off the ends, I made a cute bow to stick on top.  To do that I just made two large loops that I crisscrossed and stapled together, then one small loop that I stapled on top…and voila!  Noble finished up with a note made from another scrap, and we had the perfect, inexpensive and environmentally friendly wrapped gift.

 

I did something similar with another kid’s gift, but this time I took it a step further.  Instead of buying a new gift, I asked Noble and Russ to make some homemade play dough.  I placed the dough inside a brown paper bag I’d had, and used a piece of artwork Alistair had made as the tissue paper of sorts.  I frayed the top edge of the paper for some interest.  Noble stuck his card on the front of the bag, which can easily be removed so the bag can be reused by its’ new owners…and another voila moment was had!  An alternative is to have your kids color on the gift bag, but in this case we just didn’t have the time.

 

When it came time to have our own birthday party…Alistair’s second…I went even one step beyond.  As party favors for the kids, I had Noble and Alistair gather a bunch of gently used small toys they don’t play with as much anymore.  I washed them all and placed them into a bin.  At the end of the party, everyone got the chance to grab a toy and be surprised by what they got.  Each one was different, and no waste was added to the world.  I was worried that the other parents might find it tacky, but people loved the idea!

While forming a good habit can be difficult, some believe it only takes three times to form any habit at all.  I’m hoping this logic is correct, because if it is…looks like momma’s got a new addiction!