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Archive for the ‘Win it!’ Category

While there were several fantastic ideas, I narrowed our winning entry based on a combination of two essential things – Did my kids eat it (willingly)? Was it easy enough to whip up? If it answered those two questions, then it caught my eye, and taste buds, a little more. In the end, our winner is Mel, for her arrestingly delicious idea of Apple Salad Sammies. In recap, her recipe was simple:

We like apple salad sandwiches. Toasted walnuts, golden raisins, and sweet red apples, celery, red grapes all diced. Mix that up with a spoon of miracle whip an a little pepper and stuff it into a warm pita. OH, yum.

Admittedly, we did omit the Miracle Whip, as that is not a favorite in our house, but I will say that Mayo words fantastically. It was tried both crammed into a pita and on bread. Another fantastic snack variation would be to slice the pita into little chip-sized wedges and bake them. Then use them to scoop up the mouth-watering apple goodness. I think next time we will try them with Craisins for a fun twist!

So, thank you Mel! And thank you to everyone else that participated, even if only by way of reading this blog & learning. Be sure to continue with your PB&J campaign in spite of school being out for some months. It’s just one more little thing you can do to help jump start our wold into a greener tomorrow.

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Peanut butter & jelly – it’s more important than you might think! It’s the premise to a campaign that I’ve read a lot about and begun to incorporate into my family’s mealtime rituals. And it’s not just about the old- fashioned & long-loved PB&J sammy. It’s about taking the time to make a small difference in your meal planning, yet have a monumental impact on the world around you.

You can read more in-depth here at the PB&J Campaign’s website. Personally, I’m glad that I was directed to this site by a friend. I realized that, while I recycle, eat many organics, cloth diaper… I could go on here forever with my list of super-crunchy habits, yet I realized that I can still do more. Even the simple task of packing a lunch for my son to take to school & being sure to replace a traditional cold-cut sandwich with a PB&J can put us on our way to helping in the conservation of water, reduction of water pollution, and the elimination of some would-be expelled greenhouse gases. If you find yourself wondering how a homely looking PB&J became such a superpower in the modern lunch box, be sure to read this page to become more informed. Personally, I was in shock at the difference that could be made by making the choice to change the star of my son’s cafeteria meal, but I worried that he’d become easily bored & then I found additional options on the same website. So it’s not all about PB&J and even those families with nut allergies can easily participate.

But why end your efforts there? Make that meal have the biggest impact that it can. Forgo the extra garbage created by individual serving size snacks that are often unhealthy to boot. Replace them with mama nature’s juicy apples, oranges or bananas. Get rid of the notion that a juice box is the only way to hydrate on the go. Instead, make a small investment in reusable container such as the Klean Kanteen or similar. And definitely get rid of plastic baggies for packaging that now famous PB&J. Use a Wrap-N-Mat instead. It’s reusable & easily cleaned with the simple wipe of a wet washcloth.

Do you have a recipe to share that abandons the cold cut? Share it with us & we will test it out & choose our favorite one & reward the winner with a fabulous t-shirt from Cotton Mamma! We will pick the winner on June 20th, so that we have plenty of time to test them out.

Want a chance to win another shirt?  Place a link to this blog on your blogroll.  Contact me via e-mail with your information & website so that I may see your link.  Bing-bang-boom!  You’re entered into a random drawing to win a shirt!  So you have TWO chances to win this eye-pleasing shirt!

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And the winner is…

It was truly a difficult task to choose a winner for the recent “Reducing Clutter” contest. But, alas, I took on this difficult job and picked a winner. But before revealing the name, I am compelled to give some detail as to why I chose this particular tip.

While all tips were great tips, my mind kept hugging to the one that sounded like the most fun & convinced me that it was not only reducing clutter, but a hidden recycling effort as well. This tip not only removed clutter for her own house, but it offered items another chance to find use in someone else’s life. As mentioned, perhaps it would only be a “shift in clutter,” I came to the realization that once it arrived at it’s new home, and it was not needed there, it could still be passed on to a resale shop, neighbor or be reborn as a donation somewhere. It also aides in keeping friends or family in touch in a fun way. And I also think to myself, “Who doesn’t love a surprise in the mail?” So, yes, our winner comes from Jennifer, perhaps better known as Zillabaubles. And just in case you didn’t read her tip in the comments, let me share it for you here!

My sister and I keep an empty box at our houses. When we are picking up around the house and we find something that we no longer use and we put those items in the box. Once the box is full, we tape it up and ship it off. It is always fun to get a package and see what has been cast off from my sister’s family.

It really keeps us connected or at the very least some really funny conversations when a package shows up and we look inside to find treasures. This could be considered shifting of clutter, but there are things that I no longer need/use and she can or vise versa.”

Thank you to everyone that played! And we’ll have more contests, so don’t you worry. Just because you didn’t win this time, that doesn’t mean you won’t have a shot at it again!

What’s next? We sit and we wait to see just how long it takes a certain someone to realize that her tip has paid off!

Peace.

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Clutter. It’s distracting, depressing & can ruin a good day when it catches us at our door. It steals our focus. Why do we let it drag us down & keep us from enjoying our day? Because we are either lazy or lack a good method to diminish or eliminate it. Perhaps even both! If we just made a few baby steps towards banishing clutter, we could add so much to our daily living! Getting rid of clutter will not only tidy up a space – it will enhance your life. Sound crazy? Think about it… if we weren’t trapped or crowded by disarray, we would spend less time picking up, searching for things and being generally confined by our chores. Instead, we would have added time to relax, enjoy family, play, and so much more!

Start at the door – Which door do you use the most? In our house we use the main entrance. As we walk in our front door we find a small rack that is installed onto the wall. It was an inexpensive purchase totaling less than $15. It’s perfect for keeping coats or backpacks from crowding the floor. A key rack would be great for some families as well – you’ll always know where they are when it’s time to lock up or take the car for a spin. Shoe racks are a great addition to an entry way as well – this not only serves the purpose of keeping your footwear tidy & in one location. It also reminds you to remove your shoes & keeps from tracking debris though your house. You can store out-of-season footwear in storage containers to cut down on the amount by your door.

De-junk your mail – Junk mail was a big issue in our house. Endless envelopes and papers found their way stacked up on counters, tables and desks. Not only is this a clutter problem, but it’s a waste problem as well! Stand next to your paper recycling bin and trash can when opening mail. This inhibits you from piling up more junk to clean later. Discard all advertisements, papers and mail that you do not need. File bills for payment. Keep only magazines that you intend to read (and when you’re done recycle them by way of passing them on to others or donating to church, doctors office, etc). Contact companies to remove yourself from mailing lists. Choose to opt-out of free mailings to conserve paper and eliminate your receipt of trash.

Clean up after each meal – Insist that items are put back in their proper location after meals. Clear the table. Place dishes in the dishwasher and wipe down the counters. Run the vacuum or sweep through the kitchen. This reduces what you will have to do later or in the morning. You will be more relaxed with the tidy state of the room.

Keep a box for donations, trash and sales – Go through items as you cross paths with them. While you’re folding laundry make note of the item’s size, color, wear. Does this fit anyone in the house? Is it’s color complementary? Is it too worn? Does it even get worn? Get rid of clothing items that don’t meet the criteria for needing to keep. As you are putting things away, do a “once over” to see if they are items that are no longer being used. While cleaning up toys, note if the toys are broken, get played with or are still age-appropriate. Any items in your house that don’t have a need, get rid of! Throw away items that have no use to anyone. Put items in an area for a garage sale. Donate items as well! Places like Goodwill, Salvation Army or local churches & organizations are happy to receive your donations!

Make a realization – Not everything of value is valuable. I realize this sounds contradictory, but it holds truth – I promise! Just because something is worth money or is attached to a memory, that does not mean it needs to be kept for all eternity. Be at peace with letting go. Realize how items may improve someone else’s life or how its value can add to a charitable cause. Take snapshots of items that are haunted with memories so that you can look back at them – old outfits, toys and more. If it’s not an heirloom and not adding an aspect of function or decoration to your house (and this does not mean in a “decorative pile” in your unused basement or storage closet) then you can part with it.

Teach your children – Contrary to popular believe, you should not be following your child with a trash can and broom! Teach your children to clean up after themselves. Assign chores. Ban playtime until all jobs are done. This will help add to the overall cleanliness of your living environment as well as get the whole family involved. Have young children? Don’t use the excuse that they are too young to keep them from helping! Even my two year old is learning to clean up with age-appropriate tasks. My four year old clears and wipes the table after meals and my toddler helps by carrying a few small things to the counter.

There are countless methods and lists to follow for clutter elimination. Chances are, even if you followed all of the lists around, there would still be some areas of clutter in your life! But it can’t hurt to take a few small steps to try and rid yourself of what you can & get back to just enjoying life!

Have useful tips? Share them here! I will choose one of my favorite tips & the winner will receive a FREE cotton t-shirt from Cotton Mamma just like the one seen here! I will choose the winner on Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008!

So, what are you waiting for?

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