Saturday, December 12, 2009

Making it snow in my house-did I get snowed?

I took advantage of a special offer at Home Depot. When I bought 20 bags of eco-friendly insulation I could rent their blowing machine for free..sort of. They charged my credit card $500 and then reversed that charge when I returned the machine.

It took two of us to operate the machine-a leaf blower on steroids. It was hollow with a big fan on the bottom and it made about as much noise as an old vacuum cleaner. I ripped open the bags with the excitement of a 6 year old at Christmas and poured the material into the big round machine which whirled it around and spit it out the hose where my partner in this adventure guided it into the rafters of my attic.

We both wore masks to keep from breathing in the material that looked suspiciously familiar to me. When I took a good look at it I realized that it was shredded newspaper; I could actually read words off of the pieces. I spent money on shredded newspaper, the same stuff that comes to my house for free every week. I spent money on stuff that I collect in my garage and then recycle. I couldn't be sure, but did I recycle my newspaper and then buy it back? *sigh

The masks kept the paper-mache out of my lungs, but it didn't keep it from snowing in my house! As the particles blew into the rafters it forced down a snowstorm of dust particles making it look like a winter wonderland. Now I could visually see the snow job. At least it wasn't made of toxic materials, the clean-up was a breeze and I can use what I swept up to make my self a snowman.

Monday, June 29, 2009

My Son the Natzi

After years of chasing my kids around the house (all 4 of them) asking them to turn off television sets, close outside doors and keep lights off, I have been relieved of my duties. It all started when I went to this website and won the jackpot.

I was poking around the internet like any other day and I entered some instant sweepstakes at
I wasn't all that surprised when it called me a winner of an energy monitor and asked me to enter my contact information. I figured this was a normal marketing strategy and someone would come to my house with the prize and talk me (or strong arm me) into making a large purchase. Because their entire business has to do with energy savings and renewable energy I didn't mind seeing what they had to offer and I went ahead and entered my information.

The next day I received a phone call and they scheduled an appointment to install my energy monitor. I looked forward to blogging about the day they came out and told me what they were all about. A man came to my house, hooked something up to my meter and then plugged in this fancy little device in my kitchen. Then the big surprise came...
he left! I had to chase after him, ask him for a card, a brochure, anything that told me more about what they were all about. He was kind enough to give me his card and then went on his way. What kind of marketing ploy is that? Where was the pushy sales guy?

Click here for home made energy!

So now I'm left alone with this little device that tells me the temperature, how many watts of electricity I am using and what it is costing me per day. Of course anything as cool as this is noticed by the little man at my house instantly. When he saw how much MONEY we were spending on electricity he went around the house and turned things off. But he wasn't done there..he checked the gadget thingy and wasn't satisfied so he unplugged every appliance that wasn't in use. Then he followed his sisters around and barked at them to turn off lights as they left rooms. "Come on guys! We're wasting money!"

If I'd known I wouldn't have to nag at the kids anymore..I would have spent money to buy this thing!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Zombie Ants

I live in Texas where science fiction doesn't even come close to the reality of the real science experiments we have here.
Hmm, who's idea was it to go to South America, study the enemy of fire ants and come back with a fly that lays an egg in the ant's head which grows, eats the ant's brain and then causes it's head to fall off? This would make a great movie..oh wait, I've already seen that one "brains...brains..."

I have carried home ladybugs and put them in my garden because they take care of the "bad bugs" but I'm not sure I'm ready to run out and get me some tiny little phorid flies to eat the heads off the fire ants. I'll recycle my Dad's coffee grounds (cause I don't drink the stuff) and pour them over the ant hills. My hope is that they will move off of my lawn and onto lawn of that over-watering neighbor of mine. Maybe he'll get bit.

Friday, June 5, 2009

TOP 10 ways to live greener without spending a lot of green

Living greener is a huge that generates tons of revenue for companies who can market themselves in this category. Do we really need to spend $150 for a piece of plastic that was manufactured with oil in order to start a compost in the backyard? I don't think so Tim. The three main ideas in living green are reuse, reduce, and recycle. That sounds nothing like buy this, spend more on that, and stress out. Here are my top ten ways to save the planet...and your wallet.

I'll start with my favorite: use sites like and You can keep items from entering a landfill and save the money you would have spent on something new. Don't forget your local garage sale too, convince your friends you are saving the planet when you shop this way (and your pocket book too.) That's me collecting free mulch for my garden from a landscaper who posted on craigslist.

Use light blocking shades or curtains on your windows. This really keeps the sun from heating up your house. I haven't turned on the air conditioning yet..and its June in Texas. You don't need to make any special trips to get these shades. They can be found wherever curtains are sold...including those websites listed above!

Don't bag the grass when you mow. Read up on it folks..leaving the grass shavings on your lawn actually helps to fertilize it and it conserves the water too. Contrary to my neighbor's belief it does not cause that unsightly thatch on your lawn. If you already have thatch, use a power rake to remove it before you stop bagging your clippings. It takes less time to mow when you don't bag. So not only do you save money from not buying bags, you are saving time too.

Dad told me to put a brick in my toilet. This raises the water level and causes your toilet to use less water when you flush. Do this if your toilet is older and doesn't need to be replaced. You can also go to your local hardware supply store and spend around $5 for a not-as-heavy device that will serve the same purpose . Now if you want to make your guests blink when they use your facilities you can spend about $80 to add this cute little water saver. Toilet Lid Sink

Another way to conserve water is to turn off the water when you brush your teeth. If you are not already doing this, you can save over a thousand gallons of water every year.

Stop buying garbage bags. You don't need to buy a reusable grocery sack, just reuse the sacks you get when you shop. These smaller sacks will make you more conscious of how much garbage you are using and will get the garbage out of your house more quickly.

Go paperless. Taking advantage of direct deposit of your paycheck saves on paper and the gas it takes to get to the bank. When you bank online, your bank can pay your bills electronically. Most banks will do this free of charge. You can often receive your bills online and file them electronically. click here to see how much of an impact you can make. I'm saving money because I haven't bought postage stamps or checks in years. When a bill cannot be paid electronically, the bank prints a check and mails it on my behalf. What a deal!

Recycle..everything. You know you can get cash for paper and aluminum cans..what about those old cell phones? My cells break before the two year contract is up and I found a way to make a few extra bucks when I was done with them. Find out more here:

Recycle your cellphone for cash

Buy your groceries in bulk. This means less trips to the store, but also less packaging. In most cases its less expensive to buy larger quantities and divide it up yourself at home. This can be done anywhere in the store, from meat to cheese, popcorn, even crackers.

Change your oil less out you need to have special stuff for this..but I got two of these great filters spending less than $10 more than I did with my old filters.