Category Archives: Uncategorized

Get Rewarded for Greening up Your Life with Recyclebank

Want to green up your lifestyle but don’t really know where to start? Overwhelmed by all the choices to the point you forget the simplest steps can lead to a huge impact? Veteran eco-ally looking for a few tips or discounts on your favorite sustainable products?

One of my favorite new sites since starting our voyage into sustainability has become Recyclebank.com.

1. Sign up here
2. Complete pledges to earn points. For example, tasks can range from pledging to turn off your lights for Earth Hour to learning about the process to recycle aluminum & vowing to recycle your cans (Did you know recycling just ONE can saves enough energy to power a TV for 3 hours! — I learned that from Recyclebank!)
3. Earn points & cash in for rewards!

According to my reward summary, I’ve saved $30 to date by printing exclusive, high-value coupons from Recyclebank. I’ve gotten free cans of Bumble Bee tuna by pairing their $1 off 2 coupon (NLA) with Albertson’s Twice the Value deals & BOGO Happy Tot squeezy pouches (which I then turn around & send to TerraCycle to be made into new products!)

Right now I’m really excited for the $2 off ANY Alba Botanics product. I LOVE their lip balm & will be cashing in for one of these coupons to get it on a good sale. There’s also cash off Regal Cinema ticket coupons, $10 Applebee’s e-gift certificate & $1 off 2 Blue Diamond almonds (we go through A L O T for making almond meal).

Check it out & come back to let us know what your favorite reward is or something new you learned during one of the pledge infographs.

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Getting Dirty…In the Garden

No blog posts recently? Did those crazy city kids already give up on their venture into sustainability?

Not quite (yet).

We’ve been doing a number of awesome things!!

We watched Hungry for Change this week, which is offering a *FREE* viewing on-line through the 31st. If you don’t have Netflix, don’t want to wait in the cue at the library & don’t have money to fork out at the moment, check it out NOW before the 31st. I wouldn’t list it in my top 10 favorite documentaries of all time, but as always, thought provoking & motivational to keep at what we’re doing.

Additionally, to the tune of $40 for the season, we claimed our own little patch of green in Mukilteo.

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An 4×8 little patch to be specific

Yep! We are officially card-carrying (or rather seed-planting) members of the Mukilteo Community Garden. This is our first REAL venture into any sort of gardening experience. Last year was a definite eye opener that anything CAN & WILL go wrong in the garden. I made every rookie mistake last year & I’m hopeful for a successful season this time around. No blight-ridden cherry tomatoes or zukes with blossom end rot from hell. Those days are behind me. Dear slugs, you will not attack my strawberries this year & planting my radishes too closely, stunting their growth is a thing of the past…. Despite the fact, I already killed my hyacinth from the Everett Home & Garden Show. (Check out the adventure HERE)

Besides being excited out of my mind, I’m also slightly terrified. Beyond Princess Cthulhu already stomping through someone else’s plot today & spending an eternity in Home Depot trying to find organic compost & organic fertilizer per the rules of the garden… It’s just all around scary being the new kid on the block, especially when surrounded by people who have been gardening for years now (Five at the very least, since that’s how long the garden has been operating). What if I don’t grow anything? What if people judge me based on what kind of (organic, home-made, soap-based) pesticide I use? What if I don’t roll up the hose right? Whoever is growing in our neighboring beds will be surprised when they come in next & find we yanked out the strawberry plants from the bed (& replanting a lone onion who wasn’t ready for harvesting just yet). Was that rude of us to not appreciate the plants leftover from the previous plot owner?

What if I really am just a “black thumb” deep into my soul & I kill everything we try to grow?

At least it’ll make for one hell of a read for all you fine folks, right?

Now… Enjoy some photos from Plot #21 & around the Mukilteo Community Garden!

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Ignore the overgrowth. Check out these ADORABLE signs.

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Everyone deserves access to good food.

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“Our Garden”… I like the sound of that!

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Goodnight, onions. Goodnight, kale. Goodnight readers, everywhere.

 

Old Habits Die Hard

I could have cried.

Right there. In the aisle at the grocery store.

I hate cereal. I do not at all feel breakfast cereal is in anyway a viable option. I hate its extensive list of artificially fortified and genetically modified ingredients. I hate its misrepresented serving size table that makes you think you’re ONLY eating 8g of sugar & 120 calories in a giant bowl, when in reality, nobody ever truly eats JUST 3/4 of a cup of cereal. I hate the excessive packaging and money pumped into marketing cartoon characters with catchy phrases that make a kid associate someone or something with the brand, making it that much more personally desirable to them. Who can ever say no to a cukoo bird, a white rabbit or a leprechaun with sharing issues peddling cardboard-tasting sugar-crack?

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But what about when it’s free?

I’m a self-proclaimed, semi-retired, not-too-extreme couponer.

I never got $300 worth of groceries for $50, but I wasn’t shabby either. That is, I wasn’t too shabby until I started adding more real food to our diets & supporting local Washington farmers & artisans. I’m not complaining! Not at all. Nothing in any packaging or box on a shelf could compare to the taste of grass-fed beef or an apple picked fresh from the tree the night before delivery. But that stuff does come with a cost much less immediately tangible than that of the things that are able to be gotten cheap, half off or even free, like the items pictured above.

Despite my better judgment, I opened the newspaper & found a rebate form to get all the above items (minus the Carnation Breakfast Essentials which were free a few weeks ago with coupon) FREE after rebate. And against my better judgment, here I was, in the cereal aisle, at my wits end from not being able to understand why I was buying food I don’t believe in & cringed at the thought of feeding to my children.

Even worse, what should I come across?

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All I can keep hearing every time I remotely think about buying something processed, something packaged in plastic, something shipped from Ohio or even worse CHINA is clichés.

“If you aren’t part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”

“Nothing in life is free. Someone pays the price for it eventually.”

“Companies don’t send you coupons because they care to save you money. They send you coupons hoping to get you hooked, so you continue to buy when it’s NOT free!”

I remember when I started couponing. It was February 2011. Here we are, March 2013 & it’s like my brain has been completely programmed to the normal American attitude. We want it cheap & we want validation for who we are as a person based on what we have & how much we paid for it… whether that’s the end of the spectrum of multi-million dollar mansions or a $1.29 2liter of soda pop.

Now for the next two years, I’ll be UNprogramming my brain away from that mindset that cheap is good, expensive is bad (not that expensive is particularly good either since it goes hand-in-hand with the “keeping up with the Joneses” consumer culture too). Back to the basics of “you get what you pay for”… But what can I say? Digging our way out of debt & saving for our farm….have got me singing “Worst Pies in London”

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Times is hard. Times is haaaaaaaard”

And when times is hard… Sometimes… you got to eat the free cereal.