Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thursday with Erma

"No one appreciates how a woman must fight for her life from hour to hour.
The risks involved in preparing a meal alone are mind boggling.
A year ago September, I was taking frozen Mexican dinners out of the freezer.
One slipped out of my hand and I was nearly crippled by a frozen enchilada."

Erma Bombeck

Yet another reason to avoid frozen dinners! ;-)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Simple Living with Wanda Urbanska

Many of you know that I live a disconnected life in some respects. We do not have cable or satellite service, for a long time we had no land line for phone service (I needed to add this for business purposes, otherwise we still wouldn't!), and I refuse to indulge my children with cell phones, personal TV's or computers, and such. (Mind you that my mother and sister drive me nuts with the cell phone thing, but I don't see the need.)

Since we only receive local channels through our antenna reception we've gotten to know our statewide public television station fairly well. What a joy! I never knew what I was missing. So many of the shows pertain to our state, it's history and things to do. They also have other informative shows. This is where I found Wanda Urbanska.

If you haven't heard that name before I wouldn't be surprised. She has a 30 minute program entitled "Simple Living with Wanda Urbanska" and is author of several books on simplifying your life. (I can't give you a link to that page of her website because my security system says that there is a Trojan lurking there... please be careful when visiting her site. I'm sure they have no knowledge of this.)

Ms. Urbanska lives in NC with her husband and son. She strives to live a more simplistic and naturalistic life, while staying mainstream. Over the years I've found many tips and ideas on her shows that I've implemented into my life. I encourage you to discover more on this subject.

Recently, I was invited to attend a meeting at a local church where she was to speak. I couldn't have been more excited! I've admired her show for several years and to hear her speak in person was to be a true treat. can I say this? I was mildly disappointed. Ms. Urbanska gave a PowerPoint presentation and brief talk of about 45 minutes. Her thought patterns lend to rambling tendencies and often she would get off subject and never return back.

She offered a question and answer session. Receiving only one question and answering it poorly, I'm glad it was only one. I'm hoping that she was having an off night, otherwise, I'd definitely stick to watching her show instead of the seminar setups.

What was the question?

"What can I do to reduce and make an impact at home without changing my entire lifestyle?"

My suggestions:

Begin with baby steps. If you attempt to completely change your lifestyle at once you'll often become frustrated and give up before achieving anything.

  1. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth, conditioning your hair, and shaving your legs.

  2. Only wash clothes when you have a full load, or be sure to change your "water level" setting accordingly.

  3. Recycle as much as possible. Set up a recycling station in your kitchen, basement, or garage. Have bins for paper, plastic, and metal. Condition yourself & family to setting these things aside and keep them out of the landfill.

  4. Start a compost bin. Keep a lidded plastic or metal container on your kitchen counter to collect coffee grounds, tea bags, egg shells, banana peels, & other non-bread/non-meat products. Transfer them into a larger compost bin or area in your yard to break down & use this as fertilizer for your plants!

  5. Combine trips in your car. Plan your route before leaving the house. If you have to go downtown - hit the bank, grocery store, and post office that is downtown, versus your "normal" ones. I refuse to journey anywhere for just one thing, unless it's a dire emergency. This drives my dear hubby nuts, but it saves an amazing amount of gas & wear and tear on my car, not to mention putting less pollution into the air.

  6. Use a washable water bottle. Fill it before you leave your home and at regular intervals during the day. Not only will you keep hundreds of plastic bottles out of the landfill, but you'll keep hundreds of extra dollars in your pocket over the year!

These are just a few to get you off to a good start. Experiment & see what works for you!


By the way - Wanda was an inspiration for me to journey further into my efforts at simplifying. I mean no harm in my comments, as I truly enjoy the show!

Monday, June 22, 2009

More summertime activity ideas...

In an earlier post I gave some ideas on things to do with your kids over the summer. I promised to follow that up and today is the day!

Are your kids the out-of-doors types, or would you like for them to be? No time like the summer to turn on the switch for outdoors fun!

Plan a nature hike!

  • Find a local Audubon Society. Many cities have a branch. The bird-watchers love to take leisurely strolls in search of new finds. This experience can teach patience and an appreciation for quiet to children who believe that they'll perish without being electronically connected! Your local library will have birding guides for the area.

  • Search for the flora & other fauna of the area you live in. Check out a few books from the local library on the local trees, flowers, and animals or reptiles that can be found in your area.

With this information you can plan a treasure or scavenger hunt. Have the kids see how many specimens or specimen photos they can collect. Remember to leave the areas you search as untouched as possible & collect all of your trash along the way...

Speaking of trash...

  • Sign up to collect trash in and around your neighborhood for the summer clean-ups. Many cities offer an adopt-a-roadway program, where your group or family adopts a section of road to keep clean. You can gather together for a day of collection once or twice a month. Not only is this family time away from that TV, but you're beautifying the neighborhood as well.

  • Visit your local recycling center. Find out what happens to all of the recycling that's collected. Discover what your family can do to live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle through recycling!

  • Take a trip to your local landfill. Seriously! What an eye-opening adventure this was for me. Seeing those tons of trash be moved around really hits home. You both will be amazed at what is thrown away and at the mountainous volumes of trash that are dumped at a time.

Love to Know has some interesting statistics on recycling stateside. This can be incorporated into a math and science learning experience!