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Monday, December 23, 2013

Volunteering and Giving


Like I mentioned in the #GivingTuesday post, volunteering is something that I like to do when I have the time. During the holidays there are always organizations that are looking for volunteers. I know that the holiday season is almost over, but that doesn't mean you can't volunteer for various organizations. Check out volunteermatch.org, volunteerhouston.org or visit your favorite non profit. I volunteered for NAMI Houston gift wrapping at Barnes and Nobles (found through volunteermatch.org) and also I volunteered in crafts section for the MFAH Breakfast with Santa event. 

You can also give to various organizations. There are tons of non profits, but ones that I am fond of for personal reasons are Texas Children's Hospital and MD Anderson Children's Cancer Center. Either organization would love donations with products http://bit.ly/1doqyzZ & http://bit.ly/18ALzVh or monetarily http://bit.ly/1bVtQOk & http://bit.ly/19gzxnB. I also love giving to the World Wildlife Fund and the Nature Conservancy.

Here are some organizations that are always in need: 

  • Toys for Tots
  •  Habitat for Humanity
  •  Blue Santa
  • Local Hospitals
  • Food Banks

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Friday, December 20, 2013

DIY Tinsel Pom Poms


I saw these tinsel pom poms at Target that I really wanted them, but they were kind of expensive to me at $4 for 2. I decided to make my own. I just got a strand of tinsel garland 15ft for $3.50 and made about 25 pom poms. I just cut about 2"strands, made a circle and stapled them together to make poms. It was super simple and easy.





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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Cards


I love sending cards in general, but here are the Christmas cards that I sent out this year to family and friends. I put a lot of detail into my cards, so it feels like it takes me forever to write them. I've noticed most of the cards that we have been getting this year are picture cards with printed messages on them. Since most of our friends now have children there are always pictures of the kids. Since not all the post offices by us will hand cancel, I went to a different one that does on Greenbriar and Richmond. (which on a side note: the people at the Greenbriar and Richmond post office are really nice and not rude)








Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Eco Holiday Tips



So I had every intention of writing more blog posts this month, but honestly work has been crazy and I just haven't felt like writing on here when I get home. I know this little post may be coming a little late, but here are some eco holiday tips you can follow. 

  • If you shop online try to get a majority of your items from the same place so you can reduce the amount of packaging you use
  • Make your own gifts i.e. scarves, mittens, jellies, pastries, etc.
  • Plan your shopping trips so you don’t have to drive as much and ride your bike whenever possible
  • Bring your own bags
  • Try wrapping gifts with the comics section, reuse old paper maps, and spare scrap pieces of cloth
  • Send holiday cards by using cards made of recycled paper or send e-cards
  • Buy vintage gift items or gifts cards to reduce on the amount of packaging
  •  Buy LED lights for the outside of your house and tree
  • If you are using candles during the holiday season buy soy or beeswax candles
  • Make or reuse your old decorations or if you must buy new ones buy from resale shops
  • For parties buy or cater locally
  •  Don’t use disposable plates, silverware, etc
  •  Stay home instead of traveling
  • Carpool whenever you can, especially if you will be making a lot of trips to the store



Tuesday, December 3, 2013

#GivingTuesday


Today is #GivingTuesday, which is a national day of giving at the start of the holiday season. There are various ways you can give to different organizations:
  • Volunteer
  • Donate money
  • Donate items 
  • Amazon has something called AmazonSmile that you can sign up for. I just found out about it yesterday and I use Amazon ALL the time. 0.5% of qualifying purchases will go to a charity that you chose from on Amazon. 
Today I am going to donate some children's books to Discovery Green for their Toddler Tuesdays. I am also planning on giving to and volunteering for some other organizations during this holiday season as well. There are several organizations that I like to volunteer with throughout the year and give monetary donations at the beginning of the year to various organizations. 

Do you have any organizations that you like to volunteer with or give to? 

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving by Numbers


I found these Thanksgiving statistics from StatisticBrain.com to be interesting

Thanksgiving Holiday StatisticsData
  • Total number of Turkeys that are consumed on Thanksgiving Day  51,000,000
  • Total U.S. spending on Thanksgiving dinner food $2,375,000,000
  • Average household spending on Thanksgiving dinner $54.18
  • Average household spending on Thanksgiving weekend $302
  • Number of families that will travel for Thanksgiving 39,000,000
  • Number of places in the U.S. named Plymouth 37
  • Average cost per pound of Turkey $1.15

Thanksgiving Related Food StatisticsData
  • Average number of Turkeys raised in the U.S. each year 248 million
  • Annual consumption of turkey by the average American 16 pounds
  • Annual tons of green beans produced 656,340 tons
  • Pounds of sweet potatoes produced annually 2.4 billion pounds
  • Value of all pumpkins produced annually $117 million
  • Pounds of cherries produced annually 266 million pounds
  • Barrels of cranberry produced annually 7.5 million barrels
  • Total value of turkeys produced in the U.S. annually $4.37 billion

Monday, November 25, 2013

DIY Thanksgiving Pinecone Wreath



For some reason this past year I have been into holiday wreaths. I really prefer simple wreaths. I was thinking of a Thanksgiving wreath that I could make or buy depending on if I found something that I really liked. I looked and looked and finally saw one online that was a simple all pinecone one. I had every intention of going to the park and picking up pinecones. Growing up I remember seeing pine trees everywhere, but now living in the downtown Houston area I rarely see pine trees in our neighborhood area. I was at Hobby Lobby picking up some crafting supplies and happened to see bags of pinecones for 80% off, so I ended up buying two bags for $2 each (which saved me time) and I bought the wreath form there as well and had a 40% off coupon, so it ended up being just a little over $2 for it. 

It was extremely simple to make. Literally all I did was hot glue the pinecones onto the wreath. It smells good because the bag of pinecones had cinnamon sticks in it as well. 





Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ways to "Green" Your Thanksgiving


There are plenty of things you can do this Thanksgiving season to make it a “green” one.
  • When shopping for food bring a reusable bag
  • Plan meals ahead of time so you don't over buy
  • Try to buy local, seasonal and organic food 
  • Shop at farmers markets and support local shops. Houston has a ton of great places to pick up local foods. Some of my favorites are The French Bakery, Revival Market and House of Pies
  • Try to buy items that do not have a whole lot of packaging
  • Stay at home with family
  • If you're hosting Thanksgiving, ask guests to bring their own to go containers
  • Don’t use paper plates and plastic utensils. Break out the china, silverware, cloth napkins, etc.
  • Try to buy turkeys grown without hormones and antibiotics
  • Recycle your glass, plastic and aluminum foil
  • Recycle the turkey fat
  • Donate leftovers to a shelter
  • Compost your scraps
  • VOLUNTEER at a local shelter
  • Make your own decorations, reuse the ones you have or buy some from a resale shop
  • BE THANKFUL 





Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Veterans Day!


I know this is coming so late tonight, but Happy Veterans Day! Thank you to all the men and women who have served for our country, we couldn't be more appreciative. 

My grandfather, father, father in law and cousin have all served in the past.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween



Happy Halloween!!

Bryan and I keep seeing pictures of our family and friends kids all dressed up for Halloween so I thought I would share a picture of our "baby" all dressed up in his Halloween shirt. We have had this shirt for years and rarely put him in anything (sometimes jackets/sweaters in the winter if he'll be outside a ton because he gets cold).

Not many trick or treaters come by, but we are hoping since four families with toddlers/babies moved on our street this year that someone will come by. 

Have a spooky night!



Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Seasonal Produce Guide

Recently I was talking to a couple of people / clients about various produce that is in season because it is getting hard to find some produce in the grocery stores. I love this seasonal produce guide from Style Me Pretty. I often frequent various farmers markets in the Houston area and love trying new places. Last week I mentioned about pick your own fruit farms. I am still hoping to go to one in Tomball within the next couple of weeks. Froberg's in Alvin has awesome selection of produce.

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Friday, October 25, 2013

BooksApp

I read somewhere about the BooksApp on some blog (I can't remember which one). I love it. You can inventory your books by entering the ISBN number or scanning the barcode. When you do that with most of the books a picture and info about the book is automatically put into the app.You can put notes into the app regarding each book, who has borrowed the book (s), etc. You can export a csv file to your computer and have it for your files. I have a ton of books and love this app. Although, it does take a little time to enter all the books if you have a lot. 

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pick Your Own Fruit Farms in Houston


Lately, I have been seeing a ton of pictures from people on the east and west coasts that are going apple picking. It looks fun so I decided to research if there was anything like that in Houston. I found out that apples just don't grow well in Houston, but many of other fruits grow well like berries, persimmons, peaches, etc. There are many farms in and around Houston where you can go pick your own fruit. Many of those farms right now also have pumpkin patches, corn mazes, hay rides, etc. I am hoping that Bryan and I can go check out one of these farms sometime soon. 

Here are some local farms where you can pick your own fruit: 

Blackberries of Houston
19531 Cypress Church Road
Cypress, TX 77433
http://www.BlackberriesOfHouston.com
281-373-5357

Chmielewski's Blueberry Farm
23810 Bauer Hockley Rd.
Hockley, TX 77447
281-304-0554
http://www.chmielewski-blueberry.com

Matt Family Orchard
21110 Bauer Hockley Road
Tomball, Texas 77377-5767
281-351-7676 
http://www.mattfamilyorchard.com


Dewberry Farm
7705 FM 362
Brookshire, TX 77423
281-934-3276
http://www.dewberryfarm.com

Froberg's Farm (I LOVE this one)

3601 Hwy 6
Alvin, TX 77511
281-585-3531

http://www.frobergsfarm.com



Monday, October 21, 2013

Ways to "Green" Your Halloween



Below are some tips for a newsletter I wrote a while back for ways to green your Halloween. There are so many big and small things you can do, but here are a few of them.
  •       Make your own costume by using material you already have. Put twist on an outfit you may already have.  Buy one from a resale shop
  •       Even though it may cost more, buy organic make – up from places like Whole Foods it is so much better for your skin
  •       Buy biodegradable house decorations at your local farmers markets
  •       Buy fair trade and organic candy like chocolate, lollipops, and jellybeans
  •       Use soy candles
  •       Choose to carry a reusable bag instead of the plastic pumpkins. I love FEED Projects Halloween burlap bag


Websites to get organic and fair trade candy:

Sources:www.planetgreen.discovery.com; www.greenhalloween.com

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Friday, October 18, 2013

DIY Skeleton Wreath


Once again I saw something on Pinterest and wanted to create it. So I tried this skeleton wreath. This project went much better than the pumpkin project. I got the skeleton already glittered up at the dollar store and the wreath and ribbon can be found at your local craft store. I had the gold spray paint, so I painted the wreath. This project was done for less than $5.







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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

DIY Chevron Pumpkin



Last year I saw this post on Pinterest on how to make chevron pumpkins. Needless to say mine didn't turn out nearly as good as I wanted it to, but I still displayed it on the porch anyways. The taping off of the pumpkin was such a bitch to deal with. By the time it was time to do the second pumpkin I said screw it and returned the pumpkin back to Michaels. I really do love the look of these pumpkins and possibly I will try again in the future. Maybe you will have better luck with the pumpkin. 









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Monday, October 14, 2013

Halloween Cards


Anyone who knows me knows I love sending mail. I know it is not the most eco thing, but like I have said before paper is my vice. I love getting mail and sending it. Who doesn't love getting mail. 

This year I got cards from Hallmark (they were available and inexpensive). If my local stationery store had the Rifle Paper Co. Halloween cards in stock, I would have gotten them probably because I love their cards plus they are printed in the USA. I got some washi tape to use as a seal since I usually use a seal on all my letters. I used stamps I already had. I hope my family and friends enjoy them.




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Friday, October 11, 2013

This & That: Russell + Hazel Mini Binder



I have been obsessed Russell + Hazel mini binders for a long time now. I love that they use recycled materials and are made in the USA. I am loving this colorful new binder from them. 

Here is some others that I have as well.




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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Organizing Taxes


Organizing tax information can be such a draining thing for some people because there can be a TON of paper work involved, especially for self employed individuals. Here is how I like to organize taxes (pictures below), I actually have several different clients that use this exact system and I recently switched to this way as well (not really sure why I didn't do it sooner). I help others get organized all the time and by the time I get home sometimes I'm just too tired to think about what I need to do at home. 

What you need:

  • Half file boxes that you can find at an office supply store
  • Hanging files that you can find at an office supply store
  • Label Maker
  • Taxes (of course)

It's super easy to put together if your taxes are already divided up by year. 





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Monday, October 7, 2013

The Weekend



Happy Monday! Hope you had a great weekend. Bryan and I came home from ACL last night. We were originally going to come home today, but decided to leave early. We were sad to leave Austin because unlike many other times we go to ACL this time was really relaxing for us. We tried new restaurants Walton's and the famous Franklins BBQ (we waited 2 hours in line) and it was all delicious. Now onto fall festivities.....

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