Posts in : 2007 April
We have now lived in the Seattle area for two years now. Two years. I can hardly believe it. They say that time flies when you are having fun and it is sure true. It seems like just yesterday that we moved here. When we moved over here Zoë was less than a year old. She wasn't even walking yet. Now she is almost three and yesterday was walking around humming "Swan Lake." *sniff*
Ever since we discovered downtown Kirkland a few weeks ago we have been on the look out for a new house. Not that we are going to be moving any time soon, but we are casually looking. Moving is such a pain in the…well, you know… that we are not going to do it unless we find the perfect house. There isn't much on the market that can top our current home. Really, it is all about location. If we could pick up our townhouse and move it we would.
Last week we went and looked at another townhouse near downtown Kirkland. Kelly had a home owner's association meeting last Monday (he is the treasurer) and a fellow board member mentioned that she (she is a Realtor) was getting a property ready to put on the market that sounded perfect for us. It was beautiful and had amazing upgrades done to the home, but there was no place for a home office and although it was close to downtown Kirkland, you had to walk through an industrial area to get there. No thanks. I have a feeling that this is going to take a while, but that is OK.
While we were touring the home, Debbie Lynn (the Realtor) asked us if our townhouse was market ready. I had never heard of this before. Kelly said yes. I said, I don't know. Since we decided not to purchase the other home Kelly dismissed her comment but I have been obsessing over it. Market Ready. It just so happened that I found "Designed to Sell" while I was laid out with my cold. I set a season pass on our TIVO and went to town. I have since watched about five episodes and it is fascinating. I had no idea that people redecorated and painted their homes before putting them on the market. Not a clue! Obviously, one would fix anything that needed to be repaired and touch up any scuffs on the walls, but completely redecorate?
I must say, it sure does make a difference. I will also say that our home is most definitely NOT market ready. We would have to repaint Zoë's room. As much as she adores her castle and family tree on the wall, potential buyers probably would not. The designer on the show made a good point, People need to be able to see themselves living in your home. They can't do that if it is filled up with your personable belongings, such as pictures. Then there is the whole issue of the huge burn mark on our counter from where I left a candle burning over night…..How the heck do you refinish a counter top? It's a good thing that we aren't in any rush.
I can't have a boring blog post with no pictures so I will show you the cute little banner I put together for Zoë's blog. I redecorated it for spring. Now if I were just better about posting on it….
Who watched Grey’s Anatomy last night? Anybody? Remember the guy with the "cold" that said he was like the grossest fountain ever? Yeah, that’s me. I have been sick with a cold for THREE days. Ugh. My beloved Aleve Cold & Sinus is not even making a dent. What gives? Kelly has been such a help with Zoë in the evenings, taking her out to dinner and then giving her a bath. Today he even stopped working early to take her to the mall. He is such a good husband. Zoë has been such a sweetie. She has been watching cartoons pretty much non-stop while I sit in the recliner doing the following: sneeze, blow nose, Purell, repeat. I have seriously gone through almost three boxes of Kleenex. Alright, I am going to quit whining now but let me share the conversations I keep having with my monkey doodle.
Zoë: Mommy are you sick?
Me: Yes baby. Mommy has a bad cold.
Zoë: Have a kiss Mommy. (She kisses my forehead). Are you all better now?
I have been watching a lot of television. This is much better than the days of staying home sick and watching bad TV though. I had seven episodes of What Not To Wear saved on my TIVO and have been having a marathon. That may possibly be my new favorite show. Although, I have come to realize that I need to step it up in the fashion department AND just because I can shop in the juniors department doesn’t necessarily mean that I should. I don’t think my current mommy uniform of a t-shirt and jeans w/ athletic shoes and a ponytail are going to cut it anymore. I would love to be on the show but I don’t think I am nearly bad enough to get on. That being said, I can think of one person in particular that I would LOVE to nominate but she would never forgive me. Dang.
Have a good weekend! I am going to go take some Nyquil and try to knock myself out.
I have a confession to make, until I watched Oprah the other day I had no idea that Method products were eco-friendly. I thought they were the Target brand cleaning products. I have always loved their packaging (I am a sucker for great packaging) but that alone wasn't enough to make me switch from my trusted cleaning supplies. In the spirit of going green, I decided to give them a try. I actually tried this once before, right after Zoe was born, but my housekeeper Linda was less than thrilled with the products I had purchased (they weren't Method) so I switched back.
I think that the cleaning supplies are going to be my biggest challenge going green. This is where my germophobia kicks in. I bleach the crap out of everything in our house. I have Clorox wipes under every sink in our house (and car) for spontaneous cleaning and sanitizing. (Feel free to leave the blog now if my neurotic tendencies are freaking you out). I also carry Purell with me everywhere, but that is for another post. Eco-friendly products don't have any bleach in them b/c that is not good for the environment. Sigh.
You know what though? These products are actually really good! So far I have cleaned the bathroom with the wipes (I did the toilet area with my Clorox wipes. I am not quite ready to give them up yet…and I am not just going to throw them away!). The Method wipes do work really well and smell very nice. The best part? They are flushable and biodegradable. Love that. I had mistakenly assumed that the wipes I had been using were biodegradable. Nope. I also used the Tub & Tile Spray on the shower. While it doesn't work as well as KaBoom! it does work well. It just takes a bit more elbow grease.
Now for my product rave. The O-Mop is awesome. I used it last night to clean the kitchen floors and was blown away. This was another area of contention for me. I love my Mr. Clean scrubber mop thingy and didn't want to part with it. It works like a swiffer but the cloths stay on better AND you can remove the head and use that to scrub the bathtub or whatever. The O-Mop blows it away. Seriously. The microfiber cloth sticks easily to the mop head and stays securly in place. It cleans better than anything I have ever used. It is fantastic. The cleaner that comes with the starter kit smells divine and drizzles easily out of the bottle. You simply rinse the microfiber cloth when you are done and air dry or you can stick it in the washing machine. The starter pack also comes with three dry floor clothes that are 100% biodegradable and stay securely on the O-Mop. I give this product two thumbs way up! As soon as I use up the last of my Mr. Clean floor clothes, the mop thingy it is getting donated without shedding a single tear.
Next up, the Vanilla Apple air freshener. Mmmmmm. Yummy. This is another point of contingency for me. I adore the Kitchen Spice Wallflowers from Bath & Body Works. I searched for years to find a fragrance that I liked that didn't give me a headache and finally found it. Again though, it is essentially just a bunch of chemicals. The Method air fresheners are made of all natural essential oils…no chemicals. When I think about it that way it makes switching a little bit easier. Who wants to breathe in a bunch of chemicals? That can't be good for you.
I will post more reviews as I purchase more products. I am working into this slowly and am going to use up the products that I have before I buy more. Really, it would be more harmful for the environment to just throw them all away at once anyway. Plus, I am trying to be fiscally responsible as well as environmentally responsible.
Earth Day had a surprisingly powerful effect on me this year. I really am quite shocked at the sense of urgency I feel. I think it is because I have learned so much about the damage we are doing to our planet over the last few days. I always knew that the rain forest were being harvested, that the greenhouse effect was in fact real…I just hadn't realized how bad it really was. I watched Oprah on Friday and the 20/20 Special, both focusing on Earth Day, and they terrified me. The sheer amount of pollution that we are generating is mind boggling.
Today, on Earth Day, I am making a commitment to go green. I already recycle like a crazy person (ask Kelly, it drives him nuts) but there is more I can do. Tomorrow I am going to Whole Foods and stocking up on non-toxic cleaners, recycled paper products, energy saving light bulbs…the works. Over the next few days you will also see a new section on my blog. I am adding a "Go Green" section with links to all the fabulous websites I have found today. Below is a list of easy things that you can do to become more green. Most of it is information taken from Oprah's website.
Small Things You Can Do To Make a Difference
Use One Less Napkin per Day
"Napkins make a huge difference," Elizabeth says. "We use 2,200 of them
a year, per person on average. Six a day. So if we all gave up one
napkin a day, we could save a billion pounds of paper waste … from
going to landfills a year."
Choices at the Grocery Store
Environmental expert Simran Sethi, from the Sundance Channel's The Green, says one place to start when making eco-friendly choices is the grocery store.
- Many items come in packaging made from petroleum products. Instead, look "for things that have minimal packaging," Simran says.
you must buy disposable plates, look for ones made of 100 percent
recycled plastic. "They're dishwasher safe, easy to use, and you can
use them over and over again."
- Buy recycled aluminum foil, which requires just one-twentieth the energy of nonrecycled foil. Then, recycle it when you're done!
organic produce. Because it doesn't use pesticides, it uses less
energy. "This is actually going to be healthier for you and healthier
for the planet.
Paper or Plastic?
It's a question you're asked all the time, Paper or plastic? What's the
environmentally correct answer? Simran says it's really neither. More
than 380 million plastic bags are thrown away in the United States
every year, and those plastic bags can take up to 1,000 years to
biodegrade in landfills. And while paper bags do eventually biodegrade,
an estimated 14 million trees a year have to be cut down to make 10
billion paper bags. The solution? Bring your own bag to the store and fill it with recycled and organic items.
Reuse Your Water Bottles
When you buy one liter of water at the store, you're actually buying
about six liters of water, Simran says. That's because when
manufacturers make plastic bottles, it takes five liters of water to
cool the plastic.
To save the resources used in creating all those bottles, Simran
suggests getting a water filter and a reusable aluminum or plastic
bottle from a company like Sigg, Nalgene or New Wave Enviro.
One thing to consider if you buy a plastic bottle is its grade. Look on
the bottom of the bottle for a small plastic triangle with a number in
the middle. If you see a number 2, 4 or 5, the bottle is safe. If it
has some other number, don't use it as a water bottle. Those other
plastics can make your water taste like plastic and leach harmful
chemicals into your body. "You don't want your water tasting like
plastic," Simran says. "If you're tasting plastic, you're ingesting
Get Rid of that Junk Mail!
Matt Damon received a life-changing gift last holiday season. A friend
signed him up for Greendimes, an organization that seeks to cut down on
junk mail. Not only does junk mail clog up your mailbox, it also
requires an estimated 100 million trees and 20 billion gallons of water
For about a dime a day, Greendimes will stop 70 to 90 percent of the
junk mail you are now getting. They also plant a tree a month for every
member. "So not only are you saving trees from being cut down, you're
actually participating in replanting trees," Matt says. "We need our
trees, obviously, because they do everything from remove air pollution
and sequester carbon, they filter our water, they provide wildlife with
Even if these products are more expensive that traditional cleaners,
Simran says the health benefits may be worth the cost. In some areas of
the country, the air quality inside the home is twice as dangerous as the air outside the home, according to the EPA.
"The reason is because of, in part, cleaning products, the paints that
we have on our walls, varnishes on our furniture, the formaldehydes and
glues in our carpet," Simran says. "You're creating this little
chemical cocktail you're breathing in all the time."
Utilize Power Strips
You don't have to spend money to save the planet. Investing in items like the Smart Power Strip will conserve energy and cash. Simran says most people don't know that plugged-in appliances and
electronics use energy even if they're turned off. "We're spending all
this money to power things that are in the off position," she says. "We
call it vampire standby power." To cut your electricity costs, Simran suggests plugging in your
electronics to the Smart Power Strip, which retails for $32.95. Then,
when you turn off the power strip, all the items plugged into it will
also power down. "I love this thing," she says.
Over time, you'll see your monthly electricity bill and your energy usage decrease.
Change a Lightbulb!
Simran says replacing regular, inefficient light bulbs with compact
florescent light bulbs (CFLs) can make a big difference. "Most of the
energy in the United States comes from coal-fired plants," she says.
"What we're doing when we run inefficient products is we're burning a
lot more coal, and we're putting a lot more carbon into the
A CFL is 70 to 75 percent more efficient than other bulbs, she says.
Florescent bulbs will cost a little more up front, but Simran says you
should save money on your electricity bill over time. Plus, these bulbs
can last 8 to 10 years!
If every family replaced one bulb with a CFL, Simran says it would be
like reducing carbon emissions from 800,000 cars. "I'm asking [America]
to have a light bulb moment and change out one light bulb!" she says.
Don't worry…these florescent lights aren't like the ones used in high
school cafeterias. Simran says the new, improved bulbs, which cost
about $6, give off beautiful light and can be adapted to dimmers.
"They've really evolved as a product," she says.
Recycle Everything You Can
According to the EPA, each person in the United States creates about
four and a half pounds of trash every day. One way to reduce that
number is by recycling anything and everything you can.
Although every city has a different recycling policy, Simran says
almost every city accepts newspapers. "If there was one thing you could
do, recycle your newspapers," she says. "One four-foot high stack of
newspapers is the equivalent of one 40-foot fir tree. That is what we
are saving when we recycle our newspapers."
You can visit
Earth911.org and type in your zip code to get specific guidelines.
Happy Earth Day everyone!!!
(Click on the comic to view larger)
I got this in my birthday card last week from my soon to be SIL, Tera. I love that girl. Only she would find this totally random and funny comic strip. Seriously, what are the chances?!?! Kelly and I put so much time and effort (as do most parents-to-be) into naming Zoë. We wanted her name to be unique but not freaky. You know those kind of names… The names that when you tell people they get kind of quiet for a second before saying, "Ohhhh, that's um, nice. How did you come up with that?"
We looked through every single name book at Barnes & Noble, researched online to see what the top names were, looked into family history. Everything. Everything to come up with the same exact flipping name as a little girl on a comic strip AND as it turns out Elmo's little friend. Who knew? Certainly not us. I can't wait to do a layout of this comic strip.
Side note: There is only one Zoë in her preschool class but there is a Chloe and two Madisons. I also checked the top twenty baby names of the past three years and Zoë isn't even on the list. Good grief! I don't know how accurate those lists are…